Menswear explores new fashion territory next fall
With new silhouettes, fur and 1970s shades17 January, 15:08
As catwalk shows have moved on from Milan to Paris, the European finish line of next winter's menswear collections, pants have moved up - some five centimetres shorter - and their silhouette has gone generally tighter.
Italian fashion deacon Giorgio Armani, the leader of this quiet revolution, noted on the sidelines of his show on the closing day of Milan's menswear shows, how "pants are a great presence, it's important how you feel in them".
To balance matters, footwear was chunky and thick-soled in a number of collections, from Armani to Gucci, contrasting with skinny pants which in Frida Giannini's 1960s-inspired collection took on the proportions of leggings.
Boots and bikers were also big, partly to compensate pants merely brushing the ankle.
And the idea of a comfort zone from which men can explore new tailoring territory was also clear in Armani's jacket with soft, raglan shoulders and the same wearability as a cardigan.
Worn over a vest and white shirt - a basic item in a collection dominated by shades of grey - it oozed a certain retro Italian countryman feel, amplified by the use of tweeds and the classic attitude of three-quarter-length coats.
Armani bid farewell to his staple - the T-shirt - a wardrobe must of hip urbanite men for three decades, to send on the catwalk his stylish farmer.
Overall however shirts had a minor role on catwalks - a notable exception being Roberto Cavalli's abundance of patterned shirts including his trademark animal-print motif - with turtlenecks playing the lead in a number of collections under cardigans, blazers and coats.
And jackets went slimmer with silhouettes hugging the body and raglan shoulders evoking those sweaters which were so relevant in a number of collections, like at Gucci where their boxy shape oozed manliness.
Overall jumpers were oversized and long, enveloping the body in block colours, stripes or classic prints used in jackets, like the timeless prince of Wales check or jacquard. Sweatshirts are proving to have staying power on the catwalk as well as in street styles. And the appeal of a comfort zone from which to test new fashion ground was evident at Valentino which saw designers Pierpaolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri in their third Parisian menswear show Wednesday night focus on a soft yet sumptuous style inspired by an ethic motif.
Woollen coats were embroidered like rugs and 'Intarsia' Aztec-inspired patterns decorated jackets, peacoats and shearling coats.
Again jackets had rounded, soft shoulders, suits were ultra-soft in a warm palette of grey, blue, black and camel.
The abundance of real and faux fur on jackets, coats and even sweaters marked another significant turn of events - embraced skilfully and at times playfully, like at Emporio Armani. Catwalks walked on the wild side of fashion at Fendi with a collection almost entirely devoted to fur.
There was a reversible black cashmere coat lined in astrakhan as the fur virtuoso embraced a trend which goes right back to its roots.
The workmanship showcased in Milan by the Rome-based fashion house included a jacket finely worked to look like croc with reptilian scales crafted out of neoprene and a marmot fur coat.
The supreme workmanship was playfully counterbalanced by youthful pieces such as a sweater where fur was needle-punched into wool.
Exotic leathers were also used in accessories with the house's it-bag, the iconic Peekabo, in a large version for men lined in crocodile.
Designers showcased fur on bomber jackets, parkas, scarves and T-shirts.
The appeal of fur was embraced by the rock'n'roll man designed by Roberto Cavalli who donned a pony-skin blazer with tones of gold for impact and sought warmth in a hand-painted leather jacket or a black coat with fur-embellished cuffs and hats.
And if men will not be won over by the new silhouettes and abundance of fur next winter, perhaps colours will do the trick and convince male consumers booming worldwide to open their purse strings.
With the indispensable black and grey colours holding their ground in men's wardrobes, next winter will see a comeback of 1970s shades like burgundy, yellow-earth, petroleum blue and different tones of brown and light blue mixed and matched together.