Ermenegildo Zegna

Milan may slant towards the avant-garde for much of its menswear, but we can't get enough of Zegna's classic take on cool dressing. At this anonymous design team-led house, no one is trying too hard and the effortless pitch results in absolutely desirable clothing that ticks all the right boxes. Zegna was born as a 'lanificio' a century ago and is now one of the country's leading woollen mills, so fabrications like their new Microsilk, finishes like resin-treated crumpled creases and yarn quality (especially in the knits that resembled seersucker) are exquisite. Add to that the perfect silhouettes and a bleached, powdered colour palette, and you have a formula that will work well both in Italy and abroad

Photography: Jason Lloyd-Evans

Ermenegildo Zegna

Ermenegildo Zegna

Ermenegildo Zegna

Ermenegildo Zegna

Jil Sander

'It's a reaction to the speed of fashion', Raf Simons said backstage at Jil Sander, where models ambled about with bangs that appeared to have been flat-ironed down with slimy goo. The Belgian designer was referring to his rich trove of design references in which nearly every decade of fashion history seemed to have zoomed down on his slick runway. Charting the 1940s, Simons experimented with high-waisted pleated pant proportions. His 1970s ode treated us to pointy disco collars, the 1960s brought boxy, stand-away-from the body shapes, while we had the 1990s to thank for the utilitarian chest packs that were strung around the models' necks. This certainly could have been influence overload, but Simons collaged the decades together with a speedy, sure hand that yielded intriguing results. A show factoid - the silver digits on the back of the models' snakeskin boots were inspired by the numbered works of Swiss architect Pierre Jeanneret

Photography: Jason Lloyd-Evans

Jil Sander

Jil Sander

Jil Sander

Jil Sander

Burberry

Christopher Bailey called his collection 'handmade heritage'. Though not everything on the runway could be billed as entirely crafted by hand, it was the allure of home spun that captivated the designer this season. Not only did Bailey play with what he called 'blanket stitch felt bird appliqués' but he also spun his way through a parade of weaving techniques which showed up on leather totes, crocheted sweaters, and even canvas upper inserts on the shoes. Inspired batik prints and bright geometric patterns showed Bailey was flirting briefly with Africa, but even the ubiquitous woven raffia pom-pom beret caps never created an ethnic cliché. It was the silhouettes - super skinny lower halves with oversized trench-coats - plus the delicious palette of olives, saffrons, rust and chambray linen, that kept Bailey's particular brand of mod Englishness in check

Photography: Jason Lloyd-Evans

Burberry

Burberry

Burberry

Burberry

Neil Barrett

I wanted only new and fresh faces', Neil Barrett said backstage at his menswear show. He was referring to the porcelain-skinned boys with swept-forward hair, all looking rather underage. 'The truth is, they're a mix of ages between 17-27, but the key is that none of them have worked for more than one season'. The new faces proved to be a fitting canvas for the clothes, which offered a sweeping examination of Barrett's own archives. 'Old meets new' was also played out in the five classic menswear patterns the designer chose to work with - houndstooth, Prince of Wales check, Breton stripes, chevron, and chalk stripes - all of which were blown up and distorted out of their conventional schematics

Photography: Jason Lloyd-Evans

Neil Barrett

Neil Barrett

Neil Barrett

Neil Barrett

Bottega Veneta

Designers' show notes are more often than not flowery, pretentious pages of fashion gibberish. But not so at Bottega Veneta, where Tomas Maier (aka Mr No-nonsense) gave us this useful tidbit, 'I've always liked the idea of a coverall or a jumpsuit, of a single piece of clothing that works for a man the way a dress works for a woman. But a tailored jumpsuit is impractical. So we started with the idea of an all-in-one and related it to the suit. The look is very sharp and covered up, with almost no skin revealed'. Using the best looking line-up of male models we've seen in a while, Maier worked his single-piece suiting concept using leathers patched together with Japanese denims, over-printed seersuckers and linen cotton twill that was printed to resemble Irish tweed

Photography: Jason Lloyd-Evans

Bottega Veneta

Bottega Veneta

Bottega Veneta

Bottega Veneta

Emporio Armani

Though you might not be able to tell from these backstage photographs, Mr Armani has anointed a man's ankle as his preferred erogenous zone for his Emporio Armani spring line. Whether the trousers were in a light washed silk or a double dart wool crepe, they were all chopped to reveal a flash of nether-region skin. The effect was amplified in the form of a strip-down finale when 12 models, dressed in a fluttering midnight silk, pranced out barefoot, ready to pounce

