Milanese designers invoke joy and nostalgia in menswear

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MILAN — Denim, fringes and chunky rubber sliders. These are the elements of next year’s summer wardrobe emerging from the second day Saturday of Milan Fashion Week’s menswear previews.

Temperatures in Milan were unusually high and the fashion crowd moved from show to show with the thermometer soaring above 93°F (34°C) and expected to continue to heat up in the days to come. That makes linen an easy sell, but less so of leather and even fur which are making appearances on Milan’s Spring/Summer 2023 catwalks.

Milanese fashion houses Fendi, Emporio Armani and Dolce&Gabbana sought to invoke joy with collections that heralded a return to leisure and hints of nostalgia. Highlights from Saturday’s shows:

Versace reaches out to the next generation, reimagining the brand’s iconic Medusa in animated versions that seem to come to life as repeated patterns on silks. Call it baroque pop.

Donatella Versace returned to menswear with a fun and inventive collection, full of color and verve, presented in the courtyard of the fashion house’s central headquarters in Milan. Mirrored pillars came to life, projecting images of classical statuary.

In keeping with the younger generation’s interest in the planet, Versace replaced exotic skins with neon-accented python prints, appearing like trench coats or pants, grounded by oversized striped accent pieces. Leather appearances designed in eco-sustainable latex were well ventilated with a repeating diamond pattern.

Bright salmon, lemon yellow and orange gave sparkle to exaggerated silhouettes that included silk shirts emblazoned with the cheerful next-gen Versace classic bust icons.

The new Versace man mixes design media, keeping the treasured possessions of the Versace Home collection close by: carrying a treasured urn, swinging a cup of tea from his belt, carrying a bent spoon as a bracelet.

Bringing home the target audience, the runway featured the sons of classic Versace models like Mark Vanderloo, Helena Christensen and Carla Bruni.


Marcelo Burlon celebrated the 10th anniversary of his county Milan label with an inclusive outdoor parade on the track of an athletics stadium.

The location tied into the brand’s streetwear roots, opening with a graphic peace sign on an oversized sweatshirt and quickly switching moods to a pastel patchwork jacket and cinched-waist trouser combo for him or her.

Burlon says he likes to call his collection “adult urban must-haves.”

Burlon’s models spanned a wider age range than usual, from a young girl in a dark suit with signature feather pattern detailing, to a gray-haired male model in a tunic and slacks in matching and contrasting shiny patchwork topped with a suit jacket.

“I’ve always considered myself a cultural wanderer, with a growing network of creative and cool people, and that includes people of all ages and backgrounds,” Burlon said. “I guess you could say my target is a contemporary melting pot.”

Italian Olympic gold medalist sprinter, Olympian Marcell Jacobs took part in the show wearing a blue work overall. At the end of the show, the lap of honor goes to Burlon.

Silvia Venturini Fendi created earthy, grounded looks for an earth-conscious generation in shades ranging from soothing chambray to warm ochres, merging in a new pattern created from images of swirling weather patterns of planet Earth.

The collection carried a certain nostalgia for more innocent times, from frayed hems on jeans to soft stitching on denim bags, embroidery accents reminiscent of beaded daisy chains and long lush tassels on loafers. Bucket hats are cutout for a visor feel, while knit cloches sport visors. The chunky rubber slip-on shoes featured the inverted double F logo.

For an easy daytime look, denim trousers were worn with knits in matching tones, accompanied by faded denim Fendi bags with a long fringed shoulder strap. For the beach, there were short linen shorts with soft zip-up jackets and sturdy-soled slip-on loafers. At the dressier end, roomy bermuda shorts in cream paired with a camel jacket and ocher back zipper, with the bucket hat cut out.

Earth’s swirling patterns appeared on jacquard coats and intarsia knits and furs, as well as a pair of baggy jumpsuits. Bags included duffel-bucket combo shaped by the word FENDI cut out of leather; a denim Peekaboo incorporated as an external bottle holder and shiny shoppers were made from recycled plastic.

“It’s about a balance between decoration and simplicity,” Venturini Fendi said in the show’s notes. “A feeling of ageless freedom to play, as we rediscover the luxury of free time.”


Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have delved into their archives for a new collection dubbed “Re-edition” which draws inspiration from the past, but is updated for now.

As if to clean the slate clean, the designers opened the show with a barefoot model in a white tank top and briefs.

Dolce&Gabbana mixed distressed elements with tailored pieces for high-low fashion appeal. The fashion house’s traditional lace tops have been updated with a grungy distressed back, giving the otherwise dressier piece some streetwear credibility. Frayed jeans were worn with a black jacket and a white shirt unbuttoned at the waist – as with the entire Re-edition collection, each piece was tagged stating the original issue year and updated to the 2023 season, for a dose once in a while.

Patchwork denim became a standout piece, with high boots that looked like they were made from denim jackets paired with patchwork shorts, leaving only a glimpse of the leg in between. A soft white terry tracksuit gave way to familiar Dolce & Gabbana bling: a crystal-covered rose-patterned jacket worn with ripped white jeans and velvet rhinestone-covered slippers. Footwear included fur slippers, canvas or macrame sneakers with rope laces.

“I love the freedom of expression they have,” said stylist Apuje Kalu, who watched the show front row alongside NFL quarterback Tyrod Taylor and NBA players Rudy Gay. Jaren Jackson Jr. and Corey Kispert. “That use of color and texture and print, they’re not afraid to do that for men. You don’t always see that.


The Emporio Armani collection carried the carefree breath of summer, from light chambray tones to faded coral prints. The meaning of the looks was that it was time to return to simple pleasures.

Soft shirts, vests and jackets, with dramatic flaps, high collars or zipper accents, were paired with streamlined cargo shorts or pleated pants, often with informal leg slits.

More beachy looks, including drawstring pants and sheer knits, were finished with chunky rubber slip-ons, while more sophisticated urban looks – including a series of black and white jumpsuits – were grounded in black shoes with thick soles.

Models of all colors wore hair in cornrows, which the show notes were “ironically over the top” and perhaps meant to encapsulate the collection’s theme of a woven summer basket described by the house. of couture as “full of surprises that brings the holiday spirit to the city.”

As if to underline the need for joy, a reggae dancer took center stage to close the show.


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