MILAN MEN´S A/W´24
In the illustrious chronicles of Milan Fashion Week Men’s A/W 2024, the week’s four-day extravaganza unfolded as a mesmerising spectacle, offering a definitive glimpse into the sartorial narrative that will shape men’s fashion in the upcoming season – a narrative ranging from opulent sartorial elegance to daring experimentalism.
The inaugural day seized the spotlight with the much-anticipated debut of Sabato De Sarno, the visionary creative director of Gucci, showcasing his inaugural menswear collection for the iconic brand. Infused with an effortless sensuality, De Sarno’s creations set an exquisite tone for a week defined by refinement and innovation. Simultaneously, the cult Italian label Stone Island, founded in 1982, commanded attention with its premiere runway show, a remarkable feat for a brand rooted in decades of legacy.
´JW Anderson, in a triumphant return to Milan, presented a menswear collection that drew inspiration from Stanley Kubrick’s enigmatic 1999 thriller, “Eyes Wide Shut.” Collaborating with Kubrick’s wife, Christiane, an acclaimed artist, Anderson’s collection transcended conventional boundaries, seamlessly marrying artistry with avant-garde fashion.´ – Charles Daniel McDonald
Prada, renowned for pushing the boundaries of runway presentations, followed its viral slime-drenched spectacle with another equally captivating show. The juxtaposition of the corporate office and the great outdoors created a visually striking tableau, leaving the audience in awe of the brand’s fearless creativity.
The week unfolded with equally captivating showcases from fashion powerhouses like Dolce & Gabbana, Emporio Armani, Giorgio Armani, Tod’s, MSGM, and Zegna, among others, which ended in a grand finale on January 15, 2024 and brought a resplendent conclusion to a week filled with visionary collections – epitomising the pinnacle of high-end fashion innovation and elegance.
Zegna’s latest showcase unfolded as a grand spectacle within the expansive confines of the Allianz MiCo convention centre in Milan. At its heart, a monumental mound of saffron-orange cashmere took centre stage, symbolising the fabric that lies at the core of Zegna’s craftsmanship. For the winter season, Alessandro Sartori, the visionary designer, sought to amplify the focus on cashmere, deeming it the quintessential fibre to meet the unique demands of the season.
Dubbed ‘In the Oasi of Cashmere,’ the collection drew inspiration from Oasi Zegna, the house’s nature park situated on the grounds of its inaugural wool mill – a sacred space and the spiritual nexus of the brand. Sartori articulated, “As both a physical place and a mindset [it is] the centre of our world, a veritable lab: a place in which we can tirelessly explore new fabrications, develop new forms.”
Within the garments themselves, Sartori embraced the notions of transformation and experimentation, though the term evolution resonates more accurately. The languid silhouettes, seamlessly merging comfort with sumptuous fabrications, unfolded gradually, building upon the foundations laid in the previous season. A discernible thread connected the Spring/Summer 2024 collection, where linen took centre stage, to the current offering characterised by gently oversized and minimally adorned garments expertly crafted through strategic layering.
Notable highlights for Autumn/Winter 2024 included an array of stunning double-breasted overcoats, artfully amplified in proportion to cocoon the body. The suiting showcased elegant wide-legged trousers, reminiscent of sweat pants in their relaxed ease. However, it was Sartori’s masterful use of colour that remained the collection’s most enchanting element – a rich and evocative palette of greys, browns, and whites adorned with flashes of blue and pink. The latter drew inspiration from the pink walls of Alba Cathedral in Piedmont, contributing to the overall allure of a collection that seamlessly marries heritage with modernity.
In the anticipation leading up to JW Anderson’s latest showcase, Jonathan Anderson tantalised the fashion world with a visual journey inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s provocative 1999 film, “Eyes Wide Shut” – the director’s final cinematic masterpiece. The film’s undeniable eroticism served as the creative catalyst for Anderson’s avant-garde menswear collection, drawing particular inspiration from the enigmatic paintings of Christiane Kubrick, the wife of the legendary director, which grace the film’s interiors.
Several of Christiane Kubrick’s captivating works were seamlessly woven into the fabric of the collection itself, adorning elongated knit dresses and gracing the surfaces of meticulously crafted handbags. This collaborative venture with the artist brought a unique depth to the garments, as Anderson expressed, “I thought it was interesting to bring something into the foreground that ultimately doesn’t want to be there.” The result was a collection infused with an underlying strangeness, mirroring the pulsating intrigue inherent in the film.
