MILAN FASHION WEEK FALL WINTER 2023/24: EMPORIO ARMANI, DOLCE & GABBANA, PRADA, FENDI, ETRO, GUCCI, DSQUARED2
Eighties Theatrics, Glam Grunge,
Aviator Antics and a Touch of Kitsch are the New Classics.
All Image and Video Credit: Milan Fashion Week and Youtube
Milan Men’s Fashion Week Fall 2023/4 had just a few (wink wink) extraordinary and lighthearted tricks up its sleeve – that’s of course over and above the uber-classic collections that are a given at this somewhat serious bi-annual men’s heavyweight event.
From capes and drapes and New Romantics glam at Fendi and Dolce & Gabbana to grunge at Gucci and Dsquared2, the shows produced offerings that were as theatrical as they were wearable – albeit pushing the boundaries of traditional menswear. We saw corsets, floor-sweeping coats, eighties puffer jackets, leg warmers, belted coats, sailor’s beanies, co-ords, ripped jeans, ‘double’ trousers, plaid, fake fur, metallics and rhinestones. Oh, and the all-time favourite cowboy boot saw a revival – and so did the trend for total transparency and uber-voluminous trousers. And the royal colour purple had a definite cameo moment amongst all the black. We didn’t spot many skirts this time around but Prada more than made up for it in its mini tunics!
But let’s waste no time, let’s dig in and take a look-see at what happened at the shows.
Watch Emporio Armani’s runway show here:
Armani’s men descended on the runway anchored in chunky boots and topped in aviator caps and goggle sunspecs, setting the scene for a fashion take-off and landing of epic proportions: classic fur-collared coats, overall-style jumpsuits, culottes, plaid trousers tucked into heavy boots and belted coats more than hinted at an epic flight journey. And in between (mid-air) we saw some Armani classics, with models all jazzed up for a comfortable and highly fashionable flight: aviator-style coats, padded bomber jackets with sculpted round shoulders, furry eternity scarves draped casually around models’ necks (a pampering long-haul flight classic), striking cashmere knits, shiny oxblood leather pieces and some very preppy & dandy ensembles too. Then came colour: shocking pink V-neck knits and royal purple coats, slacks and co-ords (the notion of always wearing your ‘best’ colour when flying springs to mind – and who doesn’t suit shocking pink or royal purple?). The maestro ended this rather masculine and predictably classic collection with ever-fashionable black: military jackets with double rows of buttons, glamorous tuxedos (who wouldn’t want to disembark looking dashing?) and a host of shimmery trousers and jackets – just in case one needs to walk straight off the plane and into a Milanese rooftop party!
DOLCE & GABBANA
Watch Dolce & Gabbana’s runway show here:
In a collection aptly called Essenza, Dolce and Gabbana were intent on stripping fashion to the bone. The result? A collection of exquisitely tailored, predominantly black – with a few grey and white exceptions thrown in for good measure – that oozes simplicity and luxe, glamorous, no-fuss elegance. This collection is as timeless as they come: striking pieces – like the floor-sweeping black cape, the heavy coat worn over a naked torso, the few corset-like pieces (some with a distinct vintage girdle feel to them), transparent fishnet tops with elongated sleeves, furry bombers worn over bare skin … these are statement ensembles of the first order. There was a definite nostalgic feel to many of the pieces (especially due to the hand-crafted construction of these), but at the same time they spoke of clean, forward-looking contemporary design. This is a collection that celebrates bare skin, sensuality, the idea of luxe fabrics and of super sculpted pieces caressing nude skin. It’s classic D&G – sexy, luxurious, glamorous and exactly what we’ve come to know and love over the decades.
Watch Prada’s runway show here:
This collection entitled “Let’s Talk about Clothes” is an extension of the route Prada (under co-directorship of Raf Simon) has been taking over the past few seasons: things are getting more and more minimalist and simplistic. Single-breasted, slim-fitting coats in charcoal worn over shirts with seventies collars in bright pops of colour opened the show. Little signature statement Prada bags were casually draped around models’ necks. Evergreen classics – duffel coats, parkas, donkey jackets and voluminous padded bomber jackets – followed suit. Trousers were super slim-fitting and close-cut and came in bright red and emerald green. Standout pieces were the three-quarter length coats with bright futuristic inserts on the arms. The man-tunic was probably one of the key items this collection will be remembered for – elegant, practical and why not? – if women can wear them …
Watch Fendi’s runway show here:
The key takeaway from this collection has to be the quirky and playful trend for asymmetrical, one-shoulder tops, traditionally reserved for sexy women’s fashion. A palette of jewel-like shades of lavender purple, grey and charcoal shimmered and sparkled. Cashmere knits, shirts, the hems of coats and jacket collars were beautifully embellished with rhinestones and sparkly sequins to give a distinct seventies feel to the collection. A standout piece was the grey asymmetrical draped coat-cape in charcoal; other fabulous touches were to be seen in the fringing, fraying and felting – all very tactile and delicious. A bold logo-ed Fendi scarf and matching sweater also looked exceedingly luxe and covetable.
Watch Gucci’s runway show here:
We’ve become used to Gucci presenting an eclectic set of ensembles within the parameters of vintage, grunge (or rather glunge) and glam rock over the past few seasons but this Fall/Winter collection was a tad allover the place … indeed, as per the show notes, a “reflection of the individualities represented by the multifaceted creatives and craftsmen who inhabit the house of Gucci.” And the collection was exactly that – as if everybody at Gucci tried their hand at designing! Pastel sportswear, ultra-voluminous trousers, oversized eighties blazers, padded metallic bomber jackets, hand knits with cut-outs, maxi skirts, legwarmers, colourful eighties boots, onesies, co-ords, stripes and layering all vied for position, but just as the collection in its totality was rather unconvincing and lacking a clear identity, the individual pieces – albeit more ‘wearable’ than some in previous collections,
– felt more than a little underwhelming. This may well be what happens during a period of transition, as Gucci finds itself in at the minute. Here’s to a new chapter at Gucci.
Watch Etro’s runway show here:
Embellishments, applique, jacquard knits and all things tactile and crafty were the backbone – as usual – to this Fall 2023 Etro collection. The legacy of this brand has always been its eclectic take on cultures and their respective textile wealth, and this collection was no exception. Autumnal shades – mostly green, olive, sage, chartreuse, mid-brown and orange (with the occasional pop of bright purple), played out on the stage. Textured and tactile, we saw leather, teddy bear fabrics, plaid, tartan and jacquard stand their ground next to pinstripes and woolens. As ever, the beauty of this collection was in its heady mix of all things crafty, not least the stunning embroidery and applique on leather coats, shirts and co-ord teddy coat ensembles. A standout piece was the onesie striped ‘pyjama’ suit – a preppy Hogwarts midnight feast inevitably springs to mind!
Watch Dsquared2’s runway show here:
A co-ed collection that celebrated teenage style in every guise imaginable emanated from a runway that resembled the stereotypical messy dorm room of teenagers all over the world. Eclectic ensembles of every possible combination and permutation that can possibly be retrieved from your and your dorm room buddies’ unkempt wardrobes made it to the runway: masses of the student staple, denim – ripped, destroyed, dyed, appliqued and bleached, also fringed plaid jackets, sporty logo-ed everything, double-layered trousers, baseball caps, lace panties, oversized fur collars, fur hoodies & cuffs, teddy bear bomber jackets, glamorous rhinestone-encrusted gauzy dresses over sportswear and cowboy leather jockstraps. It was all there – just what you’d grab from your buddy’s/girlfriend’s/boyfriend’s closet for a wild night out.