Friends, Romans, countrymen: Donatella Versace was in the mood to celebrate the classical athletic physique in this collection packed with toga draping and wrapping, gold fastenings, and enough shiny Versace merchandise to fill the Colosseum. Models strode down the catwalk in white bikini bottoms wrapped like loincloths and adorned with gold fastenings. They were accessorized with gilt-edged, branded beach towels draped, Caesarlike, over one shoulder. Some — proud as discus throwers — even carried Versace plates. Others wore togalike pastel tops that fell loosely under the arm and were pinned at the shoulder with shining fastenings, while leather biker jackets were covered in black silhouettes of athletes, midaction. The Versace empire stretches far beyond ancient Rome, though: In her show notes, the designer cited the hot streets of Havana as another inspiration. Versace tapped into the tropical trend being seen on Milan’s runways so far this season with roomy suits in sun-kissed colors such as dusty pink and cornflower blue, while an abstract palm leaf pattern blossomed across silk shirts. Jeans were tailored to hot climes — and toned quads — and came riddled with embroidered cutouts. Tropical or toned, the collection was firmly aimed at the Versace man.
For spring, Les Hommes creative directors Tom Notte and Bart Vandebosch incorporated sportswear elements in their staple sleek tailoring.
Cropped slim pants and very short shorts came paired with intarsia leather bombers and thermo welded parkas decorated with contrasting stripes. Notte and Vandebosch enlightened the dark-colored lineup with metallic shirts worn under rigorous suits and sporty outerwear in an iridescent jacquard fabric.
Let the games begin! KTZ designer Marjan Pejoski staged a high-energy show themed around sports — both ancient and modern. Cue the gladiator skirts, emperor-style capes, boxing shorts and robes printed with images of ancient coins or covered in a pattern of battle scenes like those on old Roman friezes.
Mesh was everywhere — on flowing capes, backpacks and coats with chunky statement zippers. The collection built to a climax of increasingly glittery sport- and street-inspired looks — baggy shorts, tops, capes and robes — embellished with fat sequins or shiny white plastic bits. It was an idiosyncratic collection if there ever was one.
“Everyone is working on real clothes, to be very concrete,” Silvia Venturini Fendi said backstage when asked why designer denim seems to be roaring back. She, too, tackled jeans — in that elevated Fendi way, photo-printing images of distressed denim onto waterproof leather pants and jackets — as well as chinos, polo shirts and sweaters. Other “everyday basics” for the Fendi man included hand-knit cashmere grunge sweaters, reversible blousons in glove leather, and colorful headphones detailed in Selleria leather, made in collaboration with Beats Electronics. The accessories — backpacks and luxury shower-style sandals, many in croc — gave familiar ensembles a youthful verve (albeit for those with Dr. Dre budgets). Like many European brands, Fendi is revving up its men’s business, and opened its first dedicated men’s store in the Elements Mall in Hong Kong earlier this year, plus dedicated a floor to men’s wear in its new Bond Street flagship in London. “More to come,” chief executive officer Pietro Beccari promised, flashing a big smile.
Hedi Slimane continues to indulge his rock ’n’ roll fantasies on the Saint Laurent runway; this season a psychedelic romp that included one model that was a dead ringer for Jimi Hendrix — and another for Lord Farquaad.
Parading his spring men’s collection on the same night as Glastonbury was drawing to a close, it was plain the French designer is targeting the young festival crowd with his high-fashion take on the Summer of Love. Blanket ponchos and macramé capes glistened with metallic threads and embedded crystals. Velvet blousons bloomed with sparkling star burst embroideries. Jean jackets came edged in metallic studs.
Everything was pinned on the tightest black jeans imaginable, giving his hunched models an aspect of Tim Burton animations with their licorice-thin legs.
Slimane seemed energized by the hippie theme, decorating leather and suede jackets with fringe; blazers with military braiding; a linen caftan with gold filigree, and a camouflage jacket with golden tassels.
