The sun came out today. And thank God for that. The last few days have been so cold and wet, it’s no doubt these Milan shows have been filled with clothes one might not normally associate with summer. Another reason to be thankful – there’s always a bit of a wait outside Gucci, and there’s nothing fun about being rained on. Held at midday in a hotel on the corner of a particularly busy intersection (trams, trains and taxis form a pedestrian’s hazard), the scene outside is always well worth a watch.
Italian catwalk photographers sit on their giant camera cases grumbling obscenities at the black-suited security men; hordes of streetstyle bloggers descend upon the better-dressed masses, then collectively sprint as they spot that girl in the latest McQueen dress; American editors stand around shooting the breeze, their khaki pants expertly rolled above desert boots (worn sockless). Then the call comes, ‘Doors are open!’ and the pack heads inside, past the foyer where champagne is served, and into the show room to search for their seats.
Gucci’s mood for spring was a casual luxury – kick around clothes for the young monied – henley tees under suits, nothing under leather jackets and safari shirts worn open at the neck. Brand staples like chunky knit cardigans and sweaters were present, with pulls hanging off the backs as if the night before had ended a little too well.
Sure there were the more lavish pieces, like a deluxe sweater in suede or a brown snakeskin button up, but even they were paired with jeans. Yes, jeans. Blue jeans and cream drill jeans, not dissimilar from the types worn by Marlboro men on 1970s billboards. The 1970s metaphor extended to a couple of shirts and a blazer, all emblazoned with the kitschy-cool Gucci scarf prints you can still find in off the beaten track op shops. It was a quieter collection than the overt luxury of fall, but decidedly more wearable than a Leopard print blazer. Only one question remains: who will don the jeans first? My money’s on Kanye.
There’s no better end to a day in Milan than an Etro show. First up, they feed and water you (sandwiches, fruit salads in tiny jars and grapefruit juice). Next, they do something fun with the catwalk – last time it was sand, this time grass. The great thing about Etro is that they don’t take themselves too seriously. They have fun with their shows. Quelle horreur; the models even smile! The collections are all about hunky men not shying away from their hunky-ness. That means: paisley printed shirts in the sheerest silks (worn open to the waist), short shorts, wind-swept hair and vibrant colours. You can’t spell resort without Etro.
The most interesting piece of the lot was a new take on formalwear – a tuxedo onesy a la Max from Where The Wild Things Are. Just don’t drink too much in it, those things are a nightmare to get in and out of. You can tell the models love doing these shows because they happily dance the length of the catwalk with the designers during the finale. And while the crowd claps, it’s nothing like the cheers that are heard backstage after the show. It’s what summer’s all about – celebration. It’s time I went out and did some of that myself.
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