Milan Menswear: Shows Of Strength From Dolce, Burberry
Radici—it’s the Italian word for roots. And radici were the big story of the first day of Milan’s fall menswear shows. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of their men’s collection this year, Dolce & Gabbana flagged Sicily, the wellspring of their inspiration, by screening clips from Giuseppe Tornatore’s soon-to-be-Oscar-nominated Baari above their catwalk, as groups of models walked in the designers’ versions of classic Sicilian style. One group wearing, the worn-out knits and leggings of farm workers, would be followed by another in black velvet suits to suggest the same lot’s Sunday best. If the echoes of the very first Dolce & Gabbana collection for men were intentional, they also gave this show a real backbone, helped by a ballsy model casting that felt like a riposte to the pigeon-chested man-boys who still rule catwalks here. Break the clothes down to the farmers-vs.-aristocrats face-off that Domenico and Stefano originally borrowed from Luchino Visconti’s Sicilian epic The Leopard and you ended up with sturdy cardigan jackets over henleys and the designers’ artfully distressed signature denims, alongside a laser-sharp three-piece pinstripe suit. The finale offered a horde of stubbled toughs in wifebeaters, just like Massimo Girotti in Visconti’s Ossessione, the inspiration for the first ad campaign the duo ran for their menswear two decades ago. Yes, things have come full circle, and it seemed only appropriate that a return to their roots should produce their best collection in years.
See more pictures of the Dolce & Gabbana Fall 2010 show here.
Same with Burberry, where Christopher Bailey went back a lot further than 20 years, deep into the history of the house that he has reconfigured as one of the 21st century’s major fashion success stories. Thomas Burberry dressed explorers, pioneers and warriors (the trench coat is so named because soldiers wore it on the front line in the first World War) and that was the heritage Bailey utilized for a menswear collection that was his strongest to date. A parade of outerwear offered everything from a brass-buttoned officer’s coat in army green to a petrol blue leather trench and a shearling-lined flight jacket. The odd fashion flop—those brass buttons used as epaulettes on a sweater, for instance—could be forgiven in the light of the master class in precise military-influenced tailoring that Bailey gave us. But it wasn’t academic at all. More exhilarating—a testament to Bailey’s sense of adventure.
See more pictures of the Burberry Fall 2010 show here.