The spring men’s collections were variously praised and panned by critics. Check out the verdict from Milan:
Everyone mostly agreed on the success of Frida Giannini’s latest effort, which Guy Trebay of the Times called “her best menswear show to date.” Giannini turned her back on the traditional Gucci club fiend and rock star model for a sportier collection “most of the Gucci bling had been swept out to sea,” noted WWD. Instead, she drew inspiration from kite surfing and the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, experimenting with futuristic fabrics like python treated to resemble rubber (“Why?” implored Trebay). Style.com saw a “flashy exuberance that is increasingly hard to resist” and Suzy Menkes of the Times found the show “intriguing” and more dynamic than the label’s recent offerings. Godfrey Deeny of Fashion Wire Daily was most critical, complaining that the collection strayed from its architectural vision and had “little to do with Brazilian architecture [and] even less to do with modern men’s fashion.” But Trebay asserted that Giannini “liberated Gucci by becoming more Gucci” by bringing back the jauntiness of the label’s sixties heyday.
Watch a slideshow of the Gucci collection.
Newly named CFDA Menswear Designer of the Year Italo Zucchelli put forth a youthful, futuristic collection inspired by the idea of transparency — both in life and fabric choice. The critics collectively loved his silicone mesh cardigans and nylon blazers: Godfrey Deeny called him “one of the most avant-garde designers on the planet,” and Style.com deemed him “the futurist of men’s fashion.” WWD applauded Zucchelli’s “unmistakable handwriting” on the brand, lauding the sheer, neutral-tone nylon and paper-thin leathers. (British Vogue noticed the “coordinating socks and geek-chic glasses” that rounded out the looks.) Deeny could have done with fewer shorts (“in case you were planning to go straight to the office from your favorite surf break,” smirked Guy Trebay of the Times), but called it a “seriously fine exposition of modern fashion.”
Watch a slideshow of the Calvin Klein menswear collection.
Critics differed on Miuccia Prada’s revamp of the classic gray suit, influenced by old black-and-white movies. Guy Trebay thought the show had “the air of a cultural rerun,” and deemed the theme “laborious” and “out of whack,” while Godfrey Deeny called it “one of the most innovative of the Italian collections.” Most reviewers noted the “somber,” somewhat gloomy mood cast by the mostly gray color palette, but “despite its monochromatic nature, [the show] was anything but one-dimensional,” WWD asserted. Style.com found it “mesmerizing,” though the perforated vests and shirts rather resembled “ragged lingerie.” Despite a solemn, stately show, Miuccia Prada remains “the ultimate arbiter of what’s cool in Milan,” concluded Deeny.
Watch a slideshow and video of the Prada menswear collection.
Raf Simons offered a white, minimalist collection that divided the critics. Despite the glacial hues, Suzy Menkes of the Times saw “new warmth” and “confident streamlining” in this collection, noting the rounded edges and smart details. Style.com felt the mood was “surprisingly romantic,” and called the clothes “appropriately lovely” — particularly an impeccably tailored pair of navy suits. Though he praised subtle details like the silver piping on white shirt collars and the white trim on black car shoes, Godfrey Deeny found some of the looks “improbable,” asserting that the long, soft-collar shirts seemed both “too contrived for an older gent” and too stodgy for a twentysomething. And WWD deemed the collection entirely underdesigned. “So much clinical apparel, with white shoes to boot, evoked hospital orderlies,” it complained, while British Vogue more graciously noted the “clinical aesthetic.”
Watch a slideshow and video of the Jil Sander menswear collection.
Dolce & Gabbana
“The message seemed so 1980s that it hurt,” wrote Suzy Menkes after Dolce & Gabbana’s gutsy, bedazzled show. It was “flesh and flash galore,” added WWD. “Even a racy black bathrobe came embedded with crystals.” Godfrey Deeny proclaimed the smoking jacket the standout item in the collection, alongside a procession of what he called “Mediterranean gigolo swimwear.” Several reviewers also noticed a conspicuous accessory alongside the over-the-top emsembles: purses. “[I]t was all about the mens’ clutch,” proclaimed British Vogue. In contrast to other more budget-conscious collections throughout the week, Dolce & Gabbana “went hell-bent for glam,” assessed Style.com, deeming the finale “a nonpareil hymn to the beader’s craft.” Off the runway, “most men will probably dial down the machismo” and focus on the sharp suits, leather bombers, and loose-fitting pants, predicted WWD.
Watch a slideshow of the Dolce & Gabbana menswear collection.