Thursday, January 6, 2011

At ease: Milan Spring 2011

Article by Miguel Paolo Celestial
Written for West East magazine

Milan Spring 2011 1_Dolce & Gabbana
Dolce & Gabbana

Spring 2011 marks the 20th year anniversary of Dolce & Gabbana in menswear. Quite suitably (no pun intended), the boys from the south of Italy have presented a collection that draws from their sartorial roots: on the one hand, sharply cut, classic black suits—reminiscent of what made them famous in boardrooms—and on the other, ripped and tattered jeans. Between these constant motifs, the highly successful label has explored different styles from past eras and appropriated new silhouettes, always in the pursuit of expressing the uniquely suave yet laid-back ethic of the modern Italian male.

Milan Spring 2011 2_Dolce & Gabbana
Dolce & Gabbana

For their Spring 2011 show, Dolce & Gabbana also touches on the emerging trends of the season. It has white and cream linen suits, which, together with similarly hued tank tops and drawstring pants, envision leisurely evening strolls on cobblestone and holiday romps on the Mediterranean coast.

Milan Spring 2011 3_Ermenegildo Zegna
Ermenegildo Zegna

Ermenegildo Zegna, which just celebrated 100 years in the industry, also comes out with khaki suits that with closer inspection reveal a brown-and-white micro-check pattern. While Dolce & Gabbana uses rope as belts, Zegna ties pants with leather cords.

Milan Spring 2011 4_Gianfranco Ferre
Gianfranco Ferré

Milan Spring 2011 5_Gianfranco Ferre
Gianfranco Ferré

A house known for bigger, looser shapes, Gianfranco Ferré releases its own interpretation of the spring staple, reinterpreting its famous lounge-y DBs from the 1980s in linen and silk.

Milan Spring 2011 6_Calvin Klein
Calvin Klein

Milan Spring 2011 7_Etro

Milan Spring 2011 8_Prada

Milan Spring 2011 9_Canali

Milan Spring 2011 10_Salvatore Ferragamo
Salvatore Ferragamo

Milan Spring 2011 11_Corneliani

Khaki is all over, in suits and in complete outfits, and with separates in beige, camel, and other colors from Calvin Klein, Etro, Prada, Canali, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Corneliani, among others.

Milan Spring 2011 12_Bottega Veneta
Bottega Veneta

For its own part, Bottega Veneta, while showing all-white and ivory ensembles, expounds on the trend by turning camouflage into ingenious monochromatic patchwork in khaki. The suits, which still bear the brand’s characteristic shoulder peaks, turn out into what can be called “paper bag military”. The label further exploits the army theme with all-fatigue get-ups and notable lightweight green leather jackets and vests.

Milan Spring 2011 13_Burberry Prorsum
Burberry Prorsum

Thus we come to Spring 2011’s second major trend, as best exemplified by Burberry Prorsum, which is dominated by army green in cable knit sweaters, puffers, coats, pants, trenches, and even canvas totes. Also prominent are military shirts in the color of fatigues, which are done in khaki by Pringle of Scotland.

Milan Spring 2011 14_Burberry Prorsum
Burberry Prorsum

Burberry, or the house that Christopher Bailey made hip, manages to a lead a minor biker trend. Its take on motorcycle vests and jackets— lightweight and washed, cropped or lengthened as coats—is fresh and youthful. Taking a nod from the first collection of Balmain Men, Bailey pairs the motorcycle tops, and even the mainstay trenches (with leather epaulets), with biker pants. The pairs in leather have full-on kneecaps, while those in softer fabrics have suggestive detailing.

Milan Spring 2011 15_Sheer
Bottega Veneta, Costume National, Burberry Prorsum

Milan Spring 2011 16_Sheer
Z Zegna, Versace, Neil Barrett, John Varvatos

Being spring, it is unavoidable that designers resort to seasonal basics such as sheer and knit clothing. Bottega Veneta, Costume National, and Burberry Prorsum pair translucent round-necks with blazers, with Burberry also utilizing mesh in matching polo shirts and tees with jackets and coats. For sheer and mesh pullovers and cardigans there are Iceberg, John Varvatos, Neil Barrett, Versace, and Z Zegna. Etro, known for its brave and brilliant colors and patterns, keeps it subtle and muted for Spring 2011 as it renders paisley in lace and see-through fabric.

Milan Spring 2011 17_Checks
D&G, Ermenegildo Zegna, Giorgio Armani, Moncler Gamme Bleu

As the cold dissipates, D&G, Ermenegildo Zegna, Giorgio Armani, and Moncler Gamme Bleu welcome summer with checks, gingham, and seersucker. D&G literally spreads out picnic blankets for its sunny motif that finds espadrilles, shorts, and blazers in Hawaiian print.

Milan Spring 2011 18_Jil Sander
Jil Sander

Milan Spring 2011 19_Moschino Prada
Moschino and Prada

Colors, of course, blaze bright in Milan. What, after Jil Sander broke the sunset with its show in Pitti Uomo that set psychedelic colors blocks against dusk. Raf Simons marshals pinks, blues, oranges, and greens that bleed into shirts as enormous flowers, make dizzying striped patterns, and dazzle with abstract tees that invoke Gauguin, Cezanne, and Matisse. Soon after, Prada unveils cotton-knit boat-neck sweaters that remind one of Lifesavers. In the form of comic strips, Moschino brings back the fun in prints.

Milan Spring 2011 20_Blue
Calvin Klein, Gianfranco Ferré, Roberto Cavalli

Taken separately, there are three colors that have burned the runways: blue, orange, and surprisingly, fluorescent yellow. Calvin Klein turns from its usual bionic uniforms and molds clothes to The Hulk proportions, with many pieces in sky blue. Prada uses the same hue for its retro suits with jackets cut lower and trousers more loose, while Ferré and Cavalli go more electric. On the softer side of the palette is Iceberg’s shirts and jackets.

Milan Spring 2011 21_Colors
Ermenegildo Zegna, Z Zegna, Dsquared2

Ermenegildo Zegna deftly moves from blazers in baby blue to windbreakers, scarves, and suits in burnt sienna. While Z Zegna takes on a redder orange tint, with its laceups, sweaters, and cardigans, Dsquared2 blushes vermillion with its pants, jackets, and shorts. Almost on its own, solitary impulse, Giorgio Armani shocks with highlighter-yellow footwear, belts, and leather jackets. Its only companion is Salvatore Ferragamo, which has produced electric yellow sandals.

While the main themes of this season—relaxed and stiff—seem at odds with each other, they just serve to show both sides of the firm yet vulnerable nature of the modern Italian man.

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