EN / PT
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AT JORNAL ESTADO DE SÃO PAULO, JUNE 2016.
In the streets of Milan, models ride their bicycles with typical Italian gelatos in theirs hands. In general, kids wear black skinny pants, skateboarder’s sneakers and basic white t-shirts. On the way, they serenely cross executives walking in a hurry along the narrow sidewalks, wearing flawless navy blue suits. Add to this scene a latent heat and hundreds of worldwide journalists and fashion buyers wearing exotics pieces from all the four corners of the globe, probably checking a map app on the mobile, waiting for an Uber or trying to find a fashion show or showroom. In the fast and intense season of men’s shows in town, the day is long and the sun only sets after 10 p.m.
In four days, brands such as Prada, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci and Armani perform their shows in different locations. Unlike London or São Paulo, where Fashion Weeks have their own headquarters in Milan each event takes place at a different location therefore making the entire city vibrates fashion during the show’s days. On the catwalks, in the stores’ windows and in the backstage talks two movements predominate.
The first one is commercial fashion – see now, buy now, – which prioritizes sober tones such as navy blue and khaki in addition to combining tailored with sport pieces. These pieces go easily from the catwalks to the stores thus interacting directly with the consumer. The second, a phantasy movement. In Italy, led by Gucci and Prada that treat fashion with an innocence that is as old as it is futuristic. Gucci’s Alessandro Michele and Miuccia Prada seek to go beyond in the creation process. They blend men and women creating therefore a more democratic fashion that leads to the unification of collections and fashion shows.
Versace is part of the first movement, the commercial – “I do not believe in a fusion of genders in fashion”, said Donatella Versace before the show. Right on the first day, the label took many journalists and buyers to MiCo, Milan, a huge place far from the center. The audience, sitting in bleachers witnessed an original video on two giant screens created by the photographer Bruce Weber, in Chicago, exclusively for the occasion. The film celebrated the sexy and lively label’s lifestyle with numerous exposed bodies and lively dancing. Almost immediately, the models started walking in a geometric catwalk composed of spotlights.
The audience witnessed a new Versace – more sober, but sexier. It seems like Donatella has realized that that much gold and extravagant prints are not an obligation to draw the viewers’ attention. “There are men and women and my fashion feels completely different for each one, but its mentality is still the same”, she stated. “I like a strong, daring woman who’s not afraid to show who she is. I feel the same way about the men. However, you cannot translate that through clothing in the same way for both. They are so different”. It is worth reminding that in a near past the stylist has already taken to the catwalks golden armours and canvas underpants.
This season men leggings – that were in Prada and Emporio Armani too – were the biggest Versace novelty, that has also presented loose-fitting shapes in sports’ coats and motion shirts, besides tailored shorts and ready for retail pieces. Donatella wants a show, but also wants new clients. Navy blue, military green, khaki, black and white shaped almost the entire collection.
Salvatore Ferragamo evolves at the same pace as its sober colors. The brand presented a fresh collection, featuring a young tailoring and military pockets on shirts and jackets. Shirt and pants looks combining tone-on-tone. While Versace went one-step down in extravagance, Ferragamo walked one-step up to a daring spot, but without crossing the line. The stylings are smoothers, making the men feel more comfortable. A stripped-down tailoring, without losing its impeccable fit. At Armani, the feeling was just the same – there is a noticeable movement. The straight pants were looser, the suits and shirts in crumpled fabrics. All that simplifies the life of a man. The sobriety of the tones follows in many collections, from Emporio Armani to Diesel Black Gold.
Gucci, as well as Burberry and Bottega Veneta will unify its collections into one solo fashion show during the women’s season. It is a feeling that is everywhere. On the one hand, there is an unisex tendency in addition to a mixture of genders in the same collections and on the other, the economic factor since the brands will be able to reduce by half the number of shows per season. This season, in a fantastic journey Alessandro Michele has introduced us to his fantasy universe with the most modern street style elements such as shirts and jackets with contemporary graphics. All that without leaving aside the extravagant embroidery and the piece’s details. A trip has inspired this collection. The prints mix Japanese ancient images with Donald Duck. “That is my idea of trip. To travel, but not going anywhere. And dream of an unknown place”, said the designer.
Happily, there is a mid-term. Prada also dived in a trip where backpackers, carrying the world in their backs crossed the catwalk to the sound of ‘90s classical tunes. From the chorus of Madonna’s 1994 Bedtime Story’s ‘Travelling’, to the Faithless’ rave anthem Insomnia, ‘I can’t get no sleep!’ the collection was diverse. Men and women wearing similar elements, each with their peculiarities but sharing one common feature: the juvenile curiosity, the will to do something different, something new. That was the catwalk’s vibe.
Neither one side nor the other – Prada once again shows the world it is beyond its time. After all, we cannot define the gender or try to frame ourselves in a style that does not reflect who we really are. The secret to get it right is to be opened and comprehensive. The big brands may change their creative directors, seek new solutions or paths but today who decides what to wear and where to buy is the consumer, and that is exactly what everyone is trying to figure out on the catwalks.