Wednesday, January 21, 2009

They shoot horses, don't they?...

Have you ever thought that maybe the people who euthanize horses and greyhounds when they get hurt and can no longer race might be onto something? Keep that question in mind, there's a pop quiz later....

Alexander McQueen

I have to admit, I've never really been won over by Alexander McQueen's menswear efforts. It's not that I don't like his aesthetic for men or anything like that. It's that, since launching the line in 2005 the collections have had more twists and turns than someone with limited patience can possibly be expected to endure. It was like one of those movies that you sit through where you're screaming in your head "get to the f-ing point already!". McQueen never really has. Whereas his aesthetic for women is easy to identify and to put into words, the one real thread that connects his men's shows together is the impeccable tailoring. But since this is McQueen we're talking about, impeccable tailoring is a given and people expect something more. The one time in the four years since he started showing his men's line in Milan where I felt he hit the right note was with F/W 06, a mix of the severe lines, dramatic details and sinister undertones that he's well known for. Since then, nothing. Nothing has moved me...until now.

His F/W 09 collection was true McQueen, very aggressive, historically inspired, theatrical and twisted. If Alex from "A Clockwork Orange" was a real person and was cast as the lead in a Jack the Ripper biopic directed by Martin Scorcese, this collection would probably be pretty close to what the result might look like. A troupe of models, all with dark circles around their eyes, fedoras on their heads and canes in their right hand marched out in clothes that evoked all things London. McQueen opened with his signature sharp tailoring, camel overcoats and grey tweed, very traditional stuff being worn by guys who look pretty likely to beat you to a pulp in an alley for trying to stiff their whore out of her money...or something like that. Honestly though, the clothes all look pretty wearable when you look at them as individual pieces and without the styling tricks. A navy cardigan that was long enough to trail on the floor had two leather belts holding it closed across the chest and was shown with a vest and rolled up trousers. After that there was taupe knee-length coat worn over a skintight brown leather jacket (or vest, you can't really tell) and paired with gray tweed trousers detailed with cargo pockets. I actually really like those trousers. This whole section was kind of a mix between ruff and rugged street trash of the Dickens variety and dandified criminal. Then came a cognac colored leather apron, perfect for anyone who might be ritualistically dismembering someone, in style of course. It was a bit of that old-school McQueen darkness that has been all but dormant lately.

Soon after this though, the show took a turn for the darker side of things, both literally and figuratively. The beige, tan and muted shades of taupe and mushroom were replaced with black and steely gray, and the sort of delinquent tough guys grew into even more delinquent, tougher know the type, the ones that prowl the streets looking for trouble, victims and a bit of fun. There was a great shirt with a trompe l'oeil print that kind of resembled a male chest rendered in tarnished metal, a full length leather coat with an Astrakhan collar and a light grey suit of sorts, the vest worn wrapped around the chest like a harness and the coat slung on the shoulders. Overall I liked this section a whole lot more than the previous one.

After this there was a brief section of more ready to rumble toughs, though they had taken off their suits and replaced them with codpieces, metal breastplates, argyle sweaters with skulls hidden in the diamonds and boots laced up to the knees. But then came the best part; evening attire. What do the criminals of a Victorian/Dystopian London wear for evening you might ask? Why, only the sharpest of sharp tailoring in deepest black and bloodiest red of course. One frock coat in iridescent burgundy had an inset with a deep red brocade of some sort that looked like a cross between a floral and blood splatters. A waistcoat and trouser combo also had some sort of pattern either printed or woven into the groin area in a blue-tinged white/silver splatter that some on the Fashion Spot speculated might have been alluding And the final look was absolutely stunning; one half jacket, one half waistcoat, the back turning into a cape. It was up there with some of the best tailoring McQueen has ever done.

Overall this collection was refreshing not only because it was totally in keeping with the McQueen personality cultivated over years of his work, but also because it provided some kind of reassurance to his fans that his dark side is still very much intact and that he hasn't forgotten how to use it. I can only hope that carries over into his women's collection come March.


