There is something spectacularly magical about the Spring/Summer men’s fashion week in Milan. Perhaps it’s the temperature in the city forcing everyone to put their best outfit forward while maintaining a literal (and metaphorical) cool. At the same time, fashion houses go to great lengths to showcase their collections in the most spectacular and talked about ways. This year was no exception, with houses like Prada and Valentino going to great lengths to offer something different in their runway show. Whether it’s the looming global recession, the ever-present “quiet luxury” catchphrase, or just the overall sentiment of the people, a return to clean, focused and crisp tailoring has replaced the several years of loud streetwear-focused looks. TBH, as people who basked in the streetwear energy, we’re happy to see it.
Here are our highlights from the fashion capital of Europe.
Opening Milan Fashion Week, Valentino presented their first independent men’s show in the last three years. The Maison’s Creative Director, Pierpaolo Piccioli, presented a collection of 56 looks titled The Narratives at the iconic Università degli Studi di Milano. Drawing inspiration from American writer Hanya Yanagihara’s best-selling 2015 novel A Little Life follows four friends as they graduate from college. Hence holding the runway show at one of Italy’s most prestigious institutes for higher learning during school hours, no less. The collection features finely proportioned, expertly tailored pieces, including shorts worn with boxy jackets, large collared shirts and skinny ties, jeans, blazers and bags with quotes from Yanagihara’s novel printed boldly across them. However, the show’s real star came in the form of the colours. Although calculated in its use, the few pieces that utilized colour worked. Of course, the vibrant Valentino pink, a marvellous light blue, navy, and bold greens intermixed against the stark whites and full blacks.
Here are our favourite looks from the collection.
Miuccia Prada and Raf Simmons present Prada’s Spring/Summer 2024 menswear collection appropriately named “Fluid Form.” Described as an “examination of fluid architecture around the human body,” the menswear collection was presented inside the stunning Fondazione Prada with green slime oozing from the ceiling as the special guest. The collection included bulky tailored jackets and shirts with floral patterns, fringes, and exaggerated long sleeves tucked into mid-thigh level pleated shorts made in cotton poplin. While there was plenty of standard Prada black, the colours once again made the collection pop. The light purple and/or acid green trench coats were lovely, and the leather goods in colour are a must-have.
Straight up, one of the strongest and most consistent collections to hit the runway in Milan this year came via ZEGNA. Titled “L’Oasi di Lino,” the “Lightness of being and behaving” demonstrated quiet luxury the way it was meant to be. Created by artistic director Alessandro Sartori, the collection featured strong silhouettes, beautiful soft colours, and natural hues, all of which have us anxiously waiting for this to hit the market. The show had the audience sit on and amongst bales of raw linen lining the Piazza San Fedele in the centre of Milan. The bales of linen, seemingly an odd choice for seating, are the flax grown at the company’s nature reserve and will eventually be used to make the Oasi Lino, ZEGNA’s special linen. The brand has pledged to be certified as 100% traceable by 2024, with 70% of this collection made using it. In addition, we saw linen gabardine, linen failie, compact linen knit, compact Blue Flower linen, satin linen, jute oxford, washi paper, raffia, silk pipeline, seta tussa, recycled wool granitè, double-faced wool, tela vela, mohair poplin, line and bourette and silk canvas, hammered nabuk, and bonded calf leather all working together for a vibrant and rich offering.
The collection is so strong that it was hard for us to pick the best pieces from it, but we gave it our best.
Another strong contender for best collection presented at fashion week this year was Massimo Giorgetti’s MSGM’s “Sogno Off Road.” The collection not only took inspiration from but also praised East African culture. Playing it safe and not directly referencing Tanzanian culture, Massimo took his inspiration from a place where “the early morning sun illuminates uncharted lands.” This translated into dusty browns, savannah greens, celestial blues and ombré hues on blazers, micro shorts, pocketed shirts and bulky pants. The colours and silhouettes worked perfectly with the colour palette giving it something of a lazy August vibe, in our opinion.
While visiting his hometown, Marco De Vincenzo of Etro stopped by an old bookstore. He stumbled upon a copy of Cesare Ripa’s Iconology: a seventeenth-century repertoire filled with allegorical images depicting virtues, qualities, and vices. This serendipitous encounter gave him the inspiration for and starting point for his SS24 collection. With prints depicting allegorical images on beautiful fabrics and knits emblazoned on blazers, bermudas, jumpsuits, fuzzy jumpers, and soccer jerseys. The collection is bold and exciting, not shying away from colours in all facades, with plenty of accessories, including hyper-vulcanized wallabees, square-toed doll shoes, and intarsia bags. Etro’s SS24 offering is a visual delight.