Young designers take spotlight during Milan Fashion Week
A fresh breeze buffeted Italy's fashion capital during the second day of Milan Fashion Week on Sunday, both literally, bringing relief from the June heat, and figuratively, as young designers took the spotlight.
They brought with them fresh silhouettes with new proportions and reinterpretations of old summertime favorites from linens to stripes.
Here are highlights from menswear previews Sunday in Milan for next spring and summer:
Miuccia Prada took inspiration from graphic novels for her latest collection, which aims to create a dialogue between the virtual world and the real world.
The virtual world is in an exhibit at the brand's Fondazione Prada contemporary art exhibition space. Fashion is Prada's reality.
She employed two artists — James Jean from Los Angeles and Ollie Schrauwen of Belgium — to create graphic stories on a human and not superhero scale that covered the walls of the showroom and became the prints that defined Sunday's menswear collection in Milan.
Scenes included a robot monkey and an oversized spider descending to pick up houses. Prada said she was attracted to the comics because they turn out information in bit-size pieces -- much the same way social media does today.
Nylon jumpsuits defined the Prada silhouette, belted at the waist and gathered at the ankles and cuffs with plastic Prada labels. Shirt collars were turned up. There was a shorts version worn with Prada men's knee socks and pointy leather shoes.
The silhouette was repeated in casualwear, with sweaters tucked into athletic-style trousers. Meshed sweaters of horizontal stripes tucked into houndstooth pattern trousers turned up into a thick cuff. Sandals with socks anchored those looks.
Graphic prints appeared in both pastel colors and black and white on shirts, jacket panels and bags. Prada said she added overcoats to unify the looks.
"Everything was a little naive, too simple," she said. "We thought these big heavy coats would be the right counterpart. That is just fashion."
TEXTURES AT FERRAGAMO
Guillaume Meilland's second collection for Ferragamo is inspired by the Mediterranean coastline shared by his native France and adopted Italy.
The looks are defined by texture: cable-knit fishermen's sweaters, velvety shorts, corduroy trousers and suede laser cut tops, all hearty fare for wind-swept seaside strolls. The designer also added touches of whimsy like sea horse prints and coral key chains.
"Yes I like the idea of having, for me, something very Italian, something very much linked to the idea of the holidays and the seaside," Meilland said backstage. "Textures, colors, we are trying combine soft velvet, English fabrics and heavy linens ... The fluid and something more rough."
The looks combined for an effortless silhouette that Meilland said was inspired by the 1960 French film "Purple Noon," based on the Patricia Highsmith's "Ripley" novels.
Ferragamo's footwear included penny loafers or slip on moccasins with rubber soles adorned with the trademark buckle for the city or rope accents for the seaside.
BRUTALISM AT BIKKEMBERGS
Lee Wood laid the seams bare at Dirk Bikkembergs during his second season as its creative director.
The clean collection revealed the construction details that create rhythms with their repetition, from the patchwork trousers to the intarsia knitwear.
Wood said he was inspired by the brutalism architectural movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s that stood against adornment.
"I wanted it to be brutal. I wanted it to be honest. I wanted it to be like men should be," Lee said backstage. "I don't want to see men all pretty and perfect. I think a man should be rugged."
The lines were simple, with neat T-shirts with scooped necks paired with urban patchwork trousers cut from natural fabrics. The cuffs were turned up to reveal the rough seam. Heavy boots and utilitarian sandals anchored the looks.
Suit jackets were worn with shorts that were nearly bloomers in proportion, a fob to summer, while some trousers were festooned with maxi-pockets. Tops, by contrast, were soft, like one that was a patchwork of gold, light blue and white.
While the materials were mostly natural fibers and the color palette based on hues of blue, white and slate gray, the collection closed with flashes of green and Japanese technical fabric.
YOLO FROM KOREA
Korean designer Munsoo Kwon made his Milan debut in the Armani theater with a collection that contained some measure of autobiography.
The triptych collection includes pieces based on European tailoring, Korean military wear and a series of character looks. The thread that connects them all: The YOLO phenomenon, previously, before the invention of abbreviation-loving social media, known as "You Only Live Once."
The 37-year-old Kwon expresses his whimsy with out-of-proportion cuts: Boyish striped sweaters that are part of his character series are gigantic with wide, trailing arms, dwarfing the wearer.
The military looks are elongated and soft, not your usual regimented rendering. And the tailored outfits are clean and elegant, featuring pinstripe pants with long belts worn with a pajama-inspired top and a trench coat with bell sleeves.
SCHOOL'S OUT FOR SUNNEI
The hallway of an artistic high school was the runway for the Sunnei brand by designers Loris Messina and Simone Rizzo. The occasion: The last day of school.
"For us, this is an expression of total freedom," Rizzo said of the collection.
The looks are more artsty student than beach, even if the striped button-down tops and shorts recalled beach umbrellas. Suits featured boxy jackets and athletic drawstring pants, which could be worn with a plasticized denim overcoat. Footwear included sling-back sneakers.
Oversized sweaters came with matching water bottle holders and T-shirts played on social media with a photograph of Myspace founder Tom Anderson with the slogan "Forever Tom," dating even the young designers of the three-year-old brand.
"We show our lives, our daily existence. We don't refer to the past," Rizzo said.
Dean and Dan Caten, the Canadian twins behind the DSquared2 label, have made their mark on Milan -- most recently with a neon maple leaf on the former distillery where they showed next year's warm weather looks for men and women.
The designers put a jangle in the models' walk with buckled leather straps in neat rows up the sleeves of sweaters, down the legs of trousers and leggings, and across boots.
Hawaiian floral prints were the accent of the season, with floral shirts paired busily with leopard leggings or worn over the trademark Canadian plaid. Painted florals accented leather pants and skirts, and appeared as panel overlays on denim jackets.
Womenswear featured dramatically layered long ruffle tulle skirts that were often paired with simple T-shirts. Men also can indulge in some light ruffles down the front of their tank tops.