There’s no rest for the weary when it comes to Fashion Week (which, between London, Milan and Paris becomes more like Fashion Month). After some stellar shows in London last week (like Burberry and Rag & Bone), this past weekend was packed with heavy hitters in Milan. Check out videos of some of the best Spring/Summer 2014 shows below. [Above: Neil Barrett, via Bruce Pask's Instagram.]
1. We launched a new online destination this week for The Rail—which is a men’s department in our stores, yes, but also an amalgamation of the clothes, ideas and events we find interesting at any given moment. CHECK OUT THE RAIL—bookmark it, live it, love it, etc.
2. For said Rail launch, we shot a ton of images in the nooks and crannies of Brooklyn a few weeks ago, with modern-day Renaissance men like model/artist/on-screen personality Ivan Olita (above, in sunglasses). Take in large amounts of inspiration at Ivan’s webstite. And play with his face here—if you’re into that kind of thing.
3. It turns out that Fashion Week, despite all its stony-faced models and austere stage designs, gets kind of wild after dark. Check out the hijinks that Ivan, a native Italian, partook of at Milan Fashion Week in the video below—all at the wise request of V Magazine. (And, if you missed it, catch up on our own Fashion Week coverage: for men and women.)
Extraterrestrial substances. Hinged exoskeletons. A mad scientist’s lab. The out-there allegories that runway critics dreamt up to describe theZ Zegna Autumn/Winter 2013 men’s collection are highly imaginative—and quite fitting. The brand (a forward-thinking offshoot of 100-year-old fabric artisans and menswear masters Ermenegildo Zegna) has tactile experimentation woven into its DNA.
What makes Z Zegna’s vision of next season all the more intriguing, though, is a fusion of outer limits with earthly antiquity, as innovative fabric concoctions and construction techniques are grounded by inspirations randging from 17th-century masterpieces to harsh Alpine landscapes.
Z Zegna’s Creative Director, Mr. Paul Surridge, was kind enough to speak with us in the days following the brand’s recent runway presentation in Milan. Read on to learn how space-age alpaca, nomadic pilgrims, and the Mayan calendar played into one of FW13′s most striking collections.
MEN’S SHOP DAILY: The collection is titled The Urban Wanderer Meets the Great Outdoors. What outdoor locales inspire you the most? PAUL SURRIDGE:“Well, I grew up in the country, and being English, I know a bit about cold weather, windy weather, and protection from the elements. My team and I were inspired by landscape photography, in particular the work of Olaf Unverzart. It’s mountains, glaciers, these vast, corroding landscapes. I mean, I’m always inspired by nature—it’s something that’s so much bigger than man himself. Looking at the recent activities around the world, one thing you cannot control is nature.”
Would you say this is clothing for the end of the world? “I’m sorry, the end of the world? [Laughs.] Well you know, it’s funny—we also referenced The Road, the film based on the Cormac McCarthy novel. There’s a moment in the film where they’re arguing over one shoe. I quite like the fact that at the end of the world, all the things you throw away, things you have no value for on a daily basis, suddenly become very valuable. There was even a film about the end of the Mayan calendar that came up—obviously we didn’t write that in the press notes, because we would seem like religious fanatics [laughs]—but it was not so much about the end of the world, and more about this kind of shift. What people expect from clothing now has started to change. It’s about giving someone value for their money, and giving them something to invest in.”
The Road is fiction—at least for now. How do you bring things back to reality?
“We looked at traditional hiking and rambling wear—things that people wore to be comfortable while being active. When you’re dressed to perform, to do something, it’s functional and practical. It’s no longer about fashion, it’s about necessity, and it’s about the production of the garment.
“We were also inspired by nomadism, and early religious paintings of pilgrims. Looking at the way people used to travel, they couldn’t just step into a car—it was more like two weeks on horseback. I wanted this kind of medieval approach that referenced a time in which no one today has life experience—when people had very little, but what they had, had to have a purpose. They would own one single cup, for example, which would be multi-functional. This idea of having very few things that have to perform and function was my way of moving away from minimalism, and into a kind of practicalism.”
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[Caravaggio's Saint Jerome Writing, circa 1605.]
PART II. STROKES OF GENIUS
What drew you to the works of Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio [1571–1610]?
“I like the sense of drama you get from Caravaggio’s paintings, and the sense of power. And I like that the stars of his paintings were often people from the street, rather than princes, and kings, and dukes. They were very much like real people, who were being depicted in their normal way of life, or quite painful depictions of real life.”
[Caravaggio's Portrait of Pope Urban VIII, date unknown.]
And how did those inspirations manifest in the collection?