He accessorized looks to the hilt with gaucho hats, metallic cowboy boots and fringed necklaces — and completed the Haight-Ashbury scene with a handful of women’s looks.
Patchwork prairie skirts, tapestry jackets and a sheepskin-edged vest were among the best things yet shown by Slimane, the merchandising wizard behind Saint Laurent’s sales momentum, up 27.1 percent in the first quarter. As Janis Joplin sang, “Get It While You Can.”
Jil Sander’s spring collection was the last design team effort before the September debut of its new creative director, Rodolfo Paglialunga. The team translated the vibrations that music creates on the surface of water — a highly conceptual approach — into a practical urban wardrobe. Suits came in a cotton-nylon fabric whose surface texture mimicked the rippling patterns. Relaxed yet city-smart, the tailoring studiously followed the house’s heritage: three-button jackets with a high outward-oriented shoulder, a slim front and volume in the back. Elsewhere, stiff, ultradry Japanese cotton assumed a subtle movement via built-in drawstrings on the inside of a trouser featuring a particularly large waist and colored stripes running down the sides of each leg.
In a soothing palette of grays, lime, nude and bleached purple, the collection oozed a calm and clean vibe.
Normally, a parachute fabric would not be considered overtly elegant, yet the design team at Maison Martin Margiela made it look that way on long, languid coats worn over breezy shirts and blazers. Done in glossy rust, light beige and sunflower yellow, the collection’s light and fluid trench and car coats looked as easy to wear as a T-shirt, yet surprised with their sensual sense of refinement and natural cool. Elsewhere, a tightly belted safari jacket gave a pair of tuxedo pants a sporty feel. Neoprene backing did the same to a leather perfecto. The show was fresh and compelling, though not without mishaps. Tailored pants with mismatched legs, or with pant legs of mismatched lengths and fabrics, were without rhyme or reason.
The faded beauty of a decaying Parisian town house — the setting for Haider Ackermann’s spring presentation — had a lot in common with his clothes: a lived-in look and tons of character. Having helped nudge men’s fashion in a lounge-y direction, Ackermann raised his game for spring with compositions of dusty colors, upholstery patterns and rolled-out-of-bed dishabille. Skinny trousers in shiny leather or striped linen twisted around the legs, adding a glam-rock aspect to his decadent style. Tank tops that may well have been slept in sagged and spilled under jackets, their prison or sailor stripes mingling with chinoiserie silk or crushed velvet on blousons, not to mention the vests in glistening chevron jacquards and the untucked shirts in necktie patterns. Ackermann cast a spell with this show, casting Saskia de Brauw and Liya Kebede to join his band of gangly bohemians. On the basis of their outfits alone, each looked like they had an interesting story to tell.
Classical and contemporary dance is suddenly pirouetting into the fashion consciousness. Picking up where Tomas Maier left off in Milan chez Bottega Veneta, Dries Van Noten took the elements of the dancer’s rehearsal, performance and backstage wardrobes — the plunging T-shirts, the tights, the robes — and created a collection as chic as it was languid. In a season of breezy coats, Van Noten’s were exceptional, from liquid trenches to silk dusters anchored by harnesses embellished with bullion embroideries. Tailoring was pajama loose; shirts filmy and silken, occasionally etched with pen drawings of a nude in movement. Van Noten is becoming a go-to resource for novelty pants, and there was plenty of choice, from flaring pinstripes to more athletic styles hinting at toreador pants or side-striped sweats. Prints and ethnic embroideries were used sparingly, giving the stage to rich bottle greens, burgundy, navy and fleshy, neutral tones. The Belgian designer has been pushing beyond his comfort zone in recent seasons, but this time it didn’t feel forced. Having costumed several performances for acclaimed Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Van Noten made all the right moves.
