Dubbed as one of the ‘Big Four’ fashion capitals of the world, alongside New York, Paris and London, Milan is home to an array of leading fashion houses, including Prada, Versace and Fendi – just to name a few. Semi-annually, these designers congregate to display their latest collections to buyers and the media in unforgettable runway shows. Over a period of three days, between June 17-19, Milan Men’s Fashion Week debuted the hottest fashion trends for Spring/Summer 2018. Unlike previous years, many designers, including Gucci and Bottega Veneta, opted to showcase their menswear collections alongside womenswear, while brands such as Missoni and Etro exhibited their SS18 collections in presentations. Despite these differences, Milan Men’s Fashion Week was focused around one central theme: the rise of the Millennials. Having grown up in the digital age, the every day lives of Millennials are permeated by the internet and social media. As a result, they are highly influential in the fashion world, serving to both give rise to and create new fashion trends. Taking this into account, a number of designers invited young celebrities and style-setters to attend their shows, or on some occasions, to walk on their runways. While Liam Payne of One Direction was spotted on the front row of Armani’s catwalk, actor Tommy Dorfman reportedly attended Fendi’s event, as well as Made In Chelsea’s former star Spencer Matthews who walked in Dolce & Gabbana’s secret runway show. Let’s take a look at some of the collections that these personalities were lucky enough to witness first-hand.
Muccia Prada’s show has long been one of the most highly anticipated events on the Milan calendar due to her ability to divert away from traditional Italian tailoring. This year was no exception – Prada’s collection was one of their most playful to date, featuring hues of red, cobalt and yellow. In an aim to explore the gap between ‘virtual reality and reality’, Prada’s models sported ‘hand-made’ pieces, adorned in comic book prints – a visual representation of the real meeting the unreal. In alliance with Prada’s ‘pre-fall’ show, the SS18 collection featured a number of sportswear-inspired pieces, including nylon shorts with elasticated waists and high-top sneakers. Nevertheless, Prada’s staple items, such as tailored suits, wool overcoats and cashmere cardigans continued to make an appearance. Overall, Prada accomplished what she does best, by combining seemingly mismatched items in a unique, elegant way.
Although Prada arguably stole the show, Versace were clear competitors. In commemoration of Gianni Versace’s death, Donatella Versace held her SS18 show at Via Gesu – the mansion where the brand was first established in the 1980s. Describing her collection as ‘a homecoming’, Versace aimed to bring back the flair and vitality of the early Gianni years, yet this time through the Millennial lens. Featuring patterned silk shirts, pinstriped overcoats and wide-leg denim trousers, Versace’s collection brought a new meaning to ‘vintage’. Nevertheless, we can’t help but question the lack of quintessential Eighties tailoring, celebrated for it’s distinctive structure and impeccable quality. Alongside Versace’s men’s collection featured a capsule of women’s wear, designed specifically to complement the men’s wear. Likewise, the women’s collection compromised of bold prints and swirling patterns. As a whole, Versace’s ‘homecoming’ was an inspiring collaboration of past, present – and future.
Following the excitement around Prada and Versace on the first two days of Milan Men’s Fashion Week, Silvia Venturini Fendi became a huge talking point of the final day. In celebration of corporate escapism, Fendi’s SS18 collection offered a contemporary, revitalised approach to men’s business wear. Inspired by 1950s classics, Fendi’s runway was scattered with sling-back loafers, loosely knotted silk ties and patterned suspenders. Among this, however, featured a number of sportswear pieces, including retro bomber jackets and lightweight polo shirts. Most notably, the entire range was centred around pastel tones and detailed with prints of everyday objects, such as teacups, bananas and desk lamps. For Fendi, these seemingly mundane objects are the ‘fundamental certainties on which to build a future’. Without doubt, Fendi has succeeded in reviving men’s work wear, encouraging us to ditch our suits for streetwear.