Italian haute couture house Valentino opened men’s fashion week in Milan on Friday, abandoning its coed format of the past three years for men front and centre on the runway.
With the maison having long chosen Paris over Milan to show its women’s and couture collections, Friday’s men’s show was a return to roots of the atelier founded by famed Roman couturier Valentino Garavani — now 91 and retired — who presented his very first men’s fashion show in Milan in 1985.
In a nod to fashion’s dependence on, and inspiration from, the younger generation, the show was held in the inner courtyard of the University of Milan, with some students even filling the rows of seats.
Pierpaolo Piccioli, Valentino’s artistic director since 2008, unveiled a collection that teamed Bermuda shorts with slim-fitting jackets and more relaxed silhouettes with loose-fitting tops and trousers paired with long coats.
Indispensable accessories for the Valentino man include the vintage 50s skinny tie, handbags in flashy colours such as yellow, red and fuchsia, and flashy earrings.
“A changed culture and a shifted society re-evaluates our notion of the masculine, and the garments that clothe it,” the brand said.
Since 2012, Valentino has been owned by Qatari investment fund Mayhoola.
– Revenue surge –
The Italian men’s fashion industry saw its revenues jump by 20.3 percent to 11.3 billion euros ($12.3 billion) last year.
Exports were the driver, gaining 24.8 percent to 8.3 billion euros, according to the fashion branch of Confindustria, Italy’s main lobby for manufacturing and service companies.
“We believe that fashion will be doing very well in 2023,” said Carlo Capasa, president of the Italian Chamber of Fashion.
Revenues have certainly been swollen by inflation.
“We thought we were in for a difficult year, but in the first quarter we recorded a 15.3 percent increase in sales,” said Capasa, who has raised the sector’s annual growth target from four to five percent.
The men’s Spring/Summer 2024 fashion week includes more than 70 events, only five of which are purely digital, breaking free from the virtual formats that were the mainstay of fashion shows during the Covid pandemic.
– Fendi in Florence –
The major labels, including Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Armani and Zegna, plan to thrill fashionistas with 22 catwalk shows in the flesh, promising spectacle, thrills and joie de vivre.
Andersson Bell, a young brand launched in Seoul in 2014 that fuses Korean street style and Scandinavian minimalism, will make its much-anticipated debut on Sunday.
It was popularised in 2019 by Jungkook, lead singer of South Korean K-pop group BTS and a fan of the brand’s sneakers.
Among the big absentees this season are Versace, Moschino, Missoni and even Fendi, which opted to show its men’s collection Thursday as part of the Pitti Uomo show in Florence, which traditionally precedes Milan Fashion Week.
The models paraded through the workshops of Fendi’s new leather goods factory in Capannuccia, south of Florence, amidst machines and craftsmen.
Linen, cotton, leather and silk were the favourite materials, with sober colours oscillating between terracotta, sage green, ecru and brown, reminiscent of the Tuscan landscape.