There were a few paintings in particular. One was more about the composition and the segmentation of the body, so you’ll notice in the show there was this kind of belted-jacket bodice, and the tunics with the big white sleeves. Other paintings inspired the color palette. I wanted to reduce the color down from past seasons, but not present a black collection, which felt kind of wrong. So it’s about taking real pigment color—the actual color from pigment itself, before the colors become contaminated—natural color that’s kind of permeated in this sequence of darker tones, and then these highlights of cadmium red and the white shirts.”
[Caravaggio's Judith Beheading Holofernes, circa 1598.]
Do you have favorite items within the collection, or do you look at it more as a whole?
“There are always things that stand out personally. The things I like, more often than not, are the ones that are the most painful to get right [laughs]. But one of my favorite looks was the navy tabard* [below, center] with a white shirt, and a kind of matelassé pant. I like the simplicity of the garment. It’s a key look, and I think a new proportion. A lot of people have picked up on it in reviews—it’s kind of a heraldic, medieval simplicity, but made modern.
“One of the things that people picked up on after the show, was that it felt kind of menacing, or medieval, or dramatic, but without being too poetic. And that’s something that I didn’t want the collection to be—dandy, or romantic. I wanted it to have this historical element, but without being costume.”
[*Tabard: a sleeveless jacket consisting only of front and back pieces with a hole for the head. historical: a coarse garment of this kind as the outer dress of medieval peasants and clerics, or worn as a surcoat over armor.]
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PART III. A FABRICATED FUTURE
Ermenegildo Zegna was founded in 1910 as a high-end fabric supplier. How does that history play into your work today? “One thing that I’m very careful about is the fabric content, because for me, that’s how you ‘Zegna-fy’ everything. At the starting point of each collection, it’s crucial to ask, What can we do with the brand to keep to the Zegna tradition? And for me, the biggest sort of safety net is fabric. I work with our fabric directors to create fabrics—this season in particular, we used an Agnona fabric, which was a shearling-looking alpaca wool mix. It was actually a jersey construction that looked like shearling.”
How else do new innovations play into the collection?
“I’m very keen to make Z Zegna like a forum for technology. For me, it’s not an entry into the Zegna world, it’s a brand by itself. Technology is something that always inspires me anyway, be it in product design, or architecture or other disciplines. In fashion, you see it a lot in sportswear, but it’s kind of lacking in contemporary tailoring. We’ve really embraced the technology and manufacturing side lately—heat-sealing, giving things a permanence and durability, almost like a protective element.”
[The man himself: Z Zegna Creative Director, Mr. Paul Surridge.]
How much does your own personal style affect your design process?
“I find that it becomes stale when you design with only yourself in mind. For me, the personal side is really the sensibility of the color, and the manipulation of the fabric. Taking classic matter, and putting a new spin on it. And I don’t think it’s classic with a twist—it’s more concept than that. It’s more like taking wool, and then taking the yarn from the knitwear to create pinstripes. Doing the textures. Using different forms of technology to create an entirely new product. It’s something I’ve done throughout my career, but at this show in particular, it surfaced in a way that felt very personal… I think that’s what made this collection special.”
[First image: Front row at the show, photo by our Men's Designer Buyer, Jorge Valls. Backstage and runway images: Courtesy of Z Zegna. Caravaggio paintings: via Wikipedia. Landscape photographs by Olaf Unverzart.]
Having started as a forward-thinking shoemaker to Hollywood stars of the 1920s, the late Salvatore Ferragamo’s eponymous brand has come a long way. One aspect that remains a guiding force under Creative Director Massimiliano Giornetti: a scientific approach to the art of style. Chiseled lines and innovative mixes of luxe leather and wool with technical fabrics define this calculated new collection, rooted in a cavernous spectrum of near-black hues. The result is an army of outerwear that would somehow look as at-home in the Matrix as it would on your sunless, socked-in commutes next Fall.
Leather Weather. The show featured a wide range of takes on this quintessential piece of all-attitude menswear—from cropped biker jackets to hip-length trialmasters to knee-length trenches.
Soldier of Fortune.Military references are invading throughout the season’s shows. No exception here, with double-breasted officer coats and peacoats, aerodynamic bomber jackets, and the all-terrain trench in the Twitter pic up top.
Rain Men. Soaked cement was a clear influence, with storm sounds starting the show and puddles literally lining the runway. Giornetti found countless ways to revel in the rain—like a voluminous cloak, rubberized sweater and futuristic poncho fit for a gunslinger in space. (Click images to enlarge.)
Watch the video above for a glimpse backstage prior to the Salvatore Ferragamo Fall/Winter 2013 runway show—which took place in Milan only a few days ago—and hear from Giornetti himself on the thought process behind the new designs.
