Milan menswear designers focus on Millennials, social media

Milan menswear designers focus on Millennials, social media

A model presents a creation for fashion house Salvatore Ferragamo during the Men’s Spring/Summer 2018 fashion show in Milan, Italy on Monday. - AFP
A model presents a creation for fashion house Salvatore Ferragamo during the Men’s Spring/Summer 2018 fashion show in Milan, Italy on Monday. - AFP

MILAN – Designers are resizing Milan Fashion Week for menswear, condensing previews for next spring and summer into just over three days.

While New York and London’s commitment to menswear has waned, Milan remains true to the segment that fuels Italian exports. Of the $10 billion in menswear revenues last year, 64 percent were cashed in abroad – a higher percentage than womenswear at 61 percent of $14.5 billion.

Just the format is changing. More designers are showing menswear alongside womenswear, with many like Gucci and Bottega Veneta waiting for the September round. And a number of fashion houses, including Missoni and Etro, have opted for presentations, while yet others are in a creative transition.

Singer Shawn Mendes took a turn on the Emporio Armani runway, showing off the brand’s new smart watch line dubbed “Connected.”

Designers see their future in Millennials, a generation that has unprecedented power to influence and be influenced, thanks to ubiquitous social media. They migrate seamlessly from platform to platform, even from brand to brand.

Mendes appeared in a video promoting the watch at the end of the show, and then appeared in life to show it off and take in the fashion crowd as much as it did him. The touchscreen watch is both Android and Apple compatible.

Armani described Mendes as “a singer of true talent who touches the hearts of his fans.”

“Shawn embodies and conveys the values in which I believe: Professionalism, commitment and innovation,” the designer said in a note.

Giorgio Armani’s latest collection for his Emporio Armani line proposes a dialogue with Japan, no simple cultural appropriation, mixing trademark tailoring with a flourish of martial arts.

Dark blue urban suits had a long billowing under jacket, the first hint of the exotic and a clear statement that this not your salary man’s workaday wardrobe. Suits were worn with either button-down striped shirts or asymmetrical collarless shirts, both paired with leather cords instead of ties. Notched lapel jackets were belted, or not.

A clutch of silken printed jackets, including one with a flock of silvery birds, won a round of appreciative applause.

Armani has long played with volumes. For this collection he incorporated martial arts-style Hakama trousers, pleated split pants that have a skirt-like appearance. To demonstrate its versatility, a model performed a series of karate-style kicks.

The Hakama-style trousers, sometimes silken, sometimes plaid, were worn with baseball jackets or short-sleeved sweaters with Koi detailing.

Hair was pushed from the face with crisscrossing headbands, creating a cartoon Magna-style look of spiking locks.

At Dolce&Gabbana, it was a game of “name that Millennial.”

The designers again invited a cadre of young influencers from show business and social media to strut their latest collection, 106 for this season, from all corners of the globe.

They included Chinese singer Junkai “Karry” Wang, whose fans gathered outside the Metropol theater waiting for a glimpse; the American comedian Andrew Bachelor; the Mexican actor and singer Diego Boneta; and the French-Polynesian model Tuki Brando, the grandson of Marlon Brando.

The collection ranged from silky lounge wear inspired by pajamas to upscale athletic wear, including baseball shirts and basketball jerseys with the new team DG logo, to the designing duo’s tightly tailored suits. – AP