This week marks the arrival of the Milan Men’s Fashion Week Fall-Winter 2024, promising a glimpse into how men will dress in the upcoming season – from richly sartorial to boldly experimental. On the first day, all eyes were on Sabato De Sarno – Gucci’s creative director, presenting his first menswear collection infused with effortless sensuality. Stone Island, the cult Italian brand founded in 1982, also made its runway debut.
Elsewhere, JW Anderson returns to Milan with a menswear collection undoubtedly punctuated with unexpected elements – teasing parrot-shaped clutches on Instagram. Prada aims to follow up on its viral drool-filled runway with another equally captivating show. Shows and collections from Dolce & Gabbana, Emporio Armani, Giorgio Armani, Tod’s, MSGM, and Zegna (among others) complete the lineup, with Zegna closing the week on January 15, 2024.
In our ongoing roundup, we review the highlights of the Milan Men’s Fashion Week Fall-Winter 2024 – in real-time.
Leading up to Prada’s latest runway show, resembling an oversized book, the invitation featured a silk tie encircling an image of a forest. This symbolic interplay echoes throughout their new collection, highlighting the contrast between man and nature, office life, and the forest floor.Guests navigated a surreal office space before entering the main runway area, where a plexiglass floor hovered above a landscape of grass, leaves, and running water, creating a surreal effect. Designed with Rotterdam-based AMO, this captured the collection’s underlying theme – the interplay between the office and nature.
The duo seamlessly incorporated Prada’s touch into corporate uniforms, often revisited during their joint tenure. The collection also featured outdoor-inspired elements, from oversized sailor coats to plays on topcoats and tweed trenches, creating a dynamic and tension-filled range.As the environment evolves, Miuccia Prada pondered the significance of seasons, referencing Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” and its transformative impact. The collection, according to Prada, aims for a renewal effect similar to the change of seasons.
“It was made to go out,” explained Miuccia Prada backstage, expressing a desire for a more tangible connection with reality and human nature amid the fast pace of contemporary life.
As the series approached, Jonathan Anderson had released still images from Stanley Kubrick’s 1999 film Eyes Wide Shut, the director’s final work. Its erotic charge fueled the latest men’s clothing collection from the designer, especially the paintings by Christiane Kubrick – the director’s wife – featured in the film’s interiors (prompting much discussion about their potential meanings and secret codes). Several of these works were incorporated into the collection itself, adorning elongated knit dresses or printed on handbags, a project undertaken with the artist’s collaboration. “I found it interesting to foreground something that ultimately doesn’t want to be there,” he said. This imparts an underlying strangeness to the collection, echoing the film’s atmosphere; here, the models were largely undressed from the waist up, wearing only sheer stockings, while shorts and cardigans showcased bulges of rolled satin emerging from beneath. Poinsettia decorations adorned several looks (Anderson admitted to a kind of disgust towards the Christmas plant), while women’s clothing elegantly wrapped around the body in shades of red and black. It was a compelling and intriguing offering from the designer: “Everything is off,” reads the collection’s notes.
As the lights illuminated the Tadao Ando-designed Armani/Teatro, a massive lighthouse was revealed, its rotating lamp drifting above the gathered crowd. Giorgio Armani, presenting the Emporio Armani mixed collection this season, drew inspiration from the “tempestuous” winter sea. The collection exuded an adventurous ambiance, paying homage to “sailors, deckhands, engineers, and officers” navigating the high seas even in the most treacherous moments. Nautical features were omnipresent, from sailor hats and shirts to galosh-style gloves and boots, along with navy blue overcoats with broad shoulders. A more subdued take on “portside elegance” provided Mr. Armani the opportunity to indulge in the louche glamour he is known for, culminating in a series of capes and suits richly adorned with jewels or embroidery. The “decorative flavor” of these pieces, Mr. Armani explained, draws inspiration from the layers of inlays found on the undersides of ships, transformed here in a striking style.
Neil Barrett continued his welcome return to Milan Fashion Week – his first runway show since June – with a collection showcasing the British designer’s adeptness for distinctly defined minimalism. Drawing inspiration from heritage clothing, especially military uniforms, Barrett eliminates the superfluous to create a precise and comprehensive men’s wardrobe (titled “Heritage Innovation” this time). For Fall-Winter 2024, he took inspiration from traditional British outerwear and Harris tweeds (calling his version “techno tweed”) with streamlined single-breasted overcoats in khaki, camel, and beige tones, as well as leather gloves with strap closures and riding boots. He once again turned to what he calls “modern men’s fashion uniforms,” “remixed, redesigned, [and] rethought” by the designer, such as a particularly desirable camel overcoat with military-style epaulettes and folded pockets. A streamlined version of the flight jacket, it encapsulates the fusion of heritage and modernism at the heart of the collection.
