#1298 The day that was – Costume National, Calvin Klein and Burberry

Charlie France backstage at Burberry – All photos: Sonny Vandevelde

After the untimely death of French model Tom Nicon yesterday, one might have expected a sombre mood among the attendees at Milan Fashion Week today. As it turned out, almost everybody seemed blissfully unaware of the tragedy that had taken place less than 24 hours before – almost everybody. Backstage, many male models were visibly shaken, with murmurs of “But I was just with him two days ago,” intermingling with the inevitable, “I’ll tell you what I heard…” As far as I know there was no mention of him by any of the designers today, but that could be due to the lack of any formal confirmation of his passing. (Nicon’s Milan based agency d’Management has since posted a tribute to him on their website.)

Jethro Cave backstage at Costume National

Ennio Capasa’s latest collection for Costume National was a lesson in juxtapositions – tradition and techno-futurism, formal and rough, hard-wearing and delicate. Accompanied by LCD Soundsystem’s latest hit Dance Yrself Clean, (a musical juxtaposition in itself), the show began with a series of quaint suits, schoolboy shorts, shirts and trenches, all in a golden beige linen. The show notes were quick to point out that there was more to this collection than meets the eye. Laser cut jackets were thermo welded with no seams, buttons and zippers were hidden, hems were burnt. Subtle details, but less is more when menswear’s concerned. Suiting came in a full spectrum of muted colours – cream through black via every imaginable grey – and textures, from super casual to formal. Despite all the options, the proportions were all fairly uniform – slim, short jackets with tapered, cropped trousers. It was classic Costume National, cool suits for the guy who doesn’t have to wear them but chooses to regardless.

Backstage at Calvin Klein

Over at Calvin Klein, there was something of the mid-80s dancer in the midriff-revealing tees worn by the boys on the catwalk. Mid-80s dancer, or gridiron superstar who’d left his shoulder pads behind at practice. That same silhouette showed up again and again, in sweatshirts and bombers, the best of which were layered over something other than naked skin. One gets the feeling with a Calvin Klein Collection show that the trend forecasting is more like future planning. A black, glittery suit came out that looked very much like a wool/plastic blend, jersey leisure suits suggested a formal alternative to sweatpants, and even nylon jogging shorts were given the nod. Something tells me that exercise is big on Calvin Klein menswear designer Italo Zucchelli’s mind right now.

Mark Cox, Robbie Wadge and Thomas Penfound backstage at Burberry

Burberry opened with House of the Rising Sun, a traditional song about a young man’s life wasted in a New Orleans brothel. It was a far cry from the typical Brit-centric Burberry soundtrack, though the song was popularised by British band The Animals. Likewise, the collection had an American lean in assymetrical leather biker jackets and vests. But the American was countered by English elements – leather jackets studded with punky spikes, designer Wellington boots, plenty of trench coats, and tight leather pants so low-slung they were bordering on the bumster – an Alexander McQueen original. An ideal wardrobe for a wayward-youth-about-London-town in summer – Lord knows he’ll need all the coats he can get. Fitting then, that the front row contained a slew of hot young musicians on the up. I can think of no better candidates to trial the collection in the field.


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