Designers Played It Safe in Milan, But They Shouldn't Have

Gianfranco Ferré, Fall 2009

Guy Trebay of the New York Times did not have a good time at Men's Fashion Week in Milan. He laments in one of the most enjoyable fashion reviews we've read in months:

What with all the economic Cassandras making prophecies that the retail sector will be a disaster well into the third quarter, designers reacted by staging a mass memorial for themselves, one show picking up the somber thread from the last until the dark-clad toughies at Costume National blended into the black-coated union laborers invoked at Christopher Bailey’s low key presentation at Burberry.

He didn't like the massive funnel collars at Gianfranco Ferré, nor the “arresting shapes” at Raf Simons ("as animate as a chair back"). The leather dusters at Prada "seemed like just the thing to wear to a Matrix funeral." He found Gucci's cropped jackets in crocodile and astrakhan "grotesque."

The common problem in all these collections is the absence of innovation. Designers played it safe because they're afraid of not selling. Understandable. But retailers, who have lost their banker customers and face a terribly grim market until the third quarter, seek now, more than ever, ways to lure men back into stores. "We’re in the fashion business here. People want something they don’t have. They don’t want to see basics,” Tom Kalenderian, men’s fashion director of Barneys New York, told Trebay. Besides, we're in a time where products like mantyhose, mirdles, manskirts, and man makeup are proliferating. Men are ready for change. At least they can always keep their outfits interesting with these.

Milan, Why So Gloomy? [NYT]

Read more posts by Amy Odell

Filed Under: fall 2009, gianfranco ferre, gucci, guy trebay, menswear, milan mens fashion week, prada, raf simons

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