Calvin Klein Menswear Designer, Details EIC on Evolving Landscape of Men's Fashion

Last night Details magazine and Calvin Klein hosted an event to celebrate “The Social Media Mavericks” highlighted in Details’ March issue. We took the opportunity to chat with Calvin Klein Men’s Creative Director Italo Zucchelli and Details Editor-in-Chief Dan Peres about the current shape of the menswear market and what is motivating men to shop.

Your 10-year-anniversary as Creative Director of Calvin Klein Men’s is approaching, what does this mean to you?

Italo Zucchelli: Yes, I can’t believe it’s been ten years. It does feel like a milestone, but I still have the same enthusiasm for it as when I started and feel very blessed. It’s great to be able to work for such an amazing brand that allows me to design what I like. I’ve been able to bring my vision to a brand that I have always admired and that’s very close to my sensibility.

What’s changed in men’s fashion in the last ten years?

Italo Zucchelli: I was actually going back yesterday and looking at fashions from the 1990s. And I was like, “Oh my god" -- especially when I was looking at men’s fashion. In the last ten years, things have changed enormously. 15 years ago, you wouldn’t even call clothes for men fashion sometimes. Now, it’s very different. Men are very aware of working out, plastic surgery, beauty products.

Dan Peres: In the last ten years it’s been like a seismic shift. The idea of what masculinity is has changed so much. How men focus on what they wear and how their bodies look -- that has changed a lot.

Are you seeing a greater intersection between men’s and women’s fashion?

Italo Zucchelli: When you look at women’s collections, they are often an evolution of ideas that were seen before in men’s fashion. I think that this is because there is still a lot of room to experiment [in men's fashion], and a lot that we can still try -- more so probably than in women’s fashion. I definitely think there is a synergy and an influence.

Dan Peres: It’s an exciting time to be a man interested in fashion. Menswear designers are revolutionizing fabrications, textiles. The experience of buying a suit has changed. We have more choices than ever before, guys do. You used to get a dark suit and then you were set.

Are younger guys returning to the suit?

Dan Peres: I see a lot of younger guys returning to the suit. I just returned to the suit, not that I’m a younger guy [laughing]. I think wearing a suit is great, but I also think that breaking up a suit is something men are doing -- it’s a much more versatile element in a man’s wardrobe now.

Italo Zucchelli: What I try to do when I design is to do something familiar like a suit, but I'll use a different color or a very different fabric. I like to combine something that is familiar with something that is not familiar, in order to make something new.

How has social media impacted men’s fashion?

Italo Zucchelli: I think it has impacted everything, because you have information running around twenty-four hours a day, and you can give information, get information, share, constantly. It’s changed the way that information is circulated about fashion.

Are you on Twitter?

Italo Zucchelli: I have to admit that I’m not. But I do see all of my friends that are addicted to it. Luckily, I don’t have an addictive personality, so I don’t think that would happen to me, but I still have a resistance to it for some reason.

Dan Peres: I am on Twitter. It's hard not to be today. I can tell you a lot of guys are completely immersed in the world of technology, so that has certainly impacted their access to fashion.

What is motivating men to shop right now?

Dan Peres: First of all, let’s all be thankful that men are shopping right now. The luxury market is strong, and men are out there buying. The designers that I talk to, and my friends in this business, are forecasting great growth in menswear. Guys, more than anything else right now, want "luxe casual." They want quality stuff, but they don’t necessarily always want to feel buttoned up. So whether it’s a great pair of chinos, a great pair of shorts, that’s what they are shopping for.

Italo Zucchelli: I’m really trying to translate sportswear in a luxury way. It's all about the details. 

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