Models, boldly stripped from the waist down, elegantly donned fine denier tights, while shorts and cardigans exhibited bulges of rolled satin emerging from beneath, creating a visual narrative that defied conventional norms. Poinsettia decorations, chosen despite Anderson’s confessed sense of disgust towards the Christmas plant, adorned several looks, adding a touch of unconventional beauty. Meanwhile, womenswear pieces wrapped gracefully around the body in rich tones of red and black, contributing to the overall allure of this seductive and intriguing offering from the visionary designer. As the collection notes succinctly declared, “Everything is off,” encapsulating the deliberate departure from the expected and inviting the audience into a realm where beauty thrives in the unconventional.
Prada’s latest spectacle unfolded as an immersive experience, commencing with an invitation that unfurled like an expansive book, revealing a silk tie encased within an image of a lush forest. This symbolic dichotomy became the guiding force behind the entire collection—a captivating clash between the realms of man and nature, the corporate office, and the untamed forest floor.
The journey commenced with guests traversing a meticulously recreated nondescript office space, complete with spinning desk chairs and computers humming with the iconic Prada logo. This surreal corporate environment served as a prelude to the main runway, where a vast perspex floor hovered above an expanse of grass, fallen leaves, and babbling brooks, creating an otherworldly fusion of indoors and outdoors. Conceived in collaboration with Rotterdam-based AMO, the effect was so extraordinary that even Miuccia Prada admitted to finding it “scary,” encapsulating the eerie yet intriguing juxtaposition inherent in the collection.
Raf Simons, the co-creative director, articulated the essence of the collection, stating, “Office and nature, inside and out, the instinctive change of people shifting between these opposite spheres.” The duo seamlessly melded a distinct Prada-esque take on the corporate uniform with elements suggesting the great outdoors. From oversized double-breasted sailor coats to inventive renditions of tweed overcoats and high-necked trenches, the collection oscillated between the two realms with captivating flair. The vibrant use of colour intensified the palpable tension embedded within the garments.
Exploring the question of seasonal relevance in an ever-changing environment, Miuccia Prada referenced Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring,” a masterpiece that caused a riot upon its debut. She mused on the consistent theme of seasons in art and fashion, stating, “The changing of seasons enables human beings to continue to look at the world with fresh eyes… Fashion aspires to the same effect of renewal.”
Backstage, Miuccia Prada further elucidated her vision, emphasising a return to the tangible amid the contemporary chaos. “It was meant for going outside,” she declared, acknowledging a yearning to connect with reality and human nature, emphasising a departure from the norm of seasonless fashion. The collection embodied a desire to embrace the elemental and authentic, showcasing Prada’s commitment to constant reinvention and the pursuit of timeless renewal.
As the ethereal glow illuminated the Tadao Ando-designed Armani/Teatro, a breathtaking revelation unfolded—an immense lighthouse with a spinning lamp, casting its enchanting beam across the gathered connoisseurs of fashion. Giorgio Armani, the visionary behind the Emporio Armani collection, made a bold statement this season by presenting a co-ed ensemble, seamlessly blending men’s and womenswear. In crafting this latest collection, Armani drew inspiration from the tumultuous sea in winter, imbuing the garments with an impulsive and adventurous spirit.
The collection paid homage to the fearless individuals navigating the high seas even in their most perilous state—sailors, cabin boys, engineers, and officers. Nautical motifs gracefully permeated the runway, from sailor hats and shirts to galosh-style gloves and boots. Broad-shouldered navy overcoats, characterised by a resolute strong shoulder, reinforced the maritime narrative that unfurled throughout the presentation.
A juxtaposed vision of “harbourside elegance” provided a canvas for Mr. Armani to indulge in the decadent glamour for which he is revered. The collection reached its climax with a series of opulent capes and tailored pieces, intricately adorned with rich embellishments and embroidery. Mr. Armani described the “decorative flavour” of these pieces, drawing inspiration from the layered incrustations found on the underside of ships—an artistic transformation that captivated in its arresting style. The Emporio Armani runway, with its fusion of nautical allure and sophisticated decadence, showcased the designer’s ability to seamlessly marry adventurous themes with the timeless elegance that defines his illustrious brand.
Neil Barrett’s triumphant return to Milan Fashion Week, after a noteworthy show last June, showcased the British designer’s mastery of crisply defined minimalism. In a collection eloquently titled ‘Heritage Innovation,’ Barrett drew inspiration from iconic heritage garments, notably military uniforms, meticulously paring down the superfluous to craft a men’s wardrobe of utmost precision.