Six different exits, all of them head-to-toe in winter white opened the Versace men's collection for next fall. That right there is interesting in itself. So far this season black, and shades of grey that are dark enough to be considered black, have been the main and sometimes only colors on display. I have no idea if Donatella's opening looks were a conscious effort to make a statement or not, but it definitely made a powerful impression. In my bit about the Ferre collection I mentioned how underrated I think winter white is as a color. There's something super elegant and very soothing about it, not to mention kind of dramatic. So needless to say I thought Donatella's choice to open with those head-to-toe looks was pretty great. It didn't hurt that the clothes were really beautiful. She started with a classic double-breasted overcoat, followed by a suit with a thin turtleneck sweater underneath. Then there was a chunky knit sweater with trousers, a pea-coat and finally a short bomber style jacket paired with ever-so-slightly gray trousers (this look was my favorite). It made for a very bold and very dramatic opening to the collection, and even though I myself would think twice before wearing so much white (it's gorgeous, but not exactly durable) it certainly made me want to.

From there the collection moved into grays in every possible shade; steel, graphite, iron, anthracite, charcoal...all the way into black. Like Aquilano and Rimondi earlier this week at Ferre, Versace was smart to play with sheen in these monochrome looks. I especially love the metallic looking biker jacket worn with the shirt and tie and black trousers, and the belted coat that looks like either some kind of black tweed with gray flecks or some kind of wool with a slight metallic finish.

Interspersed throughout the collection of white, black and gray were occasional shots of different shades of blue. Everything from steely blue to petrol popped up as textured leather pea coats, jackets, iridescent shirts, the same thin turtlenecks that were throughout the collection and trousers. These looks really added something to the lineup because the colors really played off the monochrome neutrals nicely and added a bit of interest to an otherwise safe lineup.

About 3/4 of the way through the lineup however, La Donatella lost me. Out came a half-dozen or so looks all in beige, camel and red. What was this? Weren't we just moving at a solid pace through deep, cool monochromes? Every one of these looks was a complete miss for me, not even because they were particularly bad, but because they literally came out of nowhere. The entire section should have been completely nixed. It's not even like there was a need to fill space. There were already enough pieces and looks shown, all she had to do was send out some formal wear and take her bow. So simple. Anyway, it was a real headscratcher. Luckily after this she did send out some evening looks, my favorite being a coat with squared off lapels, white button-down worn open at the throat over a black turtleneck, and classic trousers topped with a cummerbund. It was definitely formal, but it was hardly traditional. Kind of makes me wish I went to more dressy functions.

All in all, a gorgeous collection filled with things I would love to wear through the winter months. Was it anything new or exciting? No. But you know what, there are just some times in life when gorgeous clothes end up making you not really care if someone has reinvented the wheel.

And now for the pop quiz; If I were to participate in a word-association exercise, which designer's name would make me think of euthanasia?


If you guessed
Frida Giannini, well, don't expect any prizes because really, who else could it be? I've seen many debates on the Fashion Spot arise in Gucci fashion show discussions, and they're almost always triggered by the same type of comment. Someone, whether they like the collection or not, says something to the effect of "Every time there's a Gucci show people start comparing it to Tom Ford. Get over it". From there the debate ensues, and to be fair I've participated in more than my fair share of them. But after looking at the new men's collection, and believe me we will get to that mess soon enough, I think I might be able to enlighten all of those who want the Tom Ford fans and Gucci purists to "get over it". Imagine a label you really love, one that always has you waiting anxiously when the collections are being shown just to see the photos because even though you can pretty much count on the fact that you'll love it like you always do, you're still a little nervous that this collection will be the one that disappoints. Do you have that label or designer in mind? Now imagine that the designer decided to leave the label, which is disappointing enough but it's an unfortunate part of the industry, and the person to succeed them is not only incompetent as a clothing designer, but is someone whose work is so mind-numbingly stale and uninteresting, so basic in it's technique that they have so thoroughly dumbed down the luxury label you once admired to the point that the clothes now look like what you would have found in Zara stores the world over a full year prior when whatever convenient, cliched little trend was still remotely relevant. Would you just "get over it"? Or, season after season would you sit back in disbelief and feel like you're relieving the same nightmare over and over again. Of course, I'm being a bit dramatic here, but believe me, the nightmare thing is not so far off the mark. And at this point, I don't think anybody is still mourning the loss of Tom Ford, they're mourning the loss of Gucci.

