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Best Bits from the FW24 Menswear Shows
The whirlwind of Menswear Milan and Paris fashion weeks has concluded, leaving us breathless and eager for more. While the spotlight now shifts to Womenswear and Haute Couture, let's take a moment to relish the standout moments that graced the runways.
The resurgence of sartorial styles pushes on in full force, peppered with innovative twists that broke through the classicism. Whether it's in the looks themselves or the runway designs, you can’t stop the creatives from having their fun.
Sabato De Sarno’s Gucci Menswear Debut
In his inaugural menswear show, Sabato De Sarno ingeniously mirrored the aesthetics of the previous womenswear display, creating a harmonious visual dialogue between the two.
Drawing inspiration from the 90s, particularly the Tom Ford era, De Sarno ushered in a return to classic fashion, departing from Alessandro Michele's extravagant tendencies.
While lacking shock value, the collection left an indelible mark with its subtle sultriness, with hints of shimmer, crystal, and leather adding heat to otherwise classic ensembles.
The devil was in the details, in the impeccable construction, materials, and finishes. Highlights of the collection were the gorgeous platform loafers and brothel creepers, the silk choker-clasped scarves, heavy metal chain necklaces, and ultra-low vests.
Stone Island Warehouse Stage
Making its Milan debut at La Cattedrale, Stone Island delivered a futuristic spectacle in a huge industrial warehouse setting. Models stood side by side under flashing lights on a sturdy scaffolding structure- from a distance it looked like a vending machine selling well-dressed G.I. Joes.
The showcase featured a mix of new and archival pieces, including the iridescent Metal Mesh PVD Nanotechnology Down Jacket, semi-transparent coats from the Ghost collection, and Nylon Metal textile bombers.
Though unconventional, it was a compelling presentation of the brand's forever innovative spirit.
Dior’s Spinning Symphony
In a poignant tribute to his late uncle, Rudolf Nureyev, Kim Jones curated a show that paid homage to Nureyev's illustrious career as a ballet dancer- most obviously manifested in the classical soundtrack and the ballet-pump inspired shoes.
In typical Dior fashion, there was a keen focus on business attire, but Jones explored alternative variations, presenting regal kimonos, draping wrap shirts, smart jumpsuits and shorts, elevating looks with decorative details such as scalloped edges and intricate beading (you have to admire the painstaking work that goes into Dior’s handmade pieces).
However, the true showstopper was the runway itself.
The audience was taken by surprise during the final presentation when models arranged themselves in concentric circles and the floor started rotating like a Lazy Susan. This unexpected and mesmerizing display added an extra layer of theatricality to an already breath-taking collection.
Balmain’s Daring Surrealism
In contrast to the toned-down elegance seen in many other shows, Rousteing took a bold leap into maximalism. This bold choice was evident right from the outset, as the first look featured an AI-generated face lavishly printed in crystal mosaic fashion onto a long coat.
Inspired by the surrealist art movement, the collection prompted a second glance, notably when Naomi Campbell closed the show with a visually striking illusion of four hands, two being wrought in gold.
Drawing inspiration from the surrealist art movement, the collection enticed a second look, especially when Naomi Campbell concluded the show, creating a visually captivating illusion of four hands, two adorned in opulent gold.
Collaborations with artists extended beyond visuals, with images replicated onto garments and accessories. The audience experienced a unique visual twist as artworks materialized both as prints on garments and as live re-enactments by the models.
Throughout the presentation, eyes and lips demanded attention, adorned with crystals, prints, and expertly draped fabric, extending to accessories like pins, bracelets, and belts. The collection harboured a touch of Schiaparelli spirit, but there were still many wearable pieces to be found.
Dsquared2’s Makeover Machine
In a bright white space, rugged, dishevelled models walked, as if returning from a hardcore party in the woods and entered a futuristic box. With a zap and a flash, they emerged on the other side looking revitalized and impeccably dressed.
While many of us wish such a machine existed, sadly, it remains a fantasy. How did they achieve this transformation? It didn’t take long to realise that they were using identical twins (they even did before and after comparisons at end of the show).
Besides the fun factor of the box, the clothing itself seamlessly navigated from small Canadian town to lively city nightclub vibes, but there was an undeniable element of sex appeal in both stages.
While not the first to utilize twins, as seen in Gucci’s Twinsburg fashion show, the box trick demonstrated an innovative application of the concept.
Honourable mentions go to Jonathan Anderson’s Loewe show, particularly the neck tied jackets and Richard Hawkins’ painting materialised into a floor length snuggly jumper; At the Zegna show it rained tufts of camel cashmere, a testament to the luxurious materials used in the collection.
Rick Owens gave a middle finger to fashion standards by absurdly inflating proportions in shoes and shoulders, and Pharrell delivered some amazing pieces for Louis Vuitton in his Western themed collection.
Like always, it has been a rollercoaster of fur, crystals and best of the best tailoring. One thing is for certain: with the next fashion week always around the corner, you can never get bored in this world.
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