Short, rejuvenated Milan Men's Fashion Week starts on January 11
The Milan Men's Fashion Week is opening on Friday night with the eagerly awaited show by Ermenegildo Zegna. The menswear label's first Alessandro Sartori-devised show was staged in January 2017 at Milan’s Hangar Bicocca contemporary art centre, amidst the seven giant concrete towers erected by German artist Anselm Kiefer, and was followed by a show in Milan State University's cloister, another on a snowy catwalk at Bocconi University, and by last June’s breathtaking waterside show at the stunning, Oscar Niemeyer-designed headquarters of Milanese publisher Mondadori. This year’s show promises to be spectacular too, as Zegna’s Autumn/Winter 2019-20 collection will be unveiled at Milan’s monumental Central Station.
Zegna aside, for the current season the Milan Fashion Week will again stage a reduced programme. Wedged in between Pitti Uomo with its myriad events, and the Paris menswear week with its huge appeal, the Milanese week is struggling to return to its former glory. It has now shrunk to three days, the long weekend from the evening of Friday January 11 to Monday 14, and has notably been diminished by the migration of many labels which are staging co-ed shows during the womenswear week, or relocating to other, more prestigious destinations.
Three examples aptly illustrate this drift. Jil Sander, whose menswear showed in Milan for many years (though lately it settled simply for a presentation), opted for the Parisian catwalks this season. Another case in point is Moschino, which showed its menswear collection in Los Angeles last June. Instead of returning to Milan, Moschino decided to show in Rome, at the Italian capital’s Cinecittà film studios as a tribute to Federico Fellini, a show that was held on Tuesday January 8, bang on Pitti Uomo’s opening day. Finally, young streetwear label Palm Angels, which showed in Milan for the last four seasons, decided to join New York’s womenswear calendar.
Relying on a new generation of designers
Faced with this situation, the Italian National Fashion Chamber (CNMI) can only rely on new names. In June, it tried to focus on womenswear pre-collections, and for this season it is playing the emerging talent card. Though a way must be found of anchoring these talents to Milan, as the majority of them vanishes from the calendar from one season to the other. Milan’s forthcoming autumn/winter session, which like last season features 27 shows, plus the off-calendar Dolce & Gabbana extravaganza, will therefore introduce eight new names, replacing eight withdrawals.
Worth looking out for among the designers making their debut in Milan from next Saturday is Luca Magliano, the winner of the ‘Who is on Next? Uomo 2017’ prize, renowned for his vigorous, Latin-inspired and very colourful men’s ready-to-wear style. Like Magliano, also Bed J.W. Ford, which is showing on Sunday, was first discovered at Pitti Uomo. In June 2018, the Florentine event organised the first European show by this uber-contemporary, deconstructed tailoring label launched in 2010 by self-taught Japanese designer Shinpei Yamagishi. This season, Milan will also welcome two new Italian entries on its catwalks, streetwear labels Numero 00, launched in 2012 by Valerio Farina, and United Standard, founded in 2015 by Giorgio di Salvo.
Still for the rookie department, on Monday 14 there is the must-see show by Spyder, which staged a first presentation in Milan last June. The long-established US skiwear brand, created in 1978 by Canadian downhill skier David Jacob, is back on the scene with a lifestyle collection for men and women designed by Christopher Bevans, winner in 2018 of the Woolmark Innovation prize, with accessories by German designer Peter Brunsberg.
The Milan Fashion Week will also fête the grand return of John Richmond, whose relaunch is in full swing. On Sunday January 13, the British designer will make his come-back on the Milanese catwalks, which he left in September 2015, after showing in Italy for 17 consecutive years. The John Richmond label is now produced and distributed by Arav Fashion (producer and distributor of Silvian Heach), owned by Neapolitan family Ammaturo, which bought it in June 2017.
Also back on the Milanese catwalks is Miaoran, the unisex label founded in Milan in 2014 by young Chinese designer Miao Ran. In June 2015, Miaoran caught the eye at Pitti Uomo, being awarded a special mention in the 'Who Is on Next?’ designer competition, and was then invited by Giorgio Armani to show at the Armani theatre in June 2016.
A Fashion Week without Armani but with Brioni
After skipping the June session to show with womenswear in September, staging a spectacular event at Milan Linate airport, Emporio Armani’s menswear is also back on the calendar, taking the place however of the group’s main line, Giorgio Armani, which in turn is giving the January week a miss to return next February with a co-ed show with womenswear.
Giorgio Armani will therefore be the main absentee of this Milan Men’s Fashion Week, alongside Plein Sport, Palm Angels and sundry labels which made a fleeting appearance in June, like Vien, Besfxxk, Hunting World and Aalto. As for Mancunian label Represent, which premièred in Milan last year, it is expected to unveil its new collection in Milan again, though not as part of the official calendar. The presentations programme features notably the grand return of Brioni, which showed in Paris for several seasons, while Canali decided to show at Pitti Uomo in Florence this season.
Finally, another novelty: the White Street Market, a format first tested last June and dedicated to sportswear and streetwear within trend-scouting show White, will be repeated this season too. From January 12 to 14, White will therefore operate as a hybrid event, open both to the general public and fashion industry professionals.
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