So, now that I've been presumptuous enough to try and explain why some people can't just get over it, on to the collection.

Giannini's menswear, from the time she took over in 2006, has always focused on the very young, very thin and very trendy male. Whereas the Gucci man used to be, well, a man, he's now in that awkward stage when you start sprouting a few hairs on your chin. But it looks bad, because it's only a few hairs and nobody thinks a goatee with just a few bits of stubble looks cool. So right off the bat it's a bit strange because she's designing clothes for guys who are really young, but the clothes still carry that Gucci pricetag. As the years have gone by and she's discovered the joys of a Bedazzler, the embellishments have multiplied and the prices have skyrocketed. Now, I know that there are some guys in their early 20's who, by whatever means, are able to drop $5,000 on a shrunken studded military jacket, but I'd feel pretty confident in saying that most guys who would want to wear that jacket and who have the body to fit into it probably wouldn't be able to afford the sales tax, let alone the whole jacket. But she's continued on undeterred , and the idiots (or executives, whichever you prefer) at Gucci let her because her tattoo-ed, logo-ed and over-embellished garbage sells like crazy to those with more money than taste.

This season Frida continues blazing her trail and leaving all of her competitors in the dust by channeling some interesting inspiration (subtle sarcasm just doesn't work in type, so I'm gonna be a little OTT with it), 80's New Wave rockers! I know what you're thinking, hasn't the better part of 2008 been marred by people experimenting with that very same trend? Why yes, it has. And haven't skinny trousers and jeans, neon colors and cleavage baring tops been appropriated by desperately cool boys everywhere for a while now? Why yes, they have. But in this season of grown up sophistication, razor sharp tailoring and restrained details let it be know that there was a voice of reason, a voice that said with perfectly clarity "Wait, I haven't gotten to use that cliche yet, so it's not passe". Seriously, she's never met a cliche she didn't like, and it's not even like she's picking from the good cliches like "Parisian Prostitute" or "Italian film star in the 60's". So for fall 09 she envisions her boy/man as some synth or keytair playing badass circa 1984, two-tone brothel creepers and all. Graphic patterned high-water suits were worn with super-bright shirts, skinny ties and the occasional wallet chain blown up to such stupid proportions that one might wonder what the guy wearing it is overcompensating for that even his wallet chain has to be big. I will admit, I do like the purple shirt worn with the darker purple tie, and the rest of the outfit would make any squatter a nice little waste-basket fire. In all seriousness though, I don't know how many guys would be interested in wearing so much of such bright colors in the winter.

From there she ditched the neon and went for blue, red and burgundy, and she introduced her new pant. For those guys who don't mind going down the drag performer route and torturing yourself by strapping down your man parts, has she got the pants for you! Have you ever seen something so sexy in your life? You heard it here first, knobby knees are the new erogenous zone for guys. Again I have a confession, the leopard v-neck is cute. If it wasn't so insanely overpriced, I'd wear it. Same goes for the wool motorcycle jacket. That waist-length blue jacket however? Pass.

Then she took a sharp left into full on, heroin addicted, Pete Doherty worshipping Dior Homme territory. What the connection is between a pretty literal interpretation of 80's New Wave and Hedi Slimane circa 04/05 is beyond me, but then again I stopped trying to make sense of this women when she showed granny florals one season and slutty disco lame the next. From then on it's been like that movie Sybil. Every season we discover a new personality for the Gucci client. Now she's just speeding up the process. Glittery skinny jeans, sternum-baring tops, ragged scarves and shrunken leather, or in one case beaded fur, jackets are apparently what her dude wears for evening, and why not? Nothing says cool like trying too hard.

