The Milan Menswear Fashion Week for the Fall Winter 2021 came to an end last Thursday, 19th of January, and it left us with plenty of styles and trends to try on, together with a bunch of interesting reflections on the future of the fashion industry to think about.
The brands presenting their collection on the Milanese stage – both well-known names and newcomers – got inspired by shared values and ideals. We can sum them up in two basic concepts. On one side, we find a very much needed impulse towards the future, a willingness to move on, which translates into easily wearable tech-wear; on the other side, several collections were built on nostalgia, for traditions, garments of our childhood and craftsmen’s technics which have gained its fame to the “Made in Italy” production. It makes sense, after all: we are really ready to go on with our life, leaving behind a rather paradoxic and painful year, but we want to do it well equipped with our past, which makes us feel safe.
To open this two-way dialogue was Ermenegildo Zegna, the first brand to show its new collection. Zegna’s formal menswear for the upcoming future comes from the tailoring techniques of the tradition. They have made the construction of extremely relaxed looks possible and successful. Each cut is both very soft and very sharp, casual and, because of that, chic. No one could have made it better than Alessandro Sartori.
Fendi and Prada move along the same line of thought – each one according to its own aesthetic, of course. Comfort is the focus of both brands and it has been achieved through soft materials, shaped on the body, by pasty colours and by the overall cuts of the outfits. Prada’s symbol of comfort is the “long jhon”, the one-piece man’s robe which is at the base of every look in the collection. Raf Simons explained that the power of such piece of clothing is that there is nothing closer and more intimate to the body: it follows each shape of it literally, but it also offers protection to it. The line between what’s inside and what’s outside is thinner than ever, also because of the forced lockdown and smart-working which have shaken our habits. It also translates into a fluidity of the spirit that, from this year on, will bring us towards a more free expression of our real self, of course also through the aid of our clothing practices.
According to Silvia Venturini Fendi, the future of fashion is very much individualistic, and this is why Fendi’s Fall Winter 2021 collection is an eclectic ensemble of different garments, fabrics and details, offering to the clients a wide range of options. We are going to give space to what makes us feel comfortable (both physically and, even more, physiologically), and we are also going to use what Venturini Fendi defines the “therapeutic aspect” of clothes.
The same therapeutic power that Etro has found in the act of mixing past styles, garments and accessories from its archives in the making of this collection, which is indeed a concentrate of the brand’s joyful, sumptuous and energetic spirit. It especially suggests a free reinterpretation of its most iconic pieces, which can be adapted to one’s aesthetic very easily. On the audience-less runway, we saw colourful garments, denim and velvet, exuberant jewels made of many materials and, of course, prints (the paisley one among others) which create the so-much-loved ethnic spirit of Etro we are so fond of.
Particularly attracted by their past (this time on a personal level) are the new names of the Milanese fashion landscape. Federico Cina, for instance, whose collection is (also) a love letter to his homeland, the Romagna. The looks are soft, tailored and decisively modern, also in the philosophy behind the production. Cina made clear his willingness to keep the production as local as possible. Emilia Romagna has a long heritage of craftsmanship and excellent manufactures, which is a great advantage for Cina. His resolution is anyway the perfect example of how young generations are moving towards much more committed and sustainable business models, and we hope Cina’s local supply chain will be copied by other emerging fashion houses as well.
Magliano is the second name to keep an eye on. His creations are visibly inspired by the past, by the 80s and the great effort people used to put tin their special-occasions’ outfits. The designer himself declared he has been inspired by his parents’ aesthetic and by the different approach they used to have towards clothes. This is probably the big reason behind this strong nostalgia: to go back, through past examples, to the real value of clothes, that we have somehow lost in todays’ crowded offer. Clothes are taken for granted but they used to be precious elements, sometimes even cathartic means, very much appreciated and valued by people. It is not by chance that Magliano’s collection is called “Forever”: to the young designer, this title is a superstitious way to avoid to go out of business, due to the great difficulties the pandemic has created in the industry. To us, Forever has a broader sense: we wish it could help the fashion system to re-discover its sent of time, in order to change the paradigms it is based on and minimize its waste and consequent impact.
The philosophical reflections many collections are based on are just one part of the Milan menswear fashion week. To balance it, there is the always valid functionality of clothes, which come to us especially because of their practical characteristics. As we said before, comfort is a must, and it is often achieved through tech-fabrics and smart details. MSGM took inspiration from the mountains and imagined the wardrobe of a young man, skiing during the day, partying at night. The looks are inspired by the 90s and are full of tech details. In the same way, A Cold Wall has shown a very practical, wearable yet sophisticated collection. We need practicality, especially in difficult times.
Speaking about practicality we can not mention Sunnei, whose digital platform has been a small revolution last year. The platform – which is called Canvas – gives buyers the chance to personalize their purchases, intuitively and smartly. This February, the platform has expanded into a proper video game, where the avatars of the two designers of Sunnei (Messina and Rizzo) show their new collections to the clients/gamers. Everything is hyper-futuristic, but human as well. As Dana Thomas writes in her book Fashionopolis, “strange as it sounds, technology will bring humanity back”.
Cover image courtesy: Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana: FENDI, ETRO, ZEGNA