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Fragile, romantic masculinity rules Milan runways

Fall Winter 23 menswear collections embrace gender fluid shapes and romantic refinement

Backstage at Zegna Fall Winter 2023, Milan Fashion Week.
Backstage at Zegna Fall Winter 2023, Milan Fashion Week.

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At the recently concluded Milan Fashion Week, designers explored the idea of softer masculinity, gentle shapes and unexpected details. Alessandro Sartori at Zegna named his collection the Oasi of Cashmere - symbolic of the brand’s efforts at nature preservation and also redefining the way we perceive knitwear. Besides the luxe cashmere, the collection extrapolated recycled wool. Chore coats, tailored but construction free blazers, collarless jackets, painted leather jackets and shackets stood out thanks to a push on the tailoring techniques - imparting ease, freedom and mobility. All eyes were on Gucci after Alessandro Michele's exit and as expected, the brand took a new direction with a pared back aesthetic - heritage fabric suits, Y2K era tees, camel coats, boiler suits and embellished denims came with macro versions of Attache and Dionysus handbags. Etro peppered its offering with an artistic touch by proposing a closet of kimonos and shirt coats - devoid of a sturdy structure and inner linings and presented with round shoulders. Robes and Teddy PJs evoked instant desirability. Here are the key trends which emerged:

Skin is in!
Shirtless tailoring has been the major runway story over the last few seasons and looks like even going forward, it's perfectly okay to wear your suit without any T-shirt or shirt underneath. A case in point being Prada's single and double breasted suits, which were presented without any shirts. Instead models wore detachable collars. On the other hand, Dolce & Gabbana made a strong case for the man corset. Dolce & Gabbana showcased sheer separates embossed with their signature Sicilian Byzantine imagery and sent out models in fur coats worn with nothing underneath. JW Anderson's show opened with two models in undies followed by two boys carrying pillows. Anderson reintroduced his ruffled shorts in leather for men.

Nod to the '70s
Trust Silvia Fendi to turn the menswear codes upside down and reconfigure men's closet with her Fendi-fied vision. The show packed a punch with disco music - a throwback to Fendi's Studio 54 days. She styled the ensembles in unexpected ways conjuring trompe l'oeil effects - for instance, she layered a one-shouldered knit under a two-piece suit, which reimagined the lights on a dance floor. Fendi's evening suit embodying a glam rock cred were the other highlights. Moreover, the conversation piece this season was the Fendi baguette for men - fuzzy and furry.

Logo mania
It was seemingly evident that the logo mania in its elevated form is here to stay. At Gucci, the Crystal canvas featured in a new rectangular relaxed holdall. At Fendi, the interlocking Fs were played out on bags and long line jackets.

Tailoring makes a comeback
Relaxed tailoring was seen at Zegna, Tod's and Brunello Cucinelli. Alessandro Sartori at Zegna introduced new sack-inspired jackets featuring cropped sleeves while trousers were full. Ample fits were augmented by 3D jacquards while geometric motifs were brushed onto puffed-up outerwear. The muted palette was unexpectedly punctuated by vivid hues: serene greys meet aurora yellow while foliage brown was streaked with bacca red and wine red.

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