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.
Katie Eary has never been one to shy away from a collaboration. After working with Kanye West (on DONDA) and now in her tenth season, what better way to expand her aesthetic than pursuing more partnerships that compliment your designs. For SS18, we saw Eary work with sportswear designers BOY London, Liam Gallagher’s menswear line Pretty Green, and with 90s streetwear brand Spliffy.
Inspired by a mashup of Camden Market and The Fifth Element, this “Post-apocalyptic MTV beach party” (as described in the show notes) was equipped with orb-helmeted future people in neoprene and bungee cords. Models walked out against a graffiti-like dystopian backdrop with a neon sign that flickered between the word, ‘BOY’, and ‘Katie Eary’.
Eary’s reputation for experimenting with print carried onto this collection in the form of ‘BOY London’ repeat patterns and large solo prints of the ‘Spliffys’ logo, all whilst being cut up and broken apart via a block metallic layer on top – a gilet, or a fresh retake on the NAFNAF jacket. Loose fitting trousers were held up with neon bungee cords that give a DIY vibe. Denim looks also gave some relief from the prints, but worn either a bikini top or colourful underwear the whole thing felt more lively. These dystopian protagonists make an apocalyptic future seem not so bleak.