This was yet another case of Giannini picking up the breadcrumbs other designers left behind so she can navigate her way out of having to actually design something. More and more I find myself entertaining the delusion that maybe this whole Frida Giannini era is some elaborate joke. We're all being punk'd and eventually there will be a headline on that says something like "Hah! Gotcha. As if this woman was really a designer." Like I said, delusions. But considering the woman behind all of this madness has deluded herself into believing that she knows fashion to the point where it's a wonder how she'll ever find a way out of her own fantasies, I'm just trying to keep up.

Oh yeah, she's schooled us bitches on fashion.

All photos from

Monday, January 19, 2009

The re-creation of man...

The men's collections continued today with what I'm willing to predict will be my two favorite collections, and both for very similar reasons.

Gianfranco Ferre

I'll admit, I never paid much attention to Gianfranco Ferre when Ferre was still alive and designing it. Occasionally I would sneak a glance at the womenswear because for sheer guts and drama there are very few who could top him, but I rarely, if ever, took notice of his menswear. Earlier this year his most recent successors Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi, who first became know with their signature line 6267, made their debut for Ferre womenswear and while I didn't love it (blah color palette and a little too controlled) it was certainly a decent debut. Yesterday they presented their men's collection for F/W 09.10 and I have to say, I kind of loved it.

There were a lot of elements in the collection that hit home for me; the dark monochrome color palette with shots of winter white, plays on shiny and matte textures, and razor sharp silhouettes. The entire lineup of strong shouldered coats (some with a slight peak, others with high funneled necks), 60's inflected narrow trousers and chunky oversized knitwear was nearly perfect from start to finish and managed to make a really powerful statement; protection, assertion and confidence.

The oversized funnel necks and gargantuan knitted sweaters and scarves were certainly in keeping with Ferre's love of all things oversized and dramatic, but here they were actually made somewhat believable as clothes that men can actually wear. A great variation on it was a black leather jacket with horizontal band detailing around the body and sleeves. It was different, and it was definitely a "fashion" sort of look, but I could definitely see it working on the street. The coats were a highlight, as they have been in all the shows so far. They were clean, cut mostly to right above the knee and had a certain militaristic vibe about them. It wasn't anything too specific like epaulettes or brass buttons, but the rigor and elegance of them did hint at something kind of regimental. In a way though that's to be expected. A few years ago, say around 05, was the first time I can think of where designers began showing military influenced outerwear for both men and women. At the time I loved it, but it was hard to find outside of a collection price point. Four years later and it's pretty much asserted itself as a classic in men's fashion, not that it hasn't always been apart of the male fashion vocab, but it seems like it's really at the forefront these last few years. To this day it's still a look I love for the elegance and strength it exudes, and when you think about it, so much of menswear is based on an idea of uniform anyway, so it's something that makes perfect sense. But I digress.

The other major thing going on besides the extreme, contemporary tailoring was the mix of both matte and shiny surfaces. I think that's really the key to successfully using such a restrained color palette. Unlike many people I truly don't mind seeing an abundance of black. Besides the fact that it's something that I myself wear a lot of, I think it also makes a great impact on a runway...when handled correctly. The key to it is breaking up the surfaces with subtle variations of texture, sheen and even tone. I think that's why I've never been much of a fan of Yohji Yamamoto's runway presentations. So often he sticks to all matte, all black surfaces and eventually you start to lose the details. But here, Aquilano and Rimondi blended the dullness of wool felt with chunky knits, techno blends with a subtle sheen, Astrakahn and even some mega-shiny blazers, like the one shown as the final look which almost looks beaded...I can't really tell. Plus I think they were smart to throw in that winter white (such an underrated color, I think). It was like a palate cleanser that came along every now and then, and after it the darkness would begin again.

