’07 collection shows, where designers veered in several different directions — some fresh, some disappointingly arch-beaten
— attempting to draw an evolved, less overtly formal vision of masculinity.
Minimalism — of the dry, futuristic kind — was the big news.
Robotic, clone-like models in neat hairdos and surgically precise pieces stripped bare of distracting details were a recurrent
sight, and state-of-the-art techno fabrics got all the attention. At Jil Sander, Raf Simons stuck to the iconic boxy top with narrow bottom silhouette he introduced last season, but he softened the hard
edge with sudden bursts of neon color against a generally somber, dark palette. Italo Zucchelli’s angular effort for Calvin Klein had a sexy, icy tingle, while Mihara Yasuhiro chose simplicity for design and quirkiness for details — chevron or sunray
pleats, and jacket collars that disappear halfway through.
Mother of all fashion futurists Miuccia Prada embraced big volumes and lysergic, acrylic shine in trademark Dada mode, puzzling her audience with Velcro-closed vinyl dusters, humongous blousons, and odd shorts, which she presented in
a delirious set filled with Rem Koolhaas’ flashing billboards for mock websites.
Otherwise, it was blue-blooded athleticism and sport, as celebrated in the HUMAN GAME sport/fashion exhibition that opened
at Florence’s Stazione Leopolda during Pitti Uomo. Dolce&Gabbana had right-wing Olympic fantasies in mind, which meant total white, an avalanche of shorts — worn with crested blazers — and
the pompous Chariots of Fire theme spouting from the sound system. Over at the affiliated D&G, workout gear dripped bizarre Native American fringes, while
at DSquared2, the Caten twins remixed their familiar beefcake-friendly repertoire into a clever all-sports galore sure to sell like hotcakes.
The romantic Luca Missoni, meanwhile, went for golf: the baggy Bermudas in wonderfully deranged checks, paired with loose cardigans and looser jackets,
looked particularly desirable. And since one has to give Caesar what Caesar’s worth, let’s acknowledge Dirk Bikkembergs‘ moment — after all, the football-obsessed Belgian transplant has been perfecting his own peculiar sport/couture hybrid over
the last five years.
Elsewhere, the goings got metallic and glitzy: think androgynous rather than sci-fi. No collection looked complete without
a sequined cardigan or two, from Alexander McQueen‘s Death in Venice-meets-Mr.
Ripley extravaganza, to Fendi‘s effete robot parade, to Chris Bailey’s feisty, jolly outing at Burberry, where the designer repeatedly crossed the masculine/feminine divide with stone-encrusted jumpers, tin-foil shirts, satin
trenchcoats, and roomy trousers with glittery sidebands. For less daring types, a shiny touch in the accessories department
will suffice; the mirrored computer cases over at Fendi already have "it item" written all over them, and the same goes for
Alessandro dell’Acqua‘s burnt silver high-tops.
Sharp tailoring — still a major proposition — looked particularly appealing when done in graphic black-and-white: Frida Giannini
filled the best half of her Gucci menswear debut with skinny suits in mismatched necktie jacquards worthy of Via Veneto. Neil Barrett, on his turn, mixed banker’s pinstripes with skinhead insouciance, keeping the silhouette achingly slim, and John Richmond leaned similarly on the skinny side with stripy waistcoats and chalk-stripe stovepipes suited for aspiring rock stars.
Finally, let’s not forget that summer requires breezy, pool-side wear — something many designers seemed to ignore, obsessed
instead with wintry shades and weighty layering. Costume National‘s Ennio Capasa, however, sang an ode to sun-kissed weightlessness, Valentino suggested carefree safari scenarios, and Giorgio Armani delivered yet another exercise in deconstruction and elegant ease. Surprisingly, another new acolyte of the crumpled-and-loose
school of thinking is Donatella Versace, who proudly claimed she’s currently more interested in mind than body — go figure! But at Miu Miu that lightness reached a truly touching height in a mix of techno and ethno — long shirts, dropped-crotch pants, rave-style
goggles — that offered solace to disaffected youth fed up with urban confusion and metropolitan chaos. Dream, baby, dream!
Jil Sander s/s ’07
Prada s/s ’07
DSquared s/s ’07
Alexander McQueen s/s ’07
Burberry Prorsum s/s ’07
Alessandro Dell’Acqua s/s ’07