For the Autumn/Winter 2024 season, Barrett delved into the realm of traditional British outdoor wear and Harris tweeds, presenting his distinctive interpretation labeled ‘techno tweed.’ Clean-lined single-breasted overcoats dominated the runway in tones of khaki, camel, and beige, accompanied by tab-fastening leather gloves and impeccably crafted riding boots. This meticulous attention to detail breathed life into the collection, a testament to Barrett’s commitment to marrying tradition with contemporary flair.
The designer revisited what he aptly termed ‘the uniforms of modern menswear,’ presenting them in a remixed, redesigned, and rethought manner. Among the standout pieces was a covetable camel overcoat featuring epaulettes and folded military-style pockets—an embodiment of Barrett’s clean-lined interpretation of the classic flight jacket. This particular piece encapsulated the core of the collection, seamlessly fusing heritage aesthetics with a modernist sensibility.
Neil Barrett’s ‘Heritage Innovation’ stood as a testament to his ability to transform time-honored inspirations into a contemporary men’s wardrobe, where each piece, meticulously curated, reflected a harmonious blend of tradition and innovation.
Silvia Venturini Fendi’s latest menswear collection unveils a captivating mood board, with none other than Princess Anne as the regal muse, encapsulating the designer’s signature playfulness and light-hearted approach to menswear. Drawing inspiration from British outdoor wear, a realm Princess Anne navigates with effortless grace, the collection unveils innovative takes on classic elements.
The pleated kilt, elegantly transformed into a culotte-style short, takes centre stage alongside wax cotton jackets, all adorned with various plaids that evoke a regal yet contemporary spirit. Embracing Princess Anne’s idiosyncratic style, the collection introduces unexpected elements, such as pounding sphere-shaped speakers—a collaboration with Devialet, adorned with the house’s iconic double-F logo. This fusion of classic British aesthetics with futuristic accessories mirrors the distinctive style often associated with the royal.
The collection effortlessly straddles the realms of town and country, seamlessly blending outdoor-inspired looks with a touch of ‘Roman decadence,’ paying homage to Fendi’s home city. Trompe l’oeil bombers crafted from soft shaved shearling, impeccably tailored leather overcoats, and a series of exquisite suits with a subtle glimmer of shine showcase the designer’s prowess in navigating the fine line between casual and luxurious.
Silvia Venturini Fendi’s menswear narrative unfolds as a celebration of heritage, innovation, and a whimsical play of influences. Each piece exudes a sense of regal charm intertwined with modern sophistication, capturing the essence of Fendi’s rich legacy and its continuous evolution in the realm of high-end fashion.
DOLCE & GABBANA
Dolce & Gabbana, in a continued ode to refinement, D&G embrace a mood of reduction that has gracefully defined the essence of the Italian house in recent seasons. Design maestros Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana articulate a profound desire to revisit the foundational ethos of their esteemed house, founded in 1985. The menswear narrative unfolds as a captivating fusion, marrying the impeccable sartorial artistry that has perennially graced their collections with the intoxicating sensuality synonymous with the brand.
Entitled ‘Sleek,’ this collection is heralded as a ‘story of elegance and handmade… a sartorial essay,’ predominantly presented in the house’s iconic black palette. Casting an after-dark spell, the runway unveiled louche, diaphanous silk shirting—some elevated with high necklines and cinched waists adorned with cummerbunds, while others featured alluring pussy bow fastenings at the neckline. The tuxedo, a perennial highlight in Dolce & Gabbana’s repertoire, underwent a mesmerising transformation, manifested in cropped or sleeveless variations. The elegant lines of the tuxedo inspired a series of impeccably cut overcoats, adding an extra layer of sophistication.
A subtle nod to the equestrian world surfaced in the form of narrow jodhpur-style trousers artfully tucked into riding boots, while worn denim jeans and jackets introduced a more casual note to the narrative. True to the designers’ penchant for drama and abandon, the collection reached its crescendo with opulent faux fur overcoats and tailoring dripping with beads or paillettes, creating a symphony of extravagance and artistry.
Dolce & Gabbana’s ‘Sleek’ collection stands as a testament to the brand’s unwavering commitment to craftsmanship and allure. It eloquently navigates the delicate balance between timeless sartorial elegance and the seductive charisma that defines the spirit of the iconic fashion house.
