MILAN (AP) — Nothing stays the same in fashion, but this is over the top.
This season, a huge number of Milan brands are managing transitions in creative and business leadership, and using the shift to experiment with the way they communicate with their public.
That means some fashion houses, including Ermenegildo Zegna and Roberto Cavalli, have opted for a menswear calendar break, while others have forsaken the choreography of runway shows for more personal presentations, where the designers can discuss their creations and materials more in depth. That includes Ermanno Scervino and Bottega Veneta.
And no few are in creative transition, presenting on the strength of their design team and without a headline stylist or creative presence, namely Salvatore Ferragamo, Canali, Tod’s and Calvin Klein. Versace introduced a new CEO.
But for those reveling in the show, there was no shortage of spectacle on Day One of Milan Fashion Week, with a jazz band performing live at Dolce&Gabbana while a short film by Bruce Weber and some never-before-heard Prince soundtracks were unveiled at Versace.
Here are some highlights from Saturday’s menswear previews for spring-summer 2017:
SUMMER JAZZ FESTIVAL
Dolce&Gabbana invited the fashion crowd to a Sicilian jazz festival with echoes of New Orleans and the Copa Cabana resounding along the checkerboard runway.
Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana’s prolific collection for next spring and summer was a carefully arranged cacophony, like jazz itself. The live soundtrack to the runway show was provided by the New York jazz band The Hot Sardines.
Among the pleasingly discordant looks: A black-and-white ensemble featured a checked sweater worn over a floral print shirt and with striped pants. A sweater emblazoned with jazz musical references in bold white on black was paired with slim leopard print trousers.
There were looks for performers of all musical traditions, from slim, highly disciplined suits to oversized T-shirts over loose trousers and billowing silken floor-length caftans in wild prints.
Stage-ready black and white dominated the runway, with flashes of gold and animal prints. Suit jackets ranged from tuxedo collars to double-breasted looks, while trousers, be they slim or loose and pleated, were almost always cropped to show off thick-soled shoes. Bomber jackets and boxy tops were the canvas for the recurring motifs, including palm fronds and pineapples along with jazz band instruments.
The show ended with a New Orleans-style jazz parade, the popping of sparkling wine corks and a flurry of golden confetti.
Outside the Dolce&Gabbana theater, hundreds of screaming female fans waited to catch a glimpse of Internet star Cameron Dallas.
The 21-year-old Californian boasts 7.5 million followers on Twitter, 4.7 million on YouTube, 9.4 million on Vine and 13 million on Instagram. A representative sample made the trip to Milan, blocking traffic outside the Dolce&Gabbana venue.
Dallas, wearing a red bomber jacket, took a front row seat inside alongside a veritable who’s who of the Millennial generation. They included style icon Luka Sabbat, British rapper Tinie Tempah and famous offspring Gabriel Kane Day-Lewis, Rafferty Law and Lucas Maurice Morad Jagger.
The designers called the Millennials “the new and upcoming global stars.”
“These young men have the power in their hands, thanks to their smartphones,” the designers said in a note.
Donatella Versace paid sweet tribute to Prince, capping her runway show with a black ruffle shirt.
The frilly gesture, referencing the artist’s Purple Rain costume, was in stark contrast to the rest of the collection, which was otherwise defined by a relaxed silhouette more befitting an essential nomad than the ostentatious performer.
The collection featured muscle-revealing silk knitwear worn under long, trailing overcoats. Button-down shirts were worn long like tunics, and sweaters wrapped androgynously at the waist. Single-breasted suit jackets were hastily buttoned over loose trousers with an elasticized cuff.
The Versace empire bag was worn both cross-body, messenger-style and as a backpack, and footwear included sturdy sandals and technical sneakers.
The color palette was mostly a traveler’s easy monochrome, including olive, blue, gray and sand — and Prince’s own purple.
The show was set to a soundtrack of music that Prince recorded as a gift to Versace five months ago. The designer said she wanted “to share this incredible music from a dear and much-missed friend.”
Canali has bidden farewell to its creative consultant of two years, Andrea Pompilio, putting the collection into the hands of an in-house team while it considers its next creative move.
Elisabetta Canali called the experience with Pompilio “very positive,” but said “we don’t want to link to someone specific. I think our DNA is very important.”
The collection epitomized the relaxed looks that appeal to young consumers entering the luxury market. There was an aviator flare to bomber jackets worn with a scarf flung loosely around the neck. Double-breasted suit jackets in a kinetic black and white linen and wool weave known as “malafile” were paired with T-shirts, while shorts returned to the spring-summer Canali mix, worn with suit jackets or sweaters.
DSQUARED2 LOVES ROCK ‘N ROLL
Rockers, Canada’s designing twins Dean and Dan Caten, the forces behind the DSquared2 label, have the footwear for you: Prince-worthy high heeled boots available in any combination of sequins and glitter.
The ever-so glam boot was paired with jeans cropped perfectly to meet the leather upper mid-calf.
The looks were topped with sleeveless muscle shirts with sewn-on suspenders, shimmery striped lurex sweaters or jackets featuring checkerboard or chevron designs.
The twins wore long rainbow scarves to greet the crowd in a Fashion Eve event Friday evening, an apparent tribute to the Orlando shooting victims.
In a twist, youthful customers come to the luxury Neapolitan brand Kiton for tailored looks while its older clients are looking for leisure wear.
Take the brand’s fine knit jogging suits, meant for the ultimate jet-setters.
“Our clients wear this above all when riding in their private jets,” CEO Antonio De Matteis said on a walk-through of the new collection during Milan Fashion Week.
Kiton won’t reveal its client list, but De Matteis says it is more likely to include Silicon Valley entrepreneurs than bellicose billionaires.
Suits for the next warm weather season were kept relaxed for young clients, nearly deconstructed, and in soft fabrics. Colors feature blues to recall the sea by Naples.
Kiton strives to know its clients personally, meeting them at made-to-measure events around the globe, at private one-on-one dinners or visits to the company headquarters.
“We are lucky to get to know most of our clients personally,” De Matteis said. “They come to Capri on vacation and then come visit our company.”
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