Yesterday in Milan, the man that forged Prada menswear in the 90s took us back to the decade with his SS18 collection.
Barrett’s aesthetic is founded in a minimalist cross-section of sportswear and tailoring – a purist take on wardrobe essentials – and this the scene for his menswear and womenswear joint presentation, held (for the first time) at the designer’s brand new building. Complete with its own catwalk space, and situated on via Ceresio next to the DSquared2 headquarters, the location’s bare spaciousness reflected the airy garments made of cotton, linen and nylon. Utilitarian references were prevalent throughout the collection but made of lighter fabrics to give a soft, pared back version of themselves.
Meanwhile, full looks in one colour echoed a uniform presence, minus any formality. The womenswear had an even more relaxed silhouette with elongated cuffs and ruched trouser legs. Outerwear was enhanced with reflective or glossy tape in a contrasting colour to the garment, making a militant statement that contrasted with the collection’s casual attitude. Barrett’s attention to precision, linearity and minimalism was represented exquisitely by these pieces of simplicity – a keen throwback to the era in which Barrett became one of his generation’s most key designers.
Munich born designer Philipp Plein went pedal-to-the-metal for SS18 with his modern Grease re-work. Theatrical, yes. But putting on a show for his collections is something Plein is renowned for – just think back to his past shows, which have included everything from classical concerts to circus performers.
Like a human reflection of the custom muscle car scene, models were visually transformed into quiffed boys and permed girls, veritable Grease characters for a modern age. As they walked, fifteen supercars (think Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Porsches and a metallic McLaren) raced around a track while performers executed a live rendition of Greased Lightning.
The collection comprised seemingly endless separates, an overarching opportunity for mixing, matching and styling. Heavy use of studding and embellishments gave garments attitude and rockabilly whimsy with flames, car prints and lightning bolts. Accessorising the models were teddy boy haircuts and cigarette packets rolled under the t-shirt sleeves – living in the Philipp Plein fast lane, these modern versions put Rizzo and Danny to shame.
Having started out at the luxury LVMH label Berluti, Alessandro Sartori then became the artistic director of Z Zegna, eventually leading him to become the artistic director of the whole of the Ermenegildo Zegna group. But way before that, Sartori was a child who would sketch for hours at a time in his garden. And this season, he took us there.
Held at the historic courtyards of Milan’s Università Statale, the show took on a futuristic garden setting, washed in tangerine. The collection itself drew from the idea of the outdoors meeting the indoors, with high quality fabrics – something Zegna is renowned for – used to create fluidity through the pieces, like a light breeze at work. The use of double layering scoop neck tees, colour blocking and tailoring knitwear kept this collection reigned in, relying on layering to create the silhouettes. Walnut, signature Vicuna, freesia, lotus, cypress and bleached aqua being the colour palette for this collection gave the garments a delicate weightlessness, a refreshing – and intimate – summer statement.
“To design a forward-looking men’s fashion wardrobe built around fluidity, freshness and colour but enriched by the possibility of adding your own hint of personality and style,” the designer explained of the collection in the show notes. That hint of personal style also has an immediate flavour this season: twelve of the looks are already now ready to order, made-to-measure from selected boutiques with handmade knotting, painting and embroidery individual and one of a kind to the buyer.