I’ve never been to Italy, and while Milan Men’s Fashion Week (or Milano Moda Uomo to the locals) would be a good reason to go, I was reminded by a travel site when I looked it up that “parades can be watched live or admired through live streaming.”
Although “parade” is probably even more accurate than “runway show” to describe what designers unveiled this week, I opted for the even lazier option of glancing through the coverage from other publications and on Instagram.
This is probably more than most guys, even the self-described stylish ones, would be bothered to do. Unless you’re obsessed with the latest looks, it’s a lot easier to wait for haute couture to morph — through a process of imitation and commercialization — its way to a nearby retail outlet.
Given that this was the first major menswear event of the new decade, however, I thought it was worth learning more about the ideas that informed the new collections at Milan Mens’ Fashion Week, and what it might mean for men’s fashion trends in 2020.
Androgyny, Genderlessness — But also ‘Unmistakable Masculinity’
The best summary came from an Associated Press article that said designers came to Milan with clothes that “veered from androgyny to genderless to hybrid — but always against a backdrop of unmistakable masculinity.”
I’m not sure what that last part means, but I really liked a quote from Fabio Quaranta, who expressed a sentiment about dressing up I think a lot of us would agree with:
“I don’t think formal is a coat and tie. I think formal is when you are at ease from morning to night,’’ Quaranta said backstage. ‘’Formal and informal can be the same thing, depending on how you wear it, who you are.’
This was similar to the aesthetic articulated by Armani, whose show notes celebrated “the spirit of formality into the modern day” via staples like cardigans and hemmed pants. “Everything has been stripped down to its essence, and is now lightweight, free of any rigidity, in a narrative that finds its tone in the direct relationship between the clothing and the wearer, embracing the man, enhancing his persona.”
Here’s an example of what that looked like in practice. My personal pick would be the overcoat on the left, which combines goes-with-everything colours and stripes that somehow seem so much different than something solid-coloured or a pattern like herringbone.
Contrast that with Fendi, which manages to make a colour as utilitarian as brown so garish as to be unworkable:
Prada seemed to be particularly conscious of the #Metoo era by describing its FW 2020 menswear collection as a blend of “future histories, modernism, an anti-heroic masculinity.”
This seemed to translate into some seriously ugly shoes, and colours I really liked but that I’d probably be more likely to wear in Spring:
While gender-free clothing is on the rise, Milan Mens’ Fashion Week 2020 was notable for the return of Gucci, but when I looked at the work from Alessandro Michele all I could think was, “No.”
These are all well-known brands, of course, but I also wanted to see if there were any newcomers who might challenge them this week in Milan. One of the most talked-about labels I saw online is called A-Cold-Wall.
Some of the clothes here were really interesting in terms of shape and details (not that I’d likely wear the fringe-ish thing you see in the video below, mind you). And although it would have to be the right occasion, I can certainly get behind the concept of a cobalt blue suit.
As a story on GQ UK noted, A Cold Wall is trying to make clothes that are more “wearable” and as such its collection was conceived as “an homage to menswear.”
It feels somehow inspiring that a new brand would attract attention for an homage — in other words, something that pays respect to tradition.
Parades like the one in Milan eventually pass you by. You need to look carefully for what will stay with you.
Feature image via Cameramoda.it