Photography: Jason Lloyd-Evans

Emporio Armani

Emporio Armani

Emporio Armani

Emporio Armani

Salvatore Ferragamo

From the models' heads - which were topped in frayed-edge straw hats - to their feet, covered in breezy espadrilles, the Ferragamo show was a discourse in high chill factor holiday dressing. Of course, the rumpled suits in tones of sand, powder and ice gave polish to the runway, but it was really those espadrilles - executed as leather sling backs, lace-ups and more traditional variations - that had us yearning for a chic seaside retreat

Photography: Jason Lloyd-Evans

Salvatore Ferragamo

Salvatore Ferragamo

Salvatore Ferragamo

Salvatore Ferragamo

Pringle of Scotland

Milan was introduced to Alistair Carr, Pringle of Scotland's new Design Director - recently poached from Balenciaga. Carr's debut was in the aptly named Cardi Black Box Gallery. In a few looks Carr showed that his vision for the brand would be fashion forward and uncompromisingly modern, rather than heritage based. He mixed knit with tailoring, neutrals like taupe and navy with intense injections of flouro colour and distorted the argyle. We were smitten with the Puma for Pringle of Scotland footwear

Photography: Jason Lloyd-Evans

Pringle of Scotland

Pringle of Scotland

Pringle of Scotland

Pringle of Scotland

Vivienne Westwood

The gold medal in the fashion Olympics goes to Vivienne Westwood, who created a smash hit menswear collection based on the London 2012 games. Her rouge-lipped models sported T-Shirts with gold medal graphics and images of discus-throwing ancient Greeks, chambray knit tracksuits which were hurdle-ready and plastic gold coin gladiator sandals. The genius of the presentation was the mash up between these sporty influences and Westwood's signature English haberdashery. Striped waistcoats, bow ties and red plastic penny loafers worn with matching red socks completed the looks

Photography: Jason Lloyd-Evans

Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood

Calvin Klein Collection

The clear goggles you left back in science class have been resurrected by Italo Zucchelli, who placed them on the heads of his buzz-cut, American beefcake models at Calvin Klein. It made for an intriguing nerd-jock hybrid, but in the end the sports theme won. Athletic staples such as baggy sweat pants and T-Shirts were rendered in sweat-inducing leather, windbreakers came in slick nylon and blazers featured mesh bonded laser-cut tiles

Photography: Jason Lloyd-Evans

Calvin Klein Collection

Calvin Klein Collection

Calvin Klein Collection

Calvin Klein Collection

Prada

What would happen if a young Chevy Chase got cast as a rockabilly Parisian with a comic book habit? We came as close as we will ever get to finding out at the Prada show, where Miuccia Prada staged her own rhinestone-studded, cowboy-booted, beret-topped version of Caddyshack on a fake green grass field set up in the brand's headquarters. The models wore cotton short-sleeved shirts that were either embellished with cartoon scribbles, or1970s micro floral prints crusted with yokes of crystal rivets and paired with neckerchiefs that dallied between wild west and French intellectual. The low-slung trousers and oversized golf caddies pointed things directly to game of golf, but the quirky often-funny details of this show were light years away from any boring country club

Photography: Jason Lloyd-Evans

Prada

Prada

Prada

Prada

Moncler Gamme Bleu

Thom Browne knows how to put on a fashion spectacle. This season guests were treated to a fencing-inspired performance, complete with masked sword-bearing soldiers stomping out to the dramatic score of Star Wars in the belly of Milan's Circolo della Spada Mangiarotti. Granted, the metallic body padding did ring a little galactic, but for the most part Browne wove his tale around the medieval sport, which has a huge following in the city of Milan. Puffer jackets were shrunk to body-padding protectors and shirts came sliced off on one arm, mimicking uniforms. The only truly tricky proposition - apart from the skirts over shorts - were the jock straps worn over the men's trousers and shorts

