Traditionally speaking, you know what you're going to get from Milan menswear fashion week. It's a lot of smart suiting from a lot of the style stalwarts of the industry, such as Giorgio Armani and Dolce & Gabbana. That's no bad thing—guys need good suits! But lately, the pace and point of view of the Italian fashion capital has changed: new names at big heritage design houses (the obvious one is Alessandro Michele at Gucci), emerging brands to keep an eye on (more of those below) and established labels that the spotlight has finally fallen upon (read on).
Which means it's time to hit refresh on what you thought you knew and start to consider the things you didn't. And we're here to help you do just that. In no particular order, here are our favourite labels, looks and trends from this season's spring/summer 2017 Milan men's shows.
Who: Neil Barrett
The Look: Precision pieces. This is a designer who spends serious time and effort on pieces as simple as the polo shirt, the most effortless leather or suede jacket, and perfectly cut pants. For spring/summer 2017, you'll find those essentials present and correct with a retro '70s-meets-'90s undertone and an Americana influence.
What To Know: British born, Barrett's fashion credentials are stellar. He's a graduate of Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art and upon graduation was snapped up by Gucci. Five years later he was instrumental in the birth of Prada menswear. In 1999 he launched his own label, making his Milan menswear debut in 2002. What he brings to the schedule is something cool, modern, and rigorous—his time is now.
The Look: Bundled-up athleisure, this was a collection inspired by travel and Miuccia Prada proved that the commute to work can actually look very cool. You just need to style it out.
What To Know: Boundary-pushing, you never entirely know what you're going to get from Prada—other than that it's going to be good. And that it's going to be a precursor of the womenswear show, always one of the hottest tickets in town a couple of months later. The Prada menswear show is always eagerly watched by the fashion industry for exactly this reason—clues for the season ahead, women in eager anticipation of what might be in their own closets. Going by this collection, there should be more of that layered great outdoors look.
The Look: Laidback, relaxed, preppy and fun—luxury casualwear with a youthful punch.
What To Know: Local talent, Milan-based Sunnei comprises creative duo Simone Rizzo and Loris Messina, who made their fashion week debut this season, and did so with the help of a flash mob for their show. The pair are all about doing classics in a cool way. Think shirts, shorts, and caps—and a splash of tie-dye, too. They take that traditional Milan mentality but reinvigorate it with their own street-style for the ultimate in versatility.
Who: Damir Doma
The Look: Deconstructed, raw, and pierced. Doma adds a refreshing renegade element to the Milan line-up. The designer relocated the business from Paris last year and has clearly brought that conceptual Parisian spirit with him.
What To Know: Croatian-born Doma studied fashion in Berlin and Munich before he worked at the atelier of Raf Simons, going on to launch his own label in 2004. A move to Paris followed and he launched his first menswear line in 2007 before making the leap to Milan. Artisanal and ever so slightly austere in attitude is the look Doma goes for. It works for us.
The Look: More of that wonderfully eclectic and oh-so-popular blend of magpie dressing—pussy bows and sequins, colorful prints, romantic styling, and men in tights! The reference point was travel and this was another great fashion adventure. Maybe not every guy's cup of tea, sure, but there's no denying that Gucci has shaken things up.
What To Know: In just over a year since his appointment, Alessandro Michele has put Gucci back on the map and made it one of the hottest brands in fashion right now. Whimsical and bohemian would be the way to describe his collections with flora and fauna signature hallmarks. It's a winning renaissance formula and has helped make Gucci one of the most exciting labels in menswear right now.