Dolce & Gabbana
Dolce & Gabbana continues its spirit of reduction, evident within the Italian house in recent seasons, with designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana expressing a desire to return to the essence of the brand they founded in 1985. For menswear, this means a fusion of sartorial prowess (their men’s suits have long been a highlight of their collections) with the overflowing sensuality the brand is known for. Titled “Sleek,” they dubbed this collection a “story of elegance and craftsmanship… a sartorial essay” largely presented in the house’s iconic black. A nocturnal ambiance was created with diaphanous and alluring silk shirts – some high-necked and cinched at the waist with a smoking belt, others featuring lavallière ties at the neckline – while the tuxedo was reimagined in short or sleeveless variations (its elegant line also inspired a series of elegantly cut overcoats).
In the midst of Massimo Giorgetti’s latest men’s fashion show – which took place on the underground platform of Porta Venezia metro station – a model walked the runway clutching an unexpected accessory: a piece of one of the distinctive curved handrails of the metro system. A lasting symbol of mid-century Milanese design, it was created in 1964 by Franco Albini, the architect behind the city’s first M1 metro line, inaugurated the same year (Giorgetti is a passionate design enthusiast and collaborated with Albini’s eponymous foundation on the project). The object’s distinctive curve became a motif in the collection (adorning an overcoat on the opening look) while representing the line that the M1 route traces across the city. The designer stated that he chose the metro to explore the “hectic” pace of modern life, observing models marching at high speed on the runway, smartphones in hand. The clothing itself displayed the colorful eclecticism for which MSGM is renowned – padded hoodies and matching pants, plush slippers, tinsel knits – with prints featuring photographs taken with the Google Pixel phone of the Italian metro (the partnership with Google will continue later in the year at Salone del Mobile).
Stone Island’s inaugural runway show was not a typical runway show; instead, as attendees streamed into the vast industrial space, models were already present, clamped in rows onto an enormous scaffolding structure. The effect resembled their distinct advertising campaigns – where models stand facing the camera against a stark white background – though here, they were framed by the scaffold’s metal joists and glimpsed through a veil of dry ice.
The show itself, accompanied by a seat-vibrating techno soundtrack (the Italian outerwear brand has long been embraced by subcultures, from Milanese Paninari to British ravers), featured a light show of sorts. Glitching, flashing lights illuminated the rows of models wearing the brand’s A/W 2024 collection. The grand finale was a black curtain dropping from the ceiling to conceal the models, projected with Stone Island’s compass logo – one of street fashion’s most enduring symbols.
If the curtain went down prematurely – as revealed after the show – it did little to diminish the spectacle, capturing the label’s underground spirit, revealing a range of tech-infused streetwear pieces (notably, jackets and joggers with a liquid, almost holographic shine), while appealing to a new market that the brand hopes to reach through social media impressions from the evening. Earlier in the day, Stone Island unveiled a S/S 2024 campaign featuring a well-known roster of faces, from actor Jason Statham and choreographer Wayne McGregor to musician Dave and rising British tennis player Henry Searle. As I drove through Milan to the show, it was already on bus stops and billboards.
Sabato De Sarno continued to refine his vision for Gucci with his debut menswear collection for the house, held in a former factory space on the northern outskirts of Milan. It was a collection infused with the easy, carefree sensuality that defined his first womenswear collection shown this past September. There, he looked towards the multiplicity of the street for a collection that straddled pragmatism and glamour; pieces ranged from luxurious takes on hoodies, tank tops, and denim to crystal babydoll dresses and outerwear adorned with trails of glimmering tassels.
Here, languid tailoring, floor-skimming overcoats, and Gucci-adorned bomber jackets (along with a return of the grey hoodie) met elongated silk ties, crystal embellishments, and new versions of the chunky Marina Chain necklace, which had originally appeared in the womenswear collection. De Sarno called it a “mirroring effect”: from the casting (entirely new faces) to the press notes (a declaration that the collection was an attempt to capture “the joy of life”) and the soundtrack (Mark Ronson’s remix of Ancora Ancora Ancora by Mina), he noted a desire to replicate “the emotions that were felt, this time through the perspective of menswear.”
It asserted his cohesive, wide-ranging vision for the house, one that will undoubtedly prove particularly appealing to shoppers. However, the collection also heralds a departure from the unrestrained maximalism of his predecessor Alessandro Michele, with De Sarno confidently stripping away the extraneous towards a more discreet elegance, nonetheless infused with moments of “joy, passion, and humanity” that the designer has emphasized as the pillars of his renovation of the Italian powerhouse.