Overall it was a really great effort, and a really strong collection. It was true to the legacy of the label, but at the same time it displayed a really fresh perspective. I guess it's safe to say that Aquilano and Rimondi might just be the team to make the Ferre name relevant again.


Let me just preface this by saying that I don't know what Miuccia Prada is doing differently in either her life or her work, but whatever it is I hope it continues. Just like during the spring shows where for the first time I fell in love immediately with Prada's women's collection, the same has happened to me with her men's collection for fall. I don't know what to think. I've never been much of a fan of Prada's menswear, at least not the shows. It's not even like with the women's offerings where a lot of the time they might grow on me. The men's shows never really do, with the one exception being her twisted take on emasculating men from F/W 08. So I wasn't really expecting to think much of the collection this season.

I couldn't have been more wrong. Not only was it completely free of gimmicks and whatever the sartorial equivalent of castration is, but from beginning to end it was almost entirely wearable and believable as clothing. Essentially the message Prada was trying to deliver was strength, or to quote the woman herself "survival". It's a pretty simple concept, and is certainly something that resonates on a larger, more significant global scale. But don't think super-aggressive outlaws going Beyond Thunderdome or anything like that, Miuccia really isn't one for themes. That's not to say there wasn't a strong seam of aggression running through the collection though...

She started out slowly, traditionally even, the first look being comprised of a double breasted overcoat and matching power suit in charcoal grey, an almost perfect example of the male corporate uniform. The only things that kept the look from being ready for Wall Street was the lack of anything underneath the suit jacket and the fact that the model looked more like a scared little boy than a power broker. From there she began to play, first removing the overcoat so that only the suit was left, then removing the jacket and replacing it with a classic v-neck top gone tough by being made out of leather, and then splicing leather into the cut of trousers. It was interesting the way the show progressed, like she was starting with this symbol of authority and rank and breaking it apart while adding something grittier into the mix. The fact that the first 8 or 9 looks played out entirely in black, or grey that was so dark it was nearly black, gave this sort of black hole feeling, almost like she was trying to say that with all of the turmoil going on today, the uniform of the corporate male is completely empty, it's meaningless (scary how this collection is bringing out so much pretentiously deep thought on my part, but I'm on a roll, so just go along with it).

Having rendered the traditional suit completely meaningless, Prada began to rebuild her man, creating a literal suit of armor. First it was a crisp white shirt, the front completely studded with metal paired with grey wool trousers with grommets running the length of the leg. Then a full suit in that same grey wool worn with a shirt that had studs tracing the collar and button placket. Then a shirt completely covered in hardware worn under a coat with classic black trousers. All the while the leather brogues that started out pretty staid looking also started showing up with hardware tracing the toes and seams.

From here she continued to toughen up the clothes until every inch of the garments were covered in metal. After that there was only one logical way to end the show, and that was to end where it began, with a double-breasted overcoat and matching suit on the same bare chested scared little boy, only this time the suit was pure black instead of charcoal. It's strange how the whole thing literally came full circle, and I'm not even going to try to explain what it all means lest I run the risk of sounding more ridiculous than usual.

Needless to say I loved the collection. There's a good 3/4 of it that I not only like, but that I could totally see myself wearing. The studs are a lot, and I don't know how willing I would be to completely deck myself out in them, but if she does a variation on the trousers with, say, a thick stripe of them down the side I may have to put myself into debt....or just buy the shoes.

Want. Now.

All photos from

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Dodger, West and Bond...

