This week I had an argument with an Italian friend of mine who claimed that in today’s world English men’s fashion was dead, the US’s fashion was even worse and the French had completely lost their way. Thus, the only option left for the style conscious man was Italian designers and Italian fashion. Naturally I disagreed, stating a number of brilliant designers from all the listed countries. But I decided to take it further. Having recently reviewed London Men’s Collection, I decided it was time to see for myself whether Milan’s collection could be any better.
As luck would have it, Primo Ulti (Milan’s version of London Collection) was on, so I decided to compare the two to see if the Italians really have the edge over the rest of the west. The first notable difference is in the types of styles on offer; while London collection was quite classic with splashes of colour, Milan is darker and more contemporary, with lots of black, grey and navy incorporated into loose fitted street ware. Luckily, like London, there were splashes of colour with camel, khaki and browns breaking up the dark collections on offer. The event felt slightly dressed down compared to London with a bigger focus on casual wear that I wonder how many items would realistically be worn by the average man in the street of Milan or London.
My fashion highlights from Milan
Calvin Klein put on a runway showcase of a large amount of grey and navy coats and trousers. The jacket that caught my eye was a textured double breasted coat similar to a peacoat but slimmer and tightly tailored. Another item to watch for in the shops were the dark black boots with sheep skin lining, providing functional yet stylish winter shoe wear.
The rise of the denim shirt and Jacket
The denim jacket made a strong come back, with a number of patch work denim jackets being displayed, usually with colourful patterns patched on to the textured blue denim. While I am not personally a fan of denim shirts or jackets, I appreciate the rugged edge achieved by adding an upper garment of denim into your attire. Yet denim jackets have that edge of rebellion and anarchy about them which helps give them their unique character.
Look to think about – Try blending a light blue denim shirt with a chunky knit jumper and dark cotton trousers such as moleskin for a look perfect for the countryside or town. Add dark brown Chelsea boots to dress up, or chukka boots to dress down.
The Canadian Tuxedo
Imagine my excitement, a retake on the classic tuxedo. My favourite clothing to wear is a tuxedo, so I couldn’t wait to see ‘the modern take on a classic’. Unfortunately, the Canadian tuxedo is simply a clever way of rebranding double denim. A man wearing both jeans and a denim shirt or jacket is a style that was hugely popular in the 90’s, but rightly died out. Strange then that the Canadian tuxedo seems to be getting a rather positive response despite the fact that it is double denim rebranded with a higher price tag. The question being, does a style get more popular the less people can afford it?
Look to think about – never wear double denim unless it’s a denim shirt with only the collar showing and denim trousers.
Shearling jackets are only worn by classic car enthusiasts and World War II fighter pilots, at least until recently. The warm winter coat was my personal favourite item from this year’s event with designers showcasing designs with smoother outsides and thick camel coloured shearling. The smoother outer to the coats gave them a slicker feel, giving a greater formality to the coat than ever before. The variants of shearling jackets will now allow you to complement ripped jeans or a suit.
Look to think about –
Casual – Try combining a dark pair of blue jeans, white dress shirt and a navy v-neck jumper with a shearling jacket for a casual warm evening look
Smart – Dark blue single breasted 2 piece suit, white dress shirt, red spotted tie, red and white pocket square, black oxfords and a camel shearling thigh length coat.
Overall, I enjoyed Milan fashion week and weirdly am partly in agreement with my friend on Italian dominance of fashion. While I agree Milan fashion week was very fashion forward and far more contemporary than London, I believe that London collection had more clothing that would suit all men, whereas Milan was focused on particular shapes and figures, to which the average man simply does not conform. Thus, while Milan had a great range of fashion, London was superior in men’s style.