The Best of Milan Men's Fashion Week S/S14

The collections presented at Milan this year seem to have reflected the designer's limited ability to deliver striking pieces, but maybe this is partly due to a change in the overall ethos of men's fashion. The extravagance has been toned down, with designers showing much simpler designs, focused on the rise of digitization and cleanliness of men's fashion. Of all the designers and labels who showed, besides Emporio Armani and Ermenegildo Zegna (reviewed in previous posts), notable Spring/Summer 2014 collections included Corneliani, Neil Barrett, Bottega Veneta, Iceberg, Fendi and Z Zegna.

Simplicity is the key theme of Corneliani's Spring/Summer 2014 collection, but it certainly isn't shallow. Although the crispness of simplicity is commendable, the attention to detail is what makes the collection a stand out. Creased collars, asymmetrical closings of coats and gradient circular tessellated print are plentiful in the collection, and are not necessarily easy to be seen, hence one's questionable first impressions of the collection are undoubtedly made false. A refreshing colour palette of white, nudes, navy blue and hints of teal emphasize the discreet details.

It's a risky venture for a designer to re-appropriate a classic pattern for the sake of revival, but Neil Barrett has done so without creating a tacky feel to the pattern. Checks came back into the forefront of fashion with the Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2013 collection, but no menswear designer has effectively reflected that successful comeback since Marc Jacobs. The dissection of the checkerboard has appeared as an interesting motif throughout the collection, overshadowing the other details including curvaceous panelling, ribbed neoprene shirts, zipper pockets and texturised stripes. Imbalance is present, but execution of modernising the pattern is successful.

Bottega Veneta

As an avid fan of Bottega Veneta, it was no surprise that I would feature their new collection in my review of Milan Men's Fashion Week. Their signature aesthetic is apparent, with the calming colours of concrete, navy blue, sharp black and earthen browns and reds heightening the sombre diamond and iron grate patterns and embroidered stitching that flow throughout the collection. To many who are unaware of this illustrious label, the collection may seem tame and boring, but one must look further the craftsmanship of the pieces to appreciate its bespoke wonderment. 

Integrating artworks into fashion is another difficult endeavour taken on by fashion designers worldwide, and sometimes turn out catastrophic to both the credibility of the designer and the dignity of the artist. I cannot say this is the case for Iceberg, their careful selection of abstract artistic patterns easing into the structural, yet relaxed, look of the pieces within the collection. Panels of white and pops of orange are vivid, but no other detail within the collection stands against the artworks on the sweaters. 


The desert stormed through Milan and is set to next season with Fendi's latest offering for the hotter months, just as they intended it to. The sand-covered runway fit perfectly with the Saharan-Mediterranean theme, making obvious the connection between the clothing and the ethos of the collection. Lightweight fabrics such as silken shirts, amassed with dusty and earthy prints, and wide-necked Sicilian shirts juxtaposed against the heavy leathers and out-of-context oxfords bring a modernity to the Ancient connotations of the collection. The fusion of past and future are clear with the structured feel of the garments and the colour palette reflecting the colours adorned by Desert Kings.

The classic Zegna aesthetic has been glorified once again with a Spring/Summer collection from Paul Surridge. The enclosed, futuristic space in which the collection was presented contrast to the seemingly relaxed feel and look of most pieces within the collection, particularly shirting and bottoms, which loosely fit on the body without  blatantly hiding one's shape. A contemporary take on the honeycomb pattern is motif within the collection, with quilted jackets and leather jackets donning the pattern via embossing. In addition to this, a retake of the kaftan shirt, patterned trousers and kimono shirts deepen the relaxing vibe of the collection.

Images courtesy of Fashionising


It's All Smiles at Emporio Armani

Armani is undoubtedly the leader in setting trends focused on the post-modern appropriation of the Bauhaus minimalist aesthetic. The Spring/Summer 2014 collection marks a stray away from the soft silks and harmonious colours seen in the previous collection, and more towards a hard-edged, tougher visual aura. The colour palette ranges from the sharpest of blacks to the eye-blinding silky white, with harder pops of colour scattered throughout.

The colour palette sounds harsh on the eye, but when used on wide-collar jackets, oversized windbreakers, heavy keep alls and silken shirts and trousers, the toughness breaks and creates an approachable collection that is easy to be worn, if one is daring. Even with the dominance of these pieces, the narrow fit of the trousers and body hugging tightness of the shirts bring a minor element of femininity, completely relevant to the fashion-conscious man of today.

This season, Armani assures you that coloured lenses are back in, with key pieces being acetate oversized sunglasses, shimmery leather jackets and bright silks, there is a contrast within the collection that many may ignore, reject or accept. For me, Armani should always remember his deceivingly masterful designs, without straying too far from his minimal roots. On a final note, Armani has also brought a much needed accessory to the runway once again - the smile. Always smile, it's your best accessory... as cliché as it sounds.

Images courtesy of Emporio Armani


Stefano Pilati's Zegna Debut

The start of Milan Men's Fashion Week marked the debut of Stefano Pilati as the Head Designer for acclaimed Italian label, Ermenegildo Zegna. The velodrome-inspired stage awed attendees as they walked in, eagerly awaiting what would come from this respectable designer. The seamless and clinical design of the set already gave visible hints as to the aesthetic of Stefano's first collection for Zegna.

Sharp yet sombre pieces adorned men as they walked out in the signature Zegna confidence they exude. The hidden power of the clothing combined with the strong presence of the men accentuated the interesting silhouettes of the clothing, reminiscent of the power-dressers of the 1980s. Bulky coats and padded blazers with rolled up sleeves complemented the straight cut trousers, and all in a colour palette of nudes, whites and navy. 

Materials such as neoprene and heavy wools elevated the aura of strength and dynamic, whilst details such as tessellated prints and studs brought this nostalgic albeit updated look of Zegna to the younger fashion conscious male. It seems as though Stefano has abandoned the slim-line look from his Yves Saint Laurent days and went against the uniform Zegna silhouette, and his done so flawlessly.

Stefano Pilati walking out to applause in the finale
Images courtesy of Ermenegildo Zegna


The gN Project | Zegna

The gN project, started by Italian luxury label, Ermenegildo Zegna, has been around for quite some time now. The elusive campaign has no doubt forced myself and Zegna loyalists what this campaign is trying to convey to us. The photographs and videos of projections of words such "Album", "Gesture", "Dichotomy", "Pure" and "Aesthetic" must hint to more goings-on behind the scenes of the renowned Zegna label.

Further on in the campaign, it was revealed - the project is a lead up to the anticipated debut of Stefano Pilati as the Head Designer for the label. Stefano Pilati is a well-respected man throughout the fashion industry, having spent many years as Head Designer for Yves Saint Laurent before Hedi Slimane infamously changed the name to "Saint Laurent Paris". 

Significant organizational shifts have occurred in the last few years in the fashion industry, and it's easy to understand why this campaign ever started - to help non-Italians pronounce the "GN" in Zegna. This campaign has been for the sole purpose of educating and visually enthralling possible customers and loyalists ahead of the revamp of the label to be seen worldwide on June 22nd. Will Stefano Pilati stay true to the Zegna aesthetic or rule with his signature style? We'll have to wait and see....

Images courtesy of The gN Project by Zegna