Versace Goes “Versace” – Spring/Summer 2012

Seventeenth century Baroque architecture and art was used by the Roman Empire to impress visitors by expressing triumphant power and control.  The Versace name has always lived and breathed Baroque.  While many of the fashion houses are muting or getting rid of colour altogether for next spring/summer, Donatella has cranked up the volume.  Sure, there are plenty of timid grey and beige suits, but even they have nuances of Baroque in the detailing.  SS12 is about classic, raw, in-your-face Versace.  Highlights of the collection included Glen plaid suits, a canary yellow suit (featured in several of the Milan collections), the footwear including the gladiator sandals, the buckled sports jackets/suits, an elaborately studded black leather jacket, the swimsuits, and definitely those gorgeous terrycloth robes.  Versace in all its glory.  A return to vibrant intrepid colours, audacious zebra prints, buckles, shackles, and gold studs –  a return to 1980s Miami.

Versace SS12

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Canali Channels India – Spring/Summer 2012

Anna Dello Russo had once told me that she found menswear boring.  So much so, that she couldn’t bring herself to comment on the subject.  I sincerely hope that she was in Milan these past few days because the collections have invigorated men’s fashion and can be categorized as many things, but boring isn’t one of them.

In mid-January, Ermenegildo Zegna presented us with their engaging Fall/Winter 2011 Collection.  A Far Eastern inspired collection, it was designed to entice the growing Asian market.  By tapping into some of China’s historical designs and fusing them with traditional Italian tailoring, Zegna created one of the most astounding fall/winter collections of Milan Fashion Week.  Six months later, history has repeated itself, but this time it’s Canali who has channeled the rich historical fashion design influences of another growing market – South Asia.

Canali’s runway, a vast white pishtaq leading to an arched Mughal iwan was a clear reproduction of the entrance to Taj Mahal.  Striking handsome model after model poured out in Indian inspired suits, foulard, Nehru collared shirts, reworked slippers, and even a Ganesh-print tote.  The subdued pastels calmed the senses during the first part of the show which culminated in a climactic barrage of vibrant jewel-coloured suits and embellished tuxedos.

Canali’s SS12 collection provides a healthy mix of South Asian looks that run the gamut from conservative contemporary to abstract traditional.  Subtle South Asian detailing is found in the slim fitting ensembles.  Tailored two-piece suits layered over white T-shirts, silk scarves, and light cardigans for the conventional.  More traditional Indian looks featuring reinterpreted kurtis, churidars, and Indian slipper ready for the daring.

I’ve never been to India, but there are many beautiful pieces in this collection that I would definitely wear.  Definitely one of the top three collections to come out of Milan this Fashion Week.

Canali SS12

Roberto Cavalli’s Playboys – Spring/Summer 2012

A semiannual favourite of mine is Roberto Cavalli’s men’s fashion show.  Held outdoors this year, in the garden of Milan’s beautiful and historic Palazzo Serbelloni, the Spring/Summer 2012 Collection was a tribute to men’s casual Italian sartorial elegance at its best.  Cavalli’s SS12 collection looks reserved for the privileged and audacious few.  Playboys rich and alpha male enough to sport Cavalli while off stepping their yachts and disappearing into the nightclubs of Saint-Tropez.

Aggressive suit jackets in single and double-breast variety donned wide Tom Ford-like lapels and tapered waists.  At least one of Cavalli’s double-breasted jackets took on an attractive Lanvin-styled cut – a look that’s definitely growing on me. The colours were blinding – valiant cobalts and ultramarines, unapologetic neon fuchsias, and rich tropical mango cadmium yellows slap you in the face.  Carryovers include SS11’s colour-blocks, braided leather belts, tasseled tan loafers, and white suits.  Making their début at the house of Cavalli for next spring/summer are the stripes which are back and bolder than they’ve ever been.  For the most part, classic Cavalli leather, python, and crocodile prints are used sparingly on belts, shoes, and jackets.  I love this collection.  If there is an Achilles heel to the collection though, it’s in the tuxedos.  Sadly, for me, they come off more like American lounge lizard than sophisticated Italian.

Roberto Cavalli SS12

Double-Breasted Comeback

Double-Breasted Jacket

::::: Double-Breasted Jackets Top L-R: SS11 Acne, Cavalli, Gucci, Gianfranco Ferré, Ermenegildo Zegna, Bottega Veneta ::::: Bottom L-R: David Beckham, Spiro Mandylor, Chris Colfer as Kurt Hummel, Ryan Gosling

It’s been an exciting year for men’s fashion.  Last season we saw major trends such as plaid shirts, bow ties, and rolled pant-cuffs peak in popularity.  In early January, the It’s All Style To Me Men’s Spring/Summer 2011 Essentials were posted and highlighted some of what I felt were the most promising trends of the upcoming season.  Belted trench coats, braided leather belts, statement sports jackets, white suits, colour blocking, leather strap sandals, and seasonal knits have livened up our wardrobes.

Single Vs. Double-BreastedSince its reintroduction in 2008, the double-breasted suit and men’s dress jackets have been picking up steam, making a huge comeback.  No longer limited to fixtures of the 1980s such as Wall Street bankers, creepy game show hosts, and slick used car salesmen – double-breasted suits are looking pretty cool again.   The demand for double-breasted suits and separates has been fueled by new innovative new designs coming out of the world’s leading fashion houses.  Male celebs like David Beckham and Ryan Gosling have been daring enough to give them a go and Kurt Hummel even sported one in at least one episode of Glee last fall.  They fit in nicely with trendy young guys who are adopting the cleaner, tailored, preppy look reminiscent of the Mad Men era.

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Paris Fashion Week – Men’s Spring/Summer 2012 Schedule

Paris Fashion Week SS12

Photo c/o Ken Mandadakis

Second stop for the Men’s Spring/Summer 2012 Collections is Paris Fashion Week, June 23-26, 2011.  As with Milan, should be interesting to see if the monochromatic Parisian men’s collections have adopted any of the muted turquoises, wisteria wave purples, pastels, neutrals, eco-earths and atomic greens the trendsetters have been predicting.  Major labels (not all French) scheduled at Paris Fashion Week this month include Jean Paul Gaultier, Dries Van Noten, John Galliano, Dior Homme, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Lanvin, Paul Smith, Yves Saint Laurent, Thom Browne, and many others.  Fashion week schedule is current as of today’s date:

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