Milan’s menswear showing this week for Summer 2012 was as organized and tight as the fabled Mafia.
With the Ferragamos, the Gucci and Prada groups, the Missonis and the Cavallis, it was all about family.
From heritage core values to their new offerings of high taste and up-to-the-moment style, each family-owned fashion brand was independent and strong, with well-designed collections paired with signature bags, shoes, eyeglasses and high-end accessories.
At the fashion cognoscenti’s fave resto Giacomo’s, there was Tom Ford, whose label is partly owned by the Zegna wool empire. Seen chatting with Anna Zegna, who worked for Versace, was Bruno Ragazzi, whose silk empire developed the Versace home furnishing line, and whose girlfriend Angela Missoni took over her parents’ knitwear empire.
At another table, Miuccia Prada was talking to Raf Simons, who designs for Jil Sander, owned by the Prada Group. Roberto Cavalli is tasking his 25-year-old son Danielle with heading the design team for the third season.
And at the helm of Gucci is daughter Frida Giannini, defining the hot house brand worldwide. Yes, like the interlocking yet protected fiefdoms of the Mafiosi, it’s all about keeping it in the family.
Let’s look at the major trends from the great Italian family luxury brands. Their designs are formal but not demanding, rich with the fabrics Milan is known for.
There was linen, pique, twill, polished cotton, poplin, and all-new denim variants woven to breathe and crease like natural fibers do. Colors were classic and masculine, from cream to gray at Armani, yet the color revolution continues for the young-at-heart, with caterpillar green and acid yellow at Calvin Klein.
The major silhouette is the shrunken suit jacket worn with flared or skinny trousers, and everywhere, the confident big weekend bag, the return of short high-waisted shorts, and the track suit reworked as cardigan and knit sweats. Jackets are busboy-cut at the waist or bomber jacket-style. The footwear is comfortably casual, some exclusively sponsored by Nike, Adidas, even Converse, creating a comfort zone that is also high fashion.
For the Facebook generation, which is from age 20-80, comfort is the all-important consideration. You must work so hard that you look and dress like you never work at all—the ultimate paradox for dressing down in this new fashion century.