Now taking the current global situation in its stride, Milan voiced its will to live again and presented its men’s collections with flair, unrolling a (mostly digital) schedule full of creative inventivity. Designers offered an upbeat commentary on the status quo, but above all introduced an oneiric approach. The city’s verve transported us into fictional dimensions, luring us into desires, dreams and hopefulness. Schön! brings you the low-down of the best shows of Milan’s menswear for the SS22 season, with the names capturing the savoir-faire and excellence of Italy’s design scene.
This season, Vincenzo Palazzo, the designer behind Vìen looked to the origins of raving and its roots in Manchester’s rave scene of the 1980s, with its iconic baggy style. Tony Wilson of Factory Records founded The Haçienda in 1982, which ushered in a new era of rave culture, and would change the music scene of the U.K.: “It was such a revolution, all these bands like Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses started there. This movement, if you like, was called baggy or ‘Madchester’. During the last lockdown, during winter, me and my partner would put the music on really loud in my flat and dance to all these tracks. Raves were gigs at the time – people played for hours and hours.” The collection took inspiration from the iconic looks that made history, shot in the Magazzini Generali in Milan. “I want to support the music industry, after this year of COVID. Music has always been central to what I do. I run a club, I’ve been working in music for 8 years. My work intends to give a voice to the music scene.” Salvaged Japanese denim makes an appearance in SS22 for the first time, with a streetwear approach but perfectly blended with innately brilliant tailoring techniques. “Every item works like a fusion; even the cargo trousers are taken from a man’s tailoring pattern from the 1950s. I always try to fuse these two worlds together.”
All of Vìen’s collections are produced in Palazzo’s region of Puglia, where he works with local manufacturers and ateliers. “Back in the days, my area was really famous for handcrafted materials. We are really famous for brides-wear, for outerwear. Now, it’s like we are one — a family, and the way we work together reflects that.” His conscious choice to work with local craftsmanship is reflected in the acute attention to materials, finishes and cuts, something which has become a signature for the design house. With boxy shapes, oversized volumes and delectable materials — without forgetting to mention the iconic raver accessory, the bucket hat — the collection is a prize gem of Apulian design and production — one we’re particularly cooing over this season.
Hailing from the Adriatic coast, Federico Cina presented a melancholic collection inspired by the nostalgia of summers gone by. Taking his queue from photographer Luigi Tazzari, poetry-filled images of summers gone by collided with a hands-on approach to the garments, with hand-knitted pieces reviving memories of summer nights on the beach. Loose-knit vests and cut-off jackets brought an oversized quality to the looks.
Sunnei opted for a “Reality Experience” to present its SS22 collection, using digital means to translate a tactile appreciation of its designs. Designers and founders Simone Rizzo and Loris Messina had their designs sported by a series of avatars for the show, in signature volumes cut in boxy, geometric shapes: a step into the future, while maintaining a firm anchoring in the practical excellence of their designs, with a DIY add-on where buyers can customise designs. The whole experience is accessible in the Palazzina Sunnei until the 27th of June.
Massimo Giorgetti broke out of the lockdown barriers with an MSGM collection that screamed colours, joy, fun, sun. Filming in Maremma, the MSGM pieces were right at home against the Mediterranean backdrop, with surfer motifs, tie-dye looks and splashes of acid colours infusing the collection with summery vitality — enough to prompt anyone to break free from the cobwebs of a year in lockdown and to kick-start their way back into living life to the fullest.
One of the key reveals of this season was the new chapter in the history of denim powerhouse that is Diesel, which presented its first collection designed by Y/Project creative director Glenn Martens. Freeing the pieces from gender, Martens’ signature oversized jackets fused fantastically with an innovative experimentation with denim, exploiting the full versatility of the material. Futuristic, experimental, daring and sleek, the new collection has our full attention. We’re curious to see more.
In an installation hosted by TOOLs, the innovative platform DADSIT — the home for young designers that has charmed both the fashion and the music industries – showcased the best new talents of the Made in Italy stamp. And their designs caught our attention. Founded by Giorgio Lorusso, Giacomo Nasi and Nicola Del Cioppo, all graduates of Polimoda in Florence, the platform offers media, PR and showroom support to designers starting out in the industry: ”What we do is a 360° support circle, starting from the development of the collection from pattern making, going through the changes to the final samples; we help them also in the fabrics and material research and small quantities production, that’s the big issue for small and growing realities.” The pieces of designers Andrea Alchieri, Ginevra Allegri, Alice Baggio, Giacomo Nasi, Manuel Calabrese, Lucia Garofalo, Emma Gini, Andrea Grossi, Giorgio Lorusso and Francesca Palma will be available on the platform, making waves with a new direct, design-led approach to sales in the fashion world. “Our goal is to help them in all the needs we can satisfy working with artisans and professional in the fashion system, from development to networking to production, we’re here for them,” Giorgio Lorusso tells us. “The e-commerce platform, that we’re launching on September, will give them the power to be on stage, and to dress those people who care more about young and innovative designers instead of already established brands.” For those too impatient to wait, the pop up will remain open in Milan until July 10th.
Dima Leu presented his “Andante” collection, based on an idea of slowing down the rat race of contemporary working dynamics – a starting point taken from the emotional state of the Moldavian designer himself. Clean-cut geometric pieces are combined with layering various lengths of trousers, oscillating between big volumes and carefully tailored pieces. Working with iconic fabric manufacturer Marzotto, Dima Leu rifled through the house’s archive to recycle and reuse past samples, introducing an ever so important sustainable side to the collections — a step toward a better future that we can all embrace.
words. Patrick Clark