Following the trend of the past few months, this month’s Milan and Paris men’s fashion weeks took place mainly online. If, on the one hand, the lack of an audience to present the garments of the new collections is felt, on the other, these events are the perfect opportunity to completely deconstruct and reinvent the very format of the catwalk show. Therefore, the spectators are replaced by increasingly studied sets and an ever more present soundtrack, sometimes transforming the presentation of the garments into real short films. We present here a selection of the five events to remember from the Fall/Winter 2021 men’s collections.
Born from the “intimate and personal desire for contact” the Prada collection, the second release from the collaboration with Raf Simons, speaks of the human need for sensations and pleasures, then translated into a sequence of textures and fabrics. Conceived as usual by AMO, the research section of OMA, the show’s rooms are defined by panels of marble, resin, plaster and synthetic fur. The tactility of these garish surfaces, inviting and seductive, points directly to the awakening of the senses, accompanying the clothes of the fashion show along with the electronic soundtrack of Plastikman. The show focused on a single highlight: the long inlaid sweater, which, layered under pinstripe suits or paired on top of shirts and rolled collars, acts as a second skin for the models, almost quoting the sweaters worn as Linus’ blankets during the quarantine. Accompanying them are single-breasted and double-breasted coats, developed along straight lines, and generously sized bomber jackets.
Sunnei, a brand of entirely Italian production created in 2014, still amazes us with the entirely digital project SUNNEI Canvas: an experimental platform that allows you to customize your order. Step by step, buyers can intervene on multiple aspects of each item’s design: starting for example with shoes, the first step is to select the shape, the second step concerns the material and, finally, the color is decided. The Canvas project aims to propose a parallel translation of the digital lexicon of the label. The ‘parade’ of the 2021 season consists of ten virtual avatars, thanks to which Sunnei takes the video game trend to the extreme, following the wave also ridden by other brands such as Gucci and Balenciaga. The new combinations in the collection correspond to the looks that players can choose for their selected character.
“Hi, I’m Silvia”. This is how the Fendi fashion show is inaugurated. Silvia Venturini Fendi’s voice, creative director of the brand, is transformed into a soundtrack, mixing her words with notes of techno music by Not Waving. Following the music’s rhythm, the models go through a tunnel of mirrors, illuminated by neon tubes, designed by the artist Nico Vascellari. Accompanied by the question “what is normal today?”, the color collection is a nod to the new silhouettes that fit our comfort-focused, homey lives, from robe coats to quilted silk boxers, cable knit dungarees to pajama hemmed suits. One aspect that caught the eye was artwork’s inclusion - including Fendi’s cursive lettering - by Noel Fielding.
Virgil Abloh’s Louis Vuitton, on the other hand, made its collection a multidisciplinary artistic expression. The production, set between Paris and a village in the Swiss mountains, is thematically inspired by James Baldwin’s seminal 1953 essay Stranger in the Village through a series of performances expressed in dance, ice skating, poetry and set design. Originally conceived as a fashion show in public’s presence, the presentation was adapted into a short film, shot at the Tennis Club in Paris where a set design inspired by Mies Van Der Rohe’s Pavillon Barcelona was built for the occasion. Among the green marbles and the cruciform pillars covered with mirror, Abloh presents among the garments also jackets conceived as “wearable miniature urban landscapes”. The Paris skyline puffer jacket features the architecture of the French capital, with elements of Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. In contrast, the New york city skyline puffer jacket features skyscrapers from a variety of cities, including New York and Chicago.
For his Winter 2021-2022 collection for Maison Dior, Artistic Director of Men’s Collections Kim Jones was inspired by men’s formal wear’s extravagance. Jones collaborated for these clothes with renowned Scottish figurative painter Peter Doig, whose artwork are transposed to the fashion house’s collection. The artist’s involvement extends to the digital runway set-up: the catwalk is a work of art, an installation designed by Doig, depicting blue skies, while stacked sound systems mimic those in Doig’s paintings, such as Speaker/Girl (2015). The look was luxurious but relaxed, flamboyant but with Jones’ signature sporty style.