MILAN – Youthful designers injected energy into the third day Sunday of Milan Fashion Week menswear previews for next spring and summer.
While the topics of generational and creative change at some of the most-established Milan fashion houses were running in the background, young brands carved out their own space to grow by their own rules.
Some highlights from Sunday’s shows, including Milan mainstay Prada alongside younger brands Palm Angels, MSGM, Sunnei and Korean newcomers BESFXXK.
Miuccia Prada says she was “trying to do elegant in a new young way” with her latest menswear collection.
At Prada, young does not translate to streetwear, even if there were sneakers. The new plastic square logo on nearly every garment, including the folded turtle neck, was strictly an ironic answer to prevailing trends.
Against previous intentions, elegant at Prada translated into sexy — i.e. short shorts for men — and at times playful — big stuffed aviator hats made for summer despite the decidedly wintery earflaps, mostly in Prada’s trademark black vinyl.
“I never pronounced sexy in my life. I never wanted Prada to be sexy,” but willingly embraced the notion as the rest of the fashion world seemed to resist sexiness in favour of boxy street looks, the designer said.
“You know I am a bit of a contrarian,” she said.
The looks amounted to basic mix and match, layer or not: Straight trousers, turtle necks, shirts and jackets, and the short-shorts, which Prada called “a miniskirt” for men. Materials included denim and suede. The colours were mostly neutrals.
There was a slightly psychedelic feel to daisy print shirts and fantastic scenes that conjured the animated film version of the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine.”
Underlining the message, Prada stripped the showroom bare, put clear plastic sheets on the wall and sat guests on inflatable clear cubes.
“Sometimes, it is good to go back to simple things,” she said.
PALM ANGELS: ITALIAN STREET WEAR
Francesco Ragazzi’s America-inspired street fashion brand, Palm Angels, had all the codes of the latest trends: neon flashes, thick-soled sneakers, short gym shorts, technical cargo pants.
But the 32-year-old designer underlined the luxury in the brand with details. The gym shorts were suede and had orange trim. Shorts and a baby blue top with puffy sleeves came with draw sting.
The footwear included cowboy boots painted with the Stars and Stripes, the perfect accompaniment to a jumpsuit in a bald eagle-American flag print.
A striped strap worn across the chest, apparently binding the upper arms, was an accessory, not part of the garment, as was made clear when a model sported one bare- chested. The looks were tagged as much as branded, with neon tags hanging from pockets. Tiny goggles with colored lenses added an urban edge.
VITAMIN INJECTION AT MSGM
Massimo Giorgetti’s MSGM collection for next spring and summer recalls his youthful 1980s summers in his native Adriatic coastal city of Rimini, a time, the designer said, when the beach crowds never abandoned their fashion sense.
And Giorgetti paid homage to classic looks of his adopted home in Milan, where he launched his MSGM brand eight years ago.
Giorgetti said he wanted to emphasize his Italian roots while also injecting a dose of 1980s energy. “It’s a show that recharges you,”Giorgetti said backstage.
The 41-year-old designer made the point quite literally, imitating colorful graphic logos from well-known Italian vitamin brands with the MSGM Milano logo on silky button-down shirts. There was a plethora of 1980s neon colours, bright florals and prints —from Manga volley-ball playing characters to Roger Minick photographs of tourists.
Rimini is celebrated in slouchy knitwear with the city’s name in rainbow colours, worn with striped denim shorts layered over longer boxers. But also in the tangerine shorts and lime green swimming briefs.
For Milan, there were tie-dye knits over colorful print thigh-baring short, jeans and colour-block hoodies, and pin-striped suits with palm tree shadows and the band logo on the back.
Designers Simone Rizzo and Loris Messina showed their Sunnei label against the backdrop of the Milan skyline as seen from the 31st floor of Gio Ponti’s famed Pirelli Tower. It was an aspirational location, reflected in the invitation that showed the tower from below in a faux smart-phone snap — the view the designers have from their studio.
But the sophisticated, architectural designs were a natural fit for Gio Ponte’s arched ceilings and geometrically tiled floors, and showed the designers have definitely arrived. The collection included for the first time women’s looks alongside the menswear, and the designers said they found a natural interplay.
“They speak the same language. For us, men and women change little. Unfortunately, we have to categorize it. But for us it is the same thing,” Rizzo said.
The looks were clean and sharp, with a focus on soft comfort. The colour palate was soothing, from pale blue, sea green, cream and grey offset by orange and red.
Parachute pants worked for him and for her, paired with knit cropped tops for her or an oversized jersey hoodie for him.
Her transparent anorak with orange draw strings gave a sporty touch to an orange terry cloth dress with an asymmetrical hemline. His anorak features a notched collar and doubles as a suit jacket with wide-legged cropped pants.
He wore a worn leather vest with utility pockets with loose jeans and a floppy brim hat, while she wore it with slim skirt with cargo pockets. He carried a large travel bag, hers was a rectangular purse, as the designers also presented a full range of accessories including wavy platform shoes and simple sneakers, sunglasses and headbands.
“It is the natural extension of the brand that we have always presented,” Rizzo said. “Our goal is not to change the mood for style from season to season, but to grow, expand the categories.”
SOUTH KOREAN NEWCOMERS UNVEIL BESFXXK BRAND
South Korean newcomers to Milan, Jae Hyuk Lim and Bona Kim, unveiled their BESFXXK brand that mixes Japanese textiles with American street-styling from the 1980s and British tailoring.
The unusual name combines the notion of bespoke designs with a more irreverent street looks.
The 33-year-old designers aggressively deconstruct and recompose everyday garments for their combined menswear and womenswear collection, like sweatshirts and trench coats.
So a top for him is composed of a T-shirt and a jean jacket sewn together, while hers is a man’s collared shirt on one side and an angelic white woman’s shirt on the other. Trench coats feature asymmetrical hems. Or can be transformed into a skirt for her, the arms of it wrapped around the waist as a natural belt.
“It is not just a mix of two different elements, it is a mix of cultures,” Lim said.
This story has been amended to correct the spelling of Miuccia Prada’s name.