Photography: Jason Lloyd-Evans

Moncler Gamme Bleu

Moncler Gamme Bleu

Moncler Gamme Bleu

Moncler Gamme Bleu

Missoni

Judging from some of this season's collections, in fashion terms the London 2012 Olympics is already upon us. Over at Missoni - where co-founder Ottavio Missoni himself competed in the 1948 Olympics (the last time the UK capital hosted the games) - the track suit received all due attention. And so it was that the blouson was replaced with a blazer and suited with track pants - in navy knit micro jacquard this was highly successful, the texture hinting (rather than shouting) at Missoni's signature patterns. Other winners included lightweight parkas and sporty shorts with a double cuff - the lower one pulled in with a draw string and finished with a toggle

Photography: Jason Lloyd-Evans

Missoni

Missoni

Missoni

Missoni

Gucci

The wearable man's wardrobe unfolded at Gucci, where the clothes were cool, clean and uncomplicated. Just about everything, from the butter soft leather jackets and checked suits, to the crisp leather-piped Mackintosh coats, could have been airlifted off the models and into the closets of regular men. The only remotely too-advanced piece was the skinny jodhpur, which pretty much requires a 16-year-old's set of legs. But we'll gladly take the black and white plaid evening ensembles for a spin on a pair of shiny patent shoes

Photography: Jason Lloyd-Evans

Gucci

Gucci

Gucci

Gucci

Z Zegna

Alessandro Sartori's swan song as Creative Director of Z Zegna lit up the catwalk with beautiful tones of turquoise, cornflower blue, and smouldering burnt olive and mustard.  This being Zegna though, the real innovation came in the fabric development. Natural fibres like linen, cotton and hemp on wide-legged suits with belted safari style jackets, were made to look crisp and rigid with glazed and rubberised techno finishes. Silk jackets and shirts, meanwhile, were coated with a ceramic membrane that made them rain proof, wrinkle proof, as well as weight proof. Essentially, the perfect travel garment

Photography: Jason Lloyd-Evans

Z Zegna

Z Zegna

Z Zegna

Z Zegna

Alexander McQueen

We liked the character work that emerged in Sarah Burton's sophomore menswear effort at Alexander McQueen. There was something of a Neapolitan pizza in her red and white striped silk shirts paired with roomy white pants and low-sloping black leather booties. And while the wide vertical striped pants conjured up carnival performers, they were worn by louche looking men who had the attitude, air and hair of a bad-boy 1970s rocker.  Although it was a more sedate and commercial effort than last season, there were still some wild crowd pleasers such as a silk suit embellished in a burst of printed flames

Photography: Jason Lloyd-Evans

Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen

Versace

It's back to the 1980s in a big way for Donatella Versace's spring menswear collection. The golden decade of excess is gaining ground at fashion houses across the board, but no one has a more legitimate birthright to the decade and its extremities than Versace. Think pink, more trouser pleats and more head-to-toe print than you could ever possibly dream of. Donatella rocked the hot colours and exaggerated silhouettes that made her brother a god of fashion, and did it in a brash and ballsy way we haven't seen in years. Brava, baby

Photography: Jason Lloyd-Evans

Versace

Versace

Versace

Giorgio Armani

An Italian word to add to your fashion lexicon is 'sdrammatizzare' - literally, to take the drama out of something, and in fashion speak, to tone down. Giorgio Armani showed us the perfect meaning of the 'parola italiana' on his menswear spring runway, where the summer slacker footwear was perfect foil for his beautifully tailored jackets and loose hipped trousers. The most exceptional of his original footwear was an espadrille topsider hybrid, whereby a two-tone suede deck shoe was set atop a hemp-like platform sole. But we also loved the traditional espadrilles executed in a sleek midnight blue velvet, which will turn down the volume of any summer suit in the the chicest possible way

Giorgio Armani


Giorgio Armani

Giorgio Armani

Giorgio Armani

Ermenegildo Zegna

Milan may slant towards the avant-garde for much of its menswear, but we can't get enough of Zegna's classic take on cool dressing. At this anonymous design team-led house, no one is trying too hard and the effortless pitch results in absolutely desirable clothing that ticks all the right boxes. Zegna was born as a 'lanificio' a century ago and is now one of the country's leading woollen mills, so fabrications like their new Microsilk, finishes like resin-treated crumpled creases and yarn quality (especially in the knits that resembled seersucker) are exquisite. Add to that the perfect silhouettes and a bleached, powdered colour palette, and you have a formula that will work well both in Italy and abroad

Photography: Jason Lloyd-Evans


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