Well folks, it's a brand new year and with that comes a brand new fashion season. The F/W 09.10 Menswear collections are upon us and that can only mean one thing, that the S/S 09 Couture collections aren't far behind and after that it's only a few weeks until the F/W 09.10 women's collections. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

The men's collections, for me anyway, don't usually hold as much excitement as the women's collections do. It's a combination of factors that lessens my enthusiasm, really. The lack of drama, the feeling that there are only so many things you can do with menswear before it turns into a joke, or worse, womenswear and the fact that for the last, well, too many years, so much of what's been going on in men's fashion hasn't interested me at all for the sheer fact that I just simply cannot relate. The whole waifish, ragamuffin, boy/man hybrid that seems to be the only thing anyone has cared about in menswear has never once resonated with me. I'm not a waif. I don't have a chest like a newborn bird and I don't fit into women's jeans. Never have, never will try. So I've pretty much felt left out of the loop while labels like Dior Homme under Hedi Slimane, Burberry Prorsum and Raf Simons both for his own line and at Jil Sander have created clothes that not only wouldn't look good on me even if I could afford them, but clothes that I don't even think look very good on the models. Of course there are shows that I can at least appreciate for the fact that they aren't trying to create some new breed of man like Versace, Dolce and Gabbana and even at times Prada, but at least as far as most on the Fashion Spot (where I spend a good deal of time during runway season) are concerned, the type of slick, decidedly masculine fashions being shown by the D&G boys and Miss Donatella are not just boring, but tacky and passe.


So imagine my surprise today when looking at the Burberry Prorsum collection to find that Christopher Bailey had changed his repetitive course and took a sharp left into unexpected territory. The first dozen or so looks were all in black and looking much more cleaned up and sharp than I'm used to seeing from a Burberry collection. If I had to use one word to describe the overall feeling of the collection it would be mature. This was a collection that seemed aimed at guys who have surpassed the 25 year mark. You could say there was something grown up about the collection. It was like all of the retro-quirky Londoniness of Burberry had been swept away and what you were left with was actual clothes instead of a tedious look. The majority of responses on tFS (that's the Fashion Spot) were negative, and I can completely understand why. The collection wasn't really what anyone would expect from Bailey, which could explain why I like it.

My favorite pieces in the collection were the coats, the best being a black knee-length pea coat style with epaulettes and a great little cuff detail that I can't quite describe. It's the kind of thing that makes my desire kick in. For me, in F/W collections, you just can't beat a perfect coat.

Overall the collection had a vague Dickensian feel to it that made me think of the Artful Dodger or something, the street urchin in gentlemen's clothes. I suppose it was a combination of the dark, cool, ashy sort of colors, the proportions of the very boxy coats paired with straight narrow trousers and the limpid jabot-style ties that appeared on some of the shirts. Luckily though it wasn't themey and the Dickens thing is more likely a coincidence than an attempt by Bailey to tell a story.

But as I mentioned, the unexpected factor could be this collection's biggest weakness. I am decidedly not a fan of Burberry Prorsum, so if suddenly I like it and the people who are normally fans do not, that could be a problem. Even in the best of times it wouldn't be wise to completely alienate the customer base you've built by giving them a look that they love, but especially now when economies all around the world are going to hell it just seems like a strange move. Frankly, this isn't really what people want from Burberry, and there are a slew of other labels out there who do dark, urbane menswear much better. I guess my thinking is that in shaky times, it would be smart to do what you do best.

Jil Sander

The Jil Sander collection was also shown today, and if Bailey's collection can usually be counted on to deliver the same grungey, lanky, rock-y look, then Raf Simons' collections at Sander can be counted on to deliver precise, sharp, clean tailoring with a subtle twist whether that be in the fabrics, the minute details or the silhouette. This season he delivered more of his narrow tailoring cut with surgical precision, but here and there he played with shape. The shoulders and sleeves on coats and jackets had a certain roundness to them with a bit of volume built in which softened the normally rigorous Sander shape. That's all well and good, I don't mind a bit of experimentation now and then, but on many of these pieces he did something inexplicable. He tailored the body in such a way so that the torso came in at the waist, not in the area where a man's waist sits, but instead in the region where a woman's waist sits.

