June 23, 2008
The words "Trussardi-wearing hipster" aren't ones you hear too often. That could change, at least if the recently appointed creative director, Milan Vukmirovic, has his way. At a low-key runway presentation in a candlelit villa, the shaven-headed designer, editor, store curator, and all-around global scenester said his goal was to inject some "soul" into the luxury brand's menswear. He set about that by using seductively dusky colorsfaded blues, grays, olives, and lilacsand by working a silhouette that consisted of a short, one-button jacket over a collarless, pleat-fronted shirt and pleated pants that were tucked into nubuck booties. Vukmirovic dubbed the look "new folk," underscoring his theme with long scarves and floppy hats, but it also brought to mind half-forgotten New Romantic bands like Spandau Ballet, and by the end the collection had veered dangerously into New Wave territory. Only Peter Murphy in his Bauhaus heyday could have pulled off the full leather suit, and the black leather shirt with contrasting white collar and red leather tie might even have scared Gary Numan.
With outfits like these, which would work better in a magazine shoot than real life, Vukmirovic threatened to squander the word-of-mouth buzz that had built among editors and retailers after last season's under-the-radar debut. Still, that was only half the story of this collection. The real focus was less on concept than on individual items: closely fitted bombers in black or tobacco-brown leather, crumpled cotton coats in navy or gray with clever military details, a terrific camo-printed duffel. Vukmirovic even attempted to rehabilitate that most overexposed of basics, the cargo short, cutting it in lightweight corduroy. There was a sense of anonymous cool to these pieces, in keeping with the designer's stated intention of producing discreet luxury. Whether or not cargo shorts can ever have soul is another question.