Monday, June 22, 2009

Want. Need. Now...

It's always kind of a good thing that the mens collections for the following spring are shown just before the current summer even hits it's peak. It means that guys like me who love fashion and don't want to wait 'til next year can update our wardrobes as the shows on the runway unfold. I mean, I can't be the only one who does that, can I? The Milan menswear collections for S/S 2010 are under way and so far things are looking up. Maybe it's the current crappy weather that has been hovering over New York for what feels like a month already, but I'm definitely needing a bit of lightness, ease and color, and some of the collections so far are doing a pretty good job of keeping my attention.

Bottega Veneta

There are always those collections, few and far between as they may be, that leave me with no other thoughts but "I like it". It's rare. I'm one of those people who always has a thought on fashion shows, as this blog proves. But this season's Bottega Veneta collection has left me simply liking what I see, no thought process or deeper meaning necessary. To be honest, even if there is some kind of story or message at work in this lineup of looks, I don't care enough. I'm too distracted by the pieces. BV is always a good looking collection, even when it slips into predictability. This season however, on top of looking good, things were also quite a bit less predictable. The mood was a bit more youthful and casual, the colors were more bold and the whole thing came off as kind of playful and (gasp) fun. Leather baseball jackets, colorful polos with contrasting bands around the sleeve, safari jackets, floral wallpaper patterns and tie-dye were some of the things that made an appearance, and that was just within the first 15 looks. There was a great tie-dye cardigan in cocoa brown, sage green and seafoam paired with olive green shorts, tailoring in grapey purple, poppy, and brick, sometimes worn as full suits, other times worn with bright pink or orchid colored v-necks for contrast. Preppy striped fabric was dyed with splotches of blue, red and pink, and a ridiculously gorgeous aubergine washed leather jacket may very well have been designed specifically with me in mind. Seriously, that's one of my absolute favorite colors, and unfortunately it's pretty uncommon for menswear. There was also a leather baseball jacket like the one that opened the show in that same shade of purple with sleeves in pale blue. Soft, drapey tees and fine knits came in a variety of reds, coral and oranges, and were worn with tapestry patterned cropped pants that were oddly cool looking, though they're not exactly a look I'll be trying to replicate. And for evening preppy navy blazers were paired with checked shirts and creased jeans worn cuffed at the hem.

The one thing that I always appreciate about BV, both for men and women, is the ease. Even if it isn't always my taste I like that the clothes always look comfortable and easy to wear an yet completely pulled together. It's worn in and familiar, but never sloppy, the perfect look for a summer wardrobe. The whole collection is filled with pieces that I'd like to own and wear asap. Hell, it even has me wanting to wear bright color, and that, my friends, is huge.


What is it about the exotic clash of cultures and time periods in North Africa that keeps designers so transfixed? I've never been to the region myself, but my fantasy images of sun-bleached villas, bustling souks and barren sand dunes baking in the heat are enough to sustain me. It was this imagery that the Versace collection was drawing on for S/S 2010, and boy did it have an intoxicating effect. Shown in airy shades of white, cream, beige, gray, and khaki with shots of rich tan, inky blue and black the collection was a wonderful mix of ease and formality. The opening look, a crisp white suit with double breasted jacket and wide cut slouchy trousers was worn with a knee-length djellabah/shirt hybrid tunic. A creased suit in buttery cream was worn over a taupe t-shirt that almost, almost had the look of being stained by sweat, but in a romantic, swarthy, non-gross kind of way. A beautiful ivory suit had a jacket with patch pockets on the front taken from safari jackets, and one of those airy tunics worn open underneath. There was a fantastic collarless cardigan (or unstructured jacket, hard to tell) that had toggle closures up the side which was worn with one of the many great looking pairs of pants in the show, not too tight, not too baggy and with a slit at the ankle to help it break over the foot. After the whites and creams came looks in dusty grays, taupes and streaky, tone-on-tone tie dye or reptile skin prints. A matte snakeskin jacket with asymmetric button closure was particularly lust inducing, as were the boys in itty-bitty, teeny-weeny earth and animal print bikinis. When it comes to Milan you've gotta love the guy candy, but that's material for an entirely different kind of blog.

From there the clothes moved from soft, warm earth tones to cool, soothing shades of gray. There was a gauzey dip-dyed button down worn open over a deep v-neck top with pants that had a bit of sheen to them, a streaky printed tunic worn under a dove gray trench, and a sleeveless shirt with military epaulettes paired with wide leg pants. As with the rest of the collection the looks had a languid ease to them, though the color palette was decidedly more urban looking than in the first half of the show. By this point those djellabah/shirt tunics started to seem like a pretty good idea. Honestly if I had Versace-type money burning a hole in my wallet, I wouldn't be entirely opposed to trying the look out. It's very Saint Laurent in Marrakech, lounging on a pile of pillows smoking some kind of pipe or another. The final passage of looks was all in black and geared more towards evening, but even here there was nothing overly formal about the clothes. Options included black and white striped blazers worn over one of those printed, sheer knit collared sweaters, a cardigan with some kind of frogging or toggles down the front (not nearly as silly looking as it sounds) paired with sharp black trousers, and a final version of that omniprescent tunic in glazed black fabric (likely cotton) paired with a classic jacket and pants.

I kinda loved it. The mood was right, the looks were right, the colors and prints were right and best of all the lineup was filled with pants for men who have thighs. But even better than that, the pants were good looking too!!! The whole package was just really desireable. As practical and unthreatening as the clothes and colors are, there's still a sense of fantasy to it all due to the subtle ethnic and militaristic touches. Were I offered whatever lifestyle it is that these clothes portray, I'd be hard pressed to turn it down, especially in this horrendous weather.

All photos from

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