the rest of milan thing

Am certain you've just been dying to hear the rest of the report, so.. Ferragamo was good style. Wide lapels on double breasted suiting in caramel, terracotta or vivid colour pinstripes. It was all about the accessories combined with tailoring to accent the whole thing.

Seventies Ferragamo pimps swaggered nonchalantly down the runway in a Toulouse Lautrec wide brimmed hat and scarf combos. Meanwhile the sheepskin and beret looks had something of a Beatnik Citizen Smith about them. Pimp, or activist? Your choice.

You might of course wanna be a luxerx dart player casual instead though. The vintage Prada show was hailed as massive success by those that knew. Some of the stuff I couldn’t quite grasp, the strength and the unmistakable handwriting was very evident in the art direction come fashion show. There were sort of Glam-Rock Gabicci button tops in sparkly silk blends too. Pieces were utterly amazing in their construction, like the heavy purple and black chevron tracksuit tops actually made from blended silk and viscose. Those that know, remember, don’t always show.

Taking of those that know, Lamb and I gave David Bradshaw (formerly of Prada, Arena Homme Plus and more recently GQ Style) a lift from Prada to Moncleur. He was robe shouldering away outside Prada when I approached him. Bloody hell, he knows his men’s stuff. Interestingly he gives Tom Brown, (Creative Director of Moncleur Gamme Bleu), credit for ‘changing the whole aesthetic of menswear’. A serious accolade for a bloke who peddles tight, ankle exposing flood pants as his main raison d'etre. But then again, every fucker is now wearing ankle exposing flood pants these days, so maybe…

We robe shouldered through the fog into the horse show arena situated on the edge of Milan, where it became apparent that it was as bloody freezing inside as it was out. Gamme Bleu was entertaining. Huge production values with massive horses, riders in hunting pinks, and a pack of runway boys leading Beagles round the arena in faux British hunting/ski garb. It was a pleasing spectacle, but it’s the same trick as always. Maybe it’s a good one, but it feels too familiar. There was to be more Brit flex later in Milan, but far more serious.

But not from Gucci . Gucci showed pure, unabashed Italian tailoring verve. Snake hipped, butt hugging flares, an impudent shoulder line and a divinely subtle caramel, mink and silver-grey colour palette made the whole affair double fanciable. It was more retro-luxe, working right back to Jagger and his pals circa Exile on Main Street, with the grand lapels of Sexton/Nutter in which Mick married Bianca. Rod and The Faces doing ‘I’m Losing You’ further underlined the louche Seventies ethos. Man clutch bags might well be a leap too far for chaps already struggling to the get their heads around kick flares. At least Gucci’s  tassel loafers were far easier to digest.

Come another cold night, it became apparent McQueen’s menswear legacy remains intact. The house conjures an atmosphere, and is intent on delivering a story with its show. Aristocratic surroundings and the rarefied trappings of officer class were the visual prompts for distinctly Brit-rigorous interpretations of tailoring and military outwear. Both naval and City style references were blended in an amalgam of noble looking masculinity. It was very strong, and pieces punctuated the show that were more than wearable by civilian men. People really should investigate.

OK the shows don’t tell us what to wear, but the way we look at them is a good indication of the prevailing mood.  Men’s style now (and for a while) is all about doing a tailored look, not for business, but for style's sake. Take your inspirations and references from the Seventies, take them from classic British tradition, take them from literature, anything, but don’t roll with the crud of ‘easy casual’. As for good casual, leathers and sheerlings have the rugged-agro-drama while knits are with the tactile romance. Meanwhile my advice is do smart while you’re young. Vintage and construction are so much less extraordinary on an old fucker. Trust me…

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