Tomas Maier is becoming the go-to guy for off-duty chic. His Sunday morning show exalted the athletic grace of dancers, his models resembling a troupe exiting rehearsal in their hair bands and jazz shoes, foreheads and pectorals glistening with a thin film of sweat. It would be difficult to find more luxurious warm-up clothes: jogging pants, sweatshirts and hoodies in beefy cotton double jersey, as plain as they were expensive looking. Washed suede blousons had the same languid air as the scoopneck T-shirts occasionally worn underneath. Roomy cashmere sweaters smudged with color or faded carpet prints slid off shoulders, or were unbuttoned at the collarbone, while papery Windbreakers were worn with the sleeves pushed up. The few suits in the collection were styled in the same offhand way as workout clothes, the pant legs scrunched up toward the knee. Woven leather backpacks accentuated the easy feel of the clothes.
In a season of monochromatic dressing, Maier may very well come out as top banana. In addition to that mellow shade, he had sky blue, mint green and pale flamingo pink.
Tom Ford brought the laidback spirit of the American southwest to a luxe collection that put the spotlight on sportswear — and jeans — rather than suiting.“A lot of it is inspired by the side of my life most of you would never see,” said Ford, a Texas native with a ranch in Santa Fe, before a brief showroom presentation. “I always wear jeans, but that’s in New Mexico. There’s definitely a bit of Western feel to this because it’s what I wear.”
His ‘n’ hers matching outfits, anyone? The Jean Paul Gaultier couple will be sporting near-identical looks next spring, as the men’s lineup contained several items that also appeared in the French designer’s resort collection for women. Case in point: a black bomber jacket with a cheeky hieroglyphic print in which the female figures are pictured wearing cone-shaped brassieres, which was paired with black trousers with a similar Egyptian-inspired pattern etched out in silver studs. The crossover looks should come as no surprise — after all, Gaultier has always blurred gender boundaries. But of all the shared elements — including painterly Fifties daisies and corset lacing — the looks making use of bold color blocks and the brand’s signature sailor stripes had the most obvious masculine flair.
This ultrasophisticated Salvatore Ferragamo collection was aimed squarely at the city dweller — rather than his seaside counterpart — and steered clear of summer wardrobe clichés. Creative director Massimiliano Giornetti worked a color palette that included petrol, cinnamon, burgundy, and mellow yellow into soft and subtly patterned tailoring, textured knitwear and edgy footwear. He put a focus on outerwear, especially long, fluid coats so lightweight they were almost transparent. Some had hoods, while others were worn with rolled-up cuffs lined with a jaunty giraffe print. Suits had a sporty, workwear feel with zip-front or belted, safarilike jackets, while trousers were loose-fitting and cuffed. Giornetti also made a powerful statement with knitwear, turning out sweaters with open V-neck collars or magnified waffle textures, while footwear had a utilitarian feel, with thick soles and fringes. This collection was not for every man, but the Ferragamo man will no doubt cut quite a figure on the asphalt beaches of Milan or Manhattan.
Wanderlust — embodied by the late travel writer Bruce Chatwin — was the impetus behind Christopher Bailey’s romantic collection that came in a kaleidoscope of rich colors, inspired by the cover art on dusty Forties-era books. Bailey said he was thinking of Chatwin, a true Englishman who “struggled to stay in one place,” and of the complex spirit of a man on the move. Looks in the show, where singer-songwriter Benjamin Clementine performed a live set on the piano, ranged from the sporty — as in tapered cotton velvet trousers and jackets in bottle green or deep purple — to the more formal, such as double-breasted suits in aqua, indigo or bougainvillea. Models carried leather portfolios and notebooks with hand-painted illustrations, and travel satchels that were meant to look worn-in. Bailey’s color story extended to outerwear, too, as in the eggplant suede trench that opened the show, a leather jacket with a hand-painted print, and a long teal coat with a velvet collar. Denim made its debut on the Burberry Prorsum catwalk in the form of short jackets and a statement tailored trench.