Missoni, an Italian fashion house founded in 1953, is known far and wide for its innovative experimentation with eye-shocking patterns in wildly varying shades. Sixty years in, the brand is still family-operated, with Angela Missoni serving as menswear designer. (Her daughter, model/heiress/accessories designer Margherita Missoni, offered GQ some salient dating tips earlier this year.) By varying the color and configurations of the brand’s signature stripes, plaids, zigzags and speckles, Angela Missoni’s recent collections can come off as space-age and streamlined (see the current Spring collection) or earthy and ancient—the latter being the case for Fall/Winter 2013, which melds Italian swagger with a palette that reflects the rugged American West: from desolate plains and grand canyons to lush wilderness.
Controlled Doses. Sometimes a dab of pattern is all you need—like on a vest layered over your jean jacket, or a statement sweater that stands alone. Click the guy in the middle to see the subtle pattern in his pants, and on the panels under his arms.
Pattern on Pattern. It wouldn’t be a Missoni show if some of the looks didn’t go all in. Click the images for closer looks at how color, texture and scale subtly interplay—and make these bold mixes totally work.
British designer Neil Barrett, whose grandfather and great-grandfather were master tailors, knows a thing or two about clean lines and confident silhouettes. His latest collection, though manifested in his signature mod-art minimalism, was inspired by the Bahá’í Faith. It’s a bit difficult to get a pulse on precisely what that means, but one interpretation might lie in the 19th-century Persian religion’s core value of unity—that all races, religions and genders are created equal. From luxed-up sweatshirts to immaculate topcoats made more casual by cropping at the waist, every look on Barrett’s runway feels somehow equivalent; on a level playing field of laid-back formality. Check out other unifying themes that caught our eye below:
Get Mono. Black-on-black, camel-on-camel, navy-on-navy. Going monochromatic is subtle and forceful at the same time.
Textural Feelings. From leather panels to fuzzy wool to embossed chevron patterns, Barrett found countless ways to add interest to his restrained palette. (Click images to enlarge.)
Oddball Geometry. Quintessential shapes like crewnecks, bombers and blazers were treated as blank canvases for op-art graphics.
Neil Barrett is available at selected Nordstrom stores.
For assistance, please contact a Designer Specialist at 1-877-543-7463.
Confirming last week’s prediction, Burberry’s latest menswear show was a dignified yet wild juxtaposition of heritage shapes and new-wave finishes—from king-of-the-jungle prints to technologically advanced fabrications. Watch a video of the complete show (which took place two days ago in Milan) here, and check out the key trends that caught our eye below.
Fatigue Green. Thematically, a smart complement to the collection’s wildlife motifs, in referencing Britain’s colonial history in India and Africa. Practically, a welcome (and more rugged) addition to your standard neutrals like navy and grey.
Caged Animals. Touches of leopard, tiger and zebra appeared throughout the show—sometimes emphatic, sometimes refined. (Click to enlarge the model in the middle, and examine his shades and shoes.)
Next-Gen Fabrics. From left, these are leather (in an unexpected shape), laminated cotton (rendering it water-resistant), and a translucent-rubber trench. Designer Christopher Bailey consistently marries Burberry’s 150-year heritage with a nod to the future.
Fall ’13 marks minimalist master Jil Sander’s second men’s collection since returning to her eponymous label last season. The new lineup, unveiled over the weekend in Milan, was full of familiar menswear mainstays—double-breasted suits and topcoats, sweaters, bomber jackets—but often contained a subtle, futuristic twist. Be it a pop of primary color amongst the charcoal greys and olive greens, an exploded dose of windowpane and pinstripe, or subtly exaggerated outerwear proportions, Sander delivered wearable classics that are guaranteed to keep forward-thinking gents a step ahead.
The short video above is a double-take-inducing tease of what you’ll see tomorrow (Saturday, January 12) at 7:30am PST, when you watch Burberry Prorsum’s Autumn/Winter 2013 Menswear show live at Burberry.com.
It contains split-second flashes of impeccably constructed outerwear, rich quilting, mid-century menswear references, and…giraffe and tiger prints? We wouldn’t put it past Christopher Bailey, Burberry’s soft-spoken rockstar of a chief creative officer. The man has subtly but surely revved up traditional tailoring the past few years with polka dots, jewel tones and fluorescent foil—and impressively kept it all in good taste. Perhaps a gentlemanly take on exotic animal prints will represent Bailey’s exploration into his native Britain’s colonial roots…as well as a logical evolution of increasingly omnipresent camo motifs. Watch the show tomorrow to find out; and in the meantime, SHOP BURBERRY.