As I watched the menswear shows thus far, the words to Anniversary by Tony Toni Tone, came flashing through my head -- and rightly so. Congratulations must be given to a few of the brands, at least for staying power, if not for anything else. This week had a great showing by most, a mediocre presentation by a few, and a disappointing turn by some. Here are a few that stood out:
Ermenegildo Zegna turned 100 this week. Let's just take a minute and bask in the glow of finer manhood. There aren't that many men's labels around that do what Zegna does with such precision. This brand is an endangered species and their collection this week in Milan speaks to my statement. This collection fit in great with the overall image of the brand. Cottons, linens, silks, and mohair collaborated to great result -- a consistent line. Slimly cut suits and high-rising pants came to the forefront of this collection with the occasional see through tops that solidified the European styling of the looks.
D&G's men's collection celebrated its 20th birthday at Le déjeuner sur l'herbe. The theme was picnics and if there is one thing that D&G know how to do -- it's set the mood. The catwalk transformed into a pasture of grass with videos of families on picnics on a backdrop video wall. Male models were styled to look like the picnicking type, strutted down the runway in dressy/casual looks that presented the illusion that they had just left the office and made a slight adjustment to their outfit to convert it into a perfect lunch time ensemble for the park. Blazers paired with preppy shorts and longer pants with layered looks brought the D&G perspective full circle. However, the colors in the collection didn't go well together and seemed out of place at times -- especially if the overall theme was supposed to be a picnic.
Dsquared2's presentation was underwhelming. I was expecting more excitement, especially after seeing their previous collections. With that being said, the collection was plain -- but Dsquared2's most wearable collection to date. The collection included Dsquared2's signature jeans paired with blazers, buttoned shirts, skinny ties, and swimwear that seemed conservative for the brand. Embellishments to the garments were minimal, giving the looks a highly Americanized feel. The models were styled in a cool and relaxed way with sunglasses on some, and half buttoned shirts -- Tom Ford style. My favorite piece was a tailored khaki suit with a lavender shirt unbuttoned to the top of the torso. The designers teamed the ensemble with dark sunglasses, black pointy shoes, and a medium-sized black belt encompassing a jet setter look.
Neil Barrett's collection was edgy and fun while at the same time having a serious element. The men of Neil Barrett could have worn the clothes right off of the runway and would have fit in like a glove. The army trend is still present in Neil Barrett with detailing on the shoulders and fatigue colors throughout the collection. But the designer also included blacks which accented different looks throughout the collection. My favorite from the collection were a pair of biker pants that were black and leather with patchwork -- very Neil Barrett. This collection was earnest in its presentation, but edgy in their approach. Leather pants tight enough to pass for leggings stuck to the thighs of the models in a way that might have enticed a young Steven Tyler.
Etro has become known for its excellent tailoring and bright colors. This time around, the colors didn't show up as often. The designer instead opted for transparent darker colors with his signature paisley print as a silhouette. The collection was a breath of fresh air for the brand that was beginning to be borderline predictable. Fun separates took to the green lawn runway in Milan with Jackets and pants with lace shirts -- quite different from your Etro of the past. Fun prints and embroidery on collars of jackets and shirts accented the collection beautifully without coming off as too much. This collection was a pleasant surprise.
Overall, the men's presentations in Milan were mediocre at best -- with the occasional surprise. It seems as if menswear is moving to a transparent stylistic approach this next season with see through tops and solid colors. I didn't see too many patterns and embellishments. I guess the fashion industry isn't through with simplicity yet -- at least not in Milan.