In a subterranean spectacle staged on the platform of Porta Venezia metro station, Massimo Giorgetti unveiled his latest menswear show, a harmonious blend of high fashion and Milanese mid-century design. Amidst the procession of vibrant ensembles, an unexpected accessory made its debut – a chunk of the iconic curved handrail that has defined the city’s underground system since 1964, a creation of the esteemed architect Franco Albini. Giorgetti, a devoted design enthusiast, collaborated with Albini’s eponymous foundation for this unique project, elevating the distinctive curve of the handrail to a central motif in the collection.
The opening look adorned an overcoat with the symbolic curve, mirroring the trajectory of Milan’s M1 metro line, inaugurated in the same monumental year. The choice of the metro as a thematic exploration was Giorgetti’s ingenious means of delving into the ‘frenetic’ pace of modern life. Models, mobile phones clasped in hand, marched at a brisk pace across the runway, encapsulating the kinetic energy of urban existence.
True to MSGM’s reputation for colourful eclecticism, the clothing itself unfolded as a vibrant tapestry of padded hoodies paired with matching pants, plush slippers, and tinsel-knit creations. The prints were a visual narrative of the Italian metro, captured through the lens of the Google Pixel phone, marking the initiation of a partnership with Google that will continue later in the year at Salone del Mobile. Giorgetti’s MSGM menswear collection seamlessly marries avant-garde fashion with a rich celebration of Milanese design heritage, resulting in a visual symphony that transcends the boundaries of conventional runway presentations.
Stone Island defied convention for its inaugural runway showcase, transforming the traditional runway format into an immersive industrial tableau. As attendees entered the expansive industrial space, models were already present, meticulously arranged on an immense scaffolding structure, reminiscent of the brand’s iconic advertising campaigns where models confront the camera against a stark white backdrop. However, in this instance, the models were framed by the scaffolding’s metallic framework, visible through a captivating veil of dry ice.
The show, accompanied by a suitably reverberating techno soundtrack that resonated with Stone Island’s historical ties to subcultures, unfolded as a mesmerising light show. Glitching, flashing lights illuminated the rows of models adorned in the brand’s Autumn/Winter 2024 collection. The grand finale featured a dramatic descent of a black curtain, concealing the models while projecting Stone Island’s compass logo—a symbol entrenched in the annals of street fashion.
Even if the curtain descended prematurely, as revealed post-show, it did little to diminish the spectacle. Instead, it heightened the allure, capturing the label’s underground spirit. The collection showcased a diverse array of tech-infused, streetwear-inspired pieces, notably featuring jackets and joggers with a liquid, almost holographic sheen. Beyond the runway, Stone Island strategically aimed to tap into new markets through the amplification of social media impressions generated during the event.
Earlier in the day, Stone Island unveiled a Spring/Summer 2024 campaign boasting a notable lineup of personalities, including actor Jason Statham, choreographer Wayne McGregor, musician Dave, and emerging British tennis player Henry Searle. As journalists traversed Milan en route to the showcase, glimpses of the campaign were already dominating bus stops and billboards, foreshadowing the brand’s ambitious foray into a new era marked by innovation and cultural resonance.
In a former factory space on the northern outskirts of Milan, Sabato De Sarno unveiled his debut menswear collection for Gucci, further refining his distinctive vision for the iconic house. Building upon the easy, insouciant sensuality that defined his inaugural womenswear collection last September, De Sarno delved into a narrative that seamlessly straddled pragmatism and glamour.
The collection embraced languid tailoring, floor-skimming overcoats, and iconic Gucci-adorned bomber jackets, punctuated by the return of the grey hoodie—a nod to contemporary street style. Elongated silk ties, crystal embellishments, and revamped versions of the chunky Marina Chain necklace, initially introduced in the womenswear collection, added opulence to the ensembles. De Sarno coined this as a ‘mirroring effect,’ aiming to capture the same emotional resonance seen in the casting, press notes declaring the pursuit of ‘the joy of life,’ and the evocative soundtrack featuring Mark Ronson’s remix of Ancora Ancora Ancora by Mina.
This showcase affirmed De Sarno’s comprehensive and cohesive vision for Gucci, promising an irresistibly seductive allure for discerning shoppers. However, it also marked a departure from the unrestrained maximalism associated with his predecessor, Alessandro Michele. With confident precision, De Sarno stripped away the extraneous elements, steering towards a discreet elegance infused with moments of ‘joy, passion, and humanity’—the foundational pillars of his transformative journey at the helm of the revered Italian powerhouse. The collection stands as a testament to De Sarno’s adept ability to balance tradition with contemporary allure, offering a new chapter in Gucci’s storied history.
Article: Charles Daniel McDonald
Photography: Each Respective Design House