Show reviews: Highlights from MMFW fall/winter 2016 — Day 4

Show reviews: Highlights from MMFW fall/winter 2016 — Day 4

Milan men’s fashion week

Text: Norman Tan

On the last day of Milan Men’s Fashion Week, Dan and Dean Caten fused Japanese culture with Scottish tradition, while Giorgio Armani reminded us of the enduring appeal of navy

Urban jungle: The Scuola Militare Teulié — a prestigious military school of the Italian army — was transformed into an urban jungle of towering bamboo trees back-dropped by a large LED screen projecting the brand name 'DSQUARED' row upon row in bright fluorescent green letters. There was no mistaking which show you were attending. Dan and Dean Caten surely don't do things in half measures. 

East meets West: The invitation, with its hyper sexual manga characters and words "Be Illegal", "Staying Power" and "Punk" scribbled in graffiti text across the card, gave away that Japanese culture (and especially it's street wear) was going to be a strong design inspiration for fall/winter 2016. On the runway, this translated into a white judo jacket worn under a navy blazer in look 2, kabuki prints splashed on imperial red satin used for oversized hooded parkas in looks 11 and 15, and floral blossoms reimagined as electric green and hot pink balls appliquéd onto leather jackets in looks 20 and 22. But what about the pleated half-skirts tied around stovepipe trousers and jeans? The twins later revealed that it was a hybrid of Samurai skirts and the pleated volume of Scottish kilts; which explains the otherwise incongruous introduction of green tartan in the closing looks. In short, it was the attitude and energy of the East fused with the construction and tradition of the West. 

The soundtrack: An equally trans-cultural playlist that included The Vapors' kitschy Turning Japanese, Juno Reactor's melancholic Pretty Girl, and Queen's Another One Bites The Dust.

The inspiration: A dapper and hat-wearing William S. Burroughs — a key member of the Beat Generation and celebrated American novelist and writer for his cut-up technique of post-modernist literature. 

Blue is the warmest colour: Giorgio Armani reminded us of the enduring appeal of navy. From his opening exit of a double-breasted military coat to his iconic soft-shoulder blazers — whether worn with a waistcoat (look 49) or simply thrown over a buttoned-up Henley (look 59) — it was a succession of classic yet elongated silhouettes cast in various shades of blue; a rehashing of the designer's best hits told through the aesthetic of Burroughs' eccentric life. Full-length cardigans (that doubled as capes) reflected the author's period as a refugee in Tangier (look 21 and 22), while ethnic motifs taken from the Mediterranean and North Africa applied to sweaters, collars and cuffs (look 23 and 24) spoke of Burroughs' nomadic life. Favourite look? The refined ease of the wide-lapel double-breasted coat layered long over a waistcoat and tee, but anchored with truncated trousers and finished, ever so dashingly, with a pork-pie hat and round-rim spectacles. 

FROW action: Chinese actor and singer Chen Kun, English actor Dan Stevens (you know him as Matthew Crawley in Downton Abbey), and Gladiator himself, Russell Crowe.

For all coverage of Milan Men's Fashion Week, click here

To revisit London Collections: Men, click here