The menswear Fall 2013 shows are under way in Milan as we speak, having started last week in London. In recent years menswear has become increasingly important to major fashion houses, which means we are seeing a lot more interesting, inventive looks on the runways. So far this season I have noticed two contradictory trends on the runways: a focus on classic menswear tailoring juxtaposed with some modern casualness, and on the opposite end of the spectrum, dramatic gender-bending looks inspired by womenswear from past seasons.
Fendi's Iceland inspired collection successfully embraced both these trends at once, starting the show with some beautifully constructed, conventionally masculine coats, and partially plaid shirts and ties.
As the show went on, designer Silvia Venturini Fendi introduced some scene stealing fur coats paired with and boots paired with leather skinny pants.
While I appreciate the theatricality of these looks, I can't help feeling they were a little too Lindsay Lohan circa 2007.
The late Alexander McQueen could always be counted on to mess with people's heads (in the best way possible), and Sarah Burton carried on this legacy with the label's presentation. The show started with models wearing classic pinstriped suits with shiny plastic masks that made them look like some sort of creepy mannequin bank robbers.
As the show went on the masks were dropped and more drama was incorporated into the clothes themselves, like these stunning black and red coats:
At one point, though, the collection took an unfortunate turn into Hugh Hefner territory with long, wide-lapeled blazers over silk bathrobes.
J.W. Anderson embraced the womenswear as menswear trend wholeheartedly, with, err, questionable results. While I'm all for pushing the envelope and challenging conventions, there can sometimes be a fine line between avant garde fashion and Zoolanderesque parody (I in no way mean to endorse the movie Zoolander). For example, the ruffled skorts (!?) that appeared throughout the show would have looked silly even in womenswear, and on men they looked just idiotic.
Same goes for the cheap looking hospital gown.
Italo Zuchelli of Calvin Klein, not surprisingly, stuck to sleek tailoring and minimalism, showing some great leather and wool jackets, and some quilted vests.
My only issue was this burgundy/eggplant color that kept showing up. I felt like it could have been kinda cool in small doses, but when incorporated into entire outfits it was a little much.
All in all this feels like a pretty big moment for menswear. The fall collections can often feel like sort of an afterthought as designers are busy preparing the very important womenswear shows in February. It seems that more designers starting to just focus as much attention on the male customer, and putting out increasingly daring and imaginative collections. Of course more risk taking inevitably leads to more missteps, but I prefer that to just a shit-ton of identical suits and ties.
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