Modern menswear? It’s all gone a bit Bryan Ferry ...

The spring/summer 2015 men’s fashion week began yesterday with Dolce & Gabbana, Zegna and Versace

Milan

Menswear is traditionally the better-behaved brother of its flashy female counterpart. Traditional is the word: the former is a slower, stiffer and often stuffier proposition. That’s particularly evident in Milan, where the spring/summer 2015 season began yesterday.

Maybe that’s why Italian fashion’s majordomos frequently turn to fancier-than-normal dress to make an impact. After all, who wants to see another suit – even if that’s what you’re likely to be selling? Example: Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana made like matadors for spring and took a trip to sunny Spain, via Sicily, of course. Their favourite island was a Spanish “possession” between the 16th and 18th centuries, which gave an anchor to in-house iconography for an exploration of foppish flamenco and bullfighting. They kitted their blokes out as modern toreadors in brocade boleros Spirographed with passementerie, set to Bizet’s Carmen.

Mildly modern, that is: much of it still felt like costume, disconnected from contemporary men’s wardrobes, part mariachi band leader, part Strictly Ballroom. Do contemporary luxury consumers – even peacocks who traditionally flock to the flashier echelons of Dolce & Gabbana’s oeuvre – really want to dress as either of those extremes? When translated to sportswear – undulating braid on oversized satin T-shirt and boxing-short shapes – you could see this collection having a currency with a new generation of fashion junkies pumped up on jumped-up casuals. The shiny scarlet suits that closed the show, by contrast, felt like the real costumes. They had a slick Bryan Ferry feel, but will anyone really wear them?

Zegna is now designed by Stefano Pilati Zegna is now designed by Stefano Pilati The suits they do wear belong to Ermenegildo Zegna, one of the world’s biggest manufacturers. Zegna has recently begun to trumpet the fact that its catwalk collection, now designed by the former Yves Saint Laurent creative director Stefano Pilati, comes with the addendum “Couture”. That word implies not only unparalleled craftsmanship, but expense. The former justifies the latter, and both were lavishly evident on Pilati’s catwalk: the clothes shimmered with the moneyed lustre of fabrics such as double-face cashmere or silk crepes, taffetas and even seersucker. The latter is normally a slobby, slubby thing for lackadaisical slouching. Zegna polished it until it, physically, and metaphorically, glowed. The third implication of that couture appellation? Exclusivity. Pilati’s clothes are not only pricey, but difficult to find even if you have the money. Which is a pity, because this was the most at ease Zegna collection he has produced – the ease being his, first, then translated to the clothes. It was also the most convincing.

Suits you: Versace went to Havana Suits you: Versace went to Havana Donatella Versace does everything with conviction. Her aesthetic is one of the most finely tuned in all Milan. That’s easy to miss, but the fact Versace somehow keeps everything the right side – just – of bad taste is a testament to Donatella and her design team. They know how to go too far, and when to stop. A fishnet onesie with Versace bedsheet as Roman toga was an eyebrow-raiser, but the camp tongue-in-cheekness of it didn’t feel forced. Especially chez Versace: it harked back to Gianni’s Men Without Ties, a book of bounding models naked bar artfully placed Versace homewares.

A model on the Dolce and Gabbana catwalk A model on the Dolce and Gabbana catwalk That was a point of reference for yesterday’s Versace show – and not just in the acres of tanned male flesh on show. “A celebration of the Versace world” was Donatella’s introduction to a show presented under an arch with Versace blankets and plates roped against it, Christo-style.

D&G showed shiny scarlet D&G showed shiny scarlet Donatella, however, was anxious to emphasise that her world isn’t limited to either the past, the plates, or even to Italy. She referenced Cuban graffiti, in jacquard weaves, leather appliqués or denim embroideries, while Havana streets were worked into macramé shirts. They ended up having a touch of Miami Sound Machine to them, too. However, the instantly identifiable Casa Versace references were the star of the show, and they popped up again and again. Versace china was clutched by models or stuffed into mesh backpacks and holdalls, and Limoges shades of porcelain-white, rose-beige and bleu-de-roi coloured the collection’s suiting. The only print? Plates, criss-crossed with wriggling gold curtain-tassels, decorating teeny-weenie shorts and beach towels.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager - OTE £40,000

    £28000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

    Recruitment Genius: Contracts / Sales Administrator

    £19500 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Knowledge of and ability to use...

    Recruitment Genius: Mobile Engineer - Powered Access

    £28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They pride themselves that they...

    Recruitment Genius: Pharmacy Branch Manager

    £19000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This pharmacy group are looking...

    Day In a Page

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence