NewGen graduateJames Longpresented his latest Iceberg collection celebrating 50 years of the brand. Following collections of relaxed, off-duty outfits designed for comfort during the pandemic, this season, the brand showcased looks that were decidedly on-duty. Fitted snakeskin and leather looks opened oozing with Milanese style and affirming sex appeal, and thigh-high leather boots accompanied by an open faux-croc leather trench customised with biker jacket shoulders. This was juxtaposed by a series of light, angelic and frilly pieces adorned with tassels and see-through mesh panels.
Exposed skin was celebrated in backless cropped jackets and zips built into the front of short skirts to either reveal or hide the upper thigh. Sexy but practical – and never short of a pocket – cargo pants were turned into floor-dusting skirts while snake print utility sleeves were draped over the shoulders of a men’s shirt and over an ab-framing cutaway bikini. By blurring gender lines, Long was able to make the men’s looks have sex appeal while also encompassing a sense of self-assured masculinity. A leather skirt paired with knee-high chunky boots and a black wide-notch lapel jacket provided gladiator-esq bravado. Plus, the revival of the Iceberg envelope bag showed that while they’re looking to the next chapter, Long is also proud of the archive he’s curated.
Tom Ford is one of many cult brands welcoming in a new era this season. However, unlike its neighbours currently shopping the Creative Director market exchange, Ford has chosen a familiar face. Peter Hawking spent nearly 25 years under Ford’s stewardship, first at Gucci and then at Yves Saint Laurent, and was promoted from his previous role as senior vice president of Menswear in April.
As expected, there was plenty of Ford-mania on display. Signature velvet suits a la 1996, single-breasted with bold peak lapels, came in a variety of colours – blue, green and dusty pink. Every model wore the eyewear we know Ford for, including Hawking as he came out for his bow. The full-on glamour and elevation that is part of Ford’s DNA is also part of Hawkings’, showcasing open-chested tailoring and shirts cut low beyond the sternum alongside transparent form-hugging dresses. The final ensembles came in shimmering gold – his & hers fitted suits, accessorised with black belts and golden hardware on clutch bags and open-toe heels. For the grandeur of Hawking’s work, it all looked very wearable while still exuding sensual confidence.
Perhaps the most anticipated show of this season in Milan was at Gucci to witness another changing of the guards. Sabato De Sarno debuted his first collection at the heritage house having taken over from celebrated creative director Alessandro Michele, who announced his departure in November last year. Under Michele’s wildly successful tenure, the brand was transformed from a fading heritage label to an industry leader with eclectic collections and an eccentric, fashion-forward flair.
For Michele-enthusiasts, there was likely some disappointment, as De Sarno wasted no time showcasing his vision for the future of Gucci. Stripped-back styling and a cleaner, more minimal aesthetic was the look du jour, and key pieces came in the elevated basics – a white tank top with small Gucci detailing, accompanied by a red skirt with silver frill that glistened as models walked down the runway. Familiar styles were seen via the iconic Jackie bag (this time fashioned in a deep oxblood), exaggerated platform horse-bit loafers and excellent leather pieces. While it wasn’t as dramatic as past collections – no models were carrying their own heads as was expected under Michele, for instance – De Sarno has begun building the foundations of his Gucci, and it appears to be stable.
The precursor to the Missoni show was unfortunately what kept guests waiting an hour and 20 minutes…Kylie Jenner. Despite her many obvious talents, keeping up with the schedule isn’t one.
Regardless, Filippo Grazioli quickly replaced the sour taste of Jenner’s late arrival with his fun-filled alternative reality. Posing the question “Do you know how to enjoy reality?” in his invites, appropriately accompanied with a rainbow rock lolly, Grazioli reflected on times that have brought him joy, collaborating with Shawn Kolodny on the larger-than-life show space, creating giant reflective boulders dispersed along the runway. Slimming silhouettes flowed down the runway in light ethereal colourways all with the muted Missoni signature print. Sometimes it was built into the texture, for example in the most popular cocktail dress of next summer, or built into layers of sheer lacey dresses and sarongs. For Grazioli, bold white was a must among the pastel Missoni palette, continuing to add newness to the Missoni archive while undeniably serving a commercially successful collection.
Brett is a sustainable fashion campaigner, model and content creator.
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