Now, I understand that for whatever reason there is a drive in menswear lately to pursue newness. New shapes, new attitudes and new definitions of masculinity. But when designers do something like this that is so clearly an attempt at nothing more than doing something new for the sake of newness I have to wonder what the point of all this "innovation" is. I don't think we live in a society, no matter how progressive some of the people who inhabit it are, that is going to grasp onto the idea of slowly feminizing men. It's not the same as when women's fashion, and by extension their roles in society were gradually infused with more masculine attributes. That was all done to advance what little power and influence women had. When Yves Saint Laurent cut a masculine looking tuxedo for a woman's body the intention was to empower the woman wearing it, but even still that tuxedo was very clearly cut for the female form. All of the broad shoulders, straight torsos and endless trousers that have appeared in women's fashion over the last century have served a purpose, and it was not to make women look like men. It was to make them equal to men. So I can't help but wonder what the point in making men look like women is. I could see if it was done by a woman, like last year when Miuccia Prada put men in halter tops, fly-less trousers and skirts, how it might be an attempt to put men in their place. But these hourglass coats were designed by a man, for a man, and so I can't even attempt to guess at what his motives were.

Thankfully the rest of the collection, while not heartstopping or lust-inducing, was at the very least good looking. Sharp, clean and no doubt luxurious, it's the kind of classic look that seems to always work no matter what.

But I can't help but feel like, for all of the strides Simons has made with the womenswear at Sander, his menswear is lagging behind. If the best he can do to create excitement is to give men a torso that any Mae West impersonator would envy then I'd say he's either not trying hard enough, or worse, trying too hard.

Dolce and Gabbana

As far as the first day of Milan Mens week goes, the show that hit closest to home for me was Dolce and Gabbana. It was a collection that, even if I didn't always love the result, I can at least fully comprehend and relate to it.

The last few seasons I haven't really paid much attention to Dolce's menswear offerings. It had gotten a bit dull, and more that a little predictable. That's not to say that this collection was some kind of watershed moment or anything, but it was a sort of reminder of what the Dolce and Gabbana man is all about.

Most of the lineup was comprised of looks that were black on black. Many people would probably complain that it was too much black, but that actually suits me just fine. I say there's no such thing as too much black since no matter how you slice it, there is no way to look bad in it. The overall mood of the collection was very urbane, very slick, and very sharp. There was something of a James Bond kind of feel going on in much of the first half of the lineup. As always the boys showed their signature tailoring, perfectly suited to any Fellini star or the kind of hit men and assassins you only see in movies. Particularly gorgeous was a polished black crocodile motorcycle jacket shown with a bulky turtleneck sweater and charcoal trousers with a subtle stripe. It's the kind of look that makes fashion shows a somewhat depressing affair since you realize there is absolutely no way it will ever feature in your wardrobe.

Occasionally they relented from the onslaught of black offering shots of grey. Navy also made an appearance in velvet as the body of a trenchcoat with sleeves in contrasting fabric.

After some more black looks and an inexplicable section of hideous quilted fabric pieces, they sent out the male equivalent of their traditional parade of evening looks. Dinner jackets in black and white graphic patterns were interspersed in a lineup of velvet and silk jackets in various shades of pink, from cotton candy all the way through to magenta. Now, that kind of look takes a certain personality to actually pull it off, but I will say this, if a man is going to wear pink a deep, brazen shade of pink is the way to go. It's far more masculine.

Overall it was a pretty solid collection in my opinion. No it wasn't Earth shattering, innovative or even all that fresh, but on display were plenty of great clothes that men can actually wear without needing to explain the statement they're trying to make. My one complaint, and it is a fairly big one, is this; I couldn't help but feel that at least some of this collection was taking a cue from Tom Ford's eponymous menswear line. Some of the looks (the all black, the finale of brocade and pink velvet dinner jackets, the velvet shoes in different colors) would look quite at home in his Madison Avenue mecca. Frankly, he owns this suave hyper-masculine/fashion obsessed dandy territory and the D&G boys should be thanking their lucky stars that his clothes are kept largely out of the public eye in his swank boutiques where only clients and truly obsessed wannabes (guess which category I fall in) can see them. If they were being shown on a runway during men's week, I doubt if anyone would miss the striking similarities.

all photos from via OhJane, Nils and Gius at the Fashion Spot