31 Mad, Glamorous And Half-Naked Happenings At Milan’s Menswear Shows

Man jewelry, Bradley Manning shout-outs, and Philipp Plein hitting the buff model jackpot quite literally. European shows are quite something.

1. Brushing those jail sentences aside, Dolce & Gabbana presented a strong collection rich with intricate prints of Greco-Roman sculpture and paintings.

I covet all of this. And note the use of only vertical stripes — no horizontal ones. Guess how many times any references to the designers’ recent court case were made, audibly, at the show? It’ll be zero. That’s just not how things are done here in Europe.

Quintessentially Mediterranean imagery has been a design feature consistent in the label’s recent menswear collections.

These prints are from the fall/winter 2013 and spring/summer 2013 collections, respectively. There’s only so much of Sicilian history left to mine, though, before you have to start including Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.

2. Also delightfully consistent: shirtless men.

From the show’s finale, which is definitely worth watching via the brand’s now-archived livestream.

You’re welcome.
#sixpackswagger.

Oh, yes, and there was that streaker in sneakers.


And only sneakers, obviously. The event, while Instagram-worthy, proved to be a bit of a flash in the fashion pan. (Emphasis: flash). By the following day’s shows, the stunt barely featured in showgoers’ conversations.

3. Ever the trendsetter, Donatella Versace took inspiration from this.

Kinesiology tape, specifically.

Versace’s buff models walked with strips of kinesiology tape accentuating their already enviable muscles.

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Let’s all hope Donatella insisted on applying the strips to each model personally, because that would be such a Donatella thing to do. And yes, people in the audience could be heard making jokes about massaging out the models’ tension and/or fake sporting injuries.

4. In more fun audience reactions: At least one guest at the show made a motion as if to clap for this jumpsuit, but then stopped themselves just in time.

Tradition dictates clapping here, there, and everywhere at European shows. But this is too much.

Of the models cast in Milan’s shows thus far, Versace’s runway lineup seemed to impress guests (including yours truly) the mostest. And not just because of their Speedos.

6. Also: When I purchased a bottle of Diet Coke from a Milanese newsstand, the vendor exclaimed “aah, Versace!” enthusiastically and proceeded to show me the waistband of his Versace boxer briefs.

7. I’m still in love with the Prada show and its jaunty lounge music.

In a set that resembled the sort of private Southwestern gallery space that doesn’t need to advertise its work because its owners are above that sort of thing, models walked the in slouchy, loose tailored separates Miuccia does so, so very well. The clothes: tropical-themed florals and prints so authentically retro that your dad will have worn them on family beach holidays of years past, though less the hues of a tropical cocktail and more those of a tropical storm.

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Prada’s inspirations: “[exploring] the cliché of the exotic — and the cliché of summer.”

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That might explain why top male model Clement Chebernaud looked a bit moist. (Any summery cliché involves sweating on a cheap and sandy sun lounger.)

8. Those guys from your freshman-year classes who’d always layer long-sleeved tees under their sporty polos? They’re on trend, all of a sudden.

(They’d hate to know that, though, so don’t tell them.)

9. Oh, and Miuccia included a small selection of womenswear looks in her menswear collection, because you can bring the unusual to the runway without the unusual involving Pixie-Stix couture and teacup piglets.

Some designers would have made their male models wear the women’s clothing too. But not Miuccia.

Pictured center, Kenyan-born British model Malaika Firth received particular acclaim from showgoers. (By acclaim, I mean a lot of the good kind of pointing, whispering, and Twitpic-taking.) Signed with Premiere Models in London, Firth is stunning; though a Prada exclusive’s career is often a fleeting one, Firth’s potential suggests otherwise.

10. Former YSL designer Stefano Pilati presented his debut menswear collection for Ermenegildo Zegna.

(YSL, back in its pre-Saint Laurent days, somewhat infamously ousted Pilati and brought in Hedi Slimane as his replacement.) The slouchy Italian separates proved popular with the crowd at Zegna, and certainly presented an aesthetic the designer himself appreciates:

Because this is Stefano’s outfit. If there’d have only been one or two other bearded models on the runway, he’d have fit right in.

11. Yes, that is a small child DRESSED ALL IN WHITE sitting front row.

There will always be small children dressed all in white at front row at fashion shows, sitting bored on a fashion parent’s lap because some people (read: said fashion parents) don’t know when to stop gloating over the fact(s) that:
1) Their offspring are too well-behaved to spill freshly pressed apple and ginseng juice from their Swarovski crystal-encrusted sippy cups on themselves, and/or:
2) On the instances when spills do occur, they’re well-connected enough to head backstage and wipe the mess up with, in this instance, new Zegna-brand silk shirts. Furthermore:
3) There’s also at least one nanny stationed nearby, perhaps in the standing section, with wet wipes and child-sized Karl Lagerfeld x Mamas and Papas shades.

12. Also, these models appeared to have ripped down some of the backstage modesty curtains.

You can tell they’re rebels because they’re also wearing sunglasses. But, actually, they’re not — it’s just a scarf/wrap big enough to double as your picnic blanket.

13. Anna Dello Russo attended the Salvatore Ferragamo show in bright pink ostrich feathers. Very restrained, by her standards.

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Unfortunately I got lost on the way to Ferragamo, so I missed the media circus surrounding her grand entrance. (For “got lost,” read: stopped for gelato and spilled some on myself because I am not as elegant as the aforementioned fashion child. I had to go home and change.)

14. For some strange reason, Glee’s Mark Salling also showed up. Very few people seemed to recognize him (without his character’s Mohawk, that is).

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How many actors had to turn the Ferragamo team down before Puck’s number came up? Not that we’re implying there’d be any reason for his presence other than a genuine love of fashion, though.

15. Some better-quality front-row bait: male model Godfrey Gao.

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Everyone loved his sharp salmon pink suit. Everyone loved him, period.

Let’s pause to appreciate Godfrey a little bit.

This is a nice pause, isn’t it?

16. And back to tenuous celebrity connections at Ferragamo: One awful hairstyle made this poor model look like he’s wearing one of Rihanna’s old flat-ironed wigs.

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17. And though the show was otherwise clean-cut and well-received, these sandals are a no:

Vittorio Zunino Celotto / Getty Images

Look for our “trends that just shouldn’t” sandals special. It’s coming.

18. Meanwhile, the Missoni show included models with scraggly beards.

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19. This wonderful gold suit closed the Costume National Homme show.

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Gold leaf: No longer just a vehicle for overpriced desserts at the Cheesecake Factory. In fact, it looks a little bit like the model has a gold-flecked mustache too, which is a laudable commitment to matching metallics.

20. Fun fact: When you search for “Costume National Homme” on Getty Images right now, this is one of the first results.

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This is also one of the best results, the above gold suit notwithstanding. Getty’s explanation for this magical celluloid moment: “A man dressed in a St George costume rides past crowds waiting for the arrival of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge on a motocycle decorated as a dragon at the National Fishing Heritage Centre in Grimsby, England.”

And quite frankly this is something that’s missing from European menswear shows. The crazy needs to be upped a little on occasion.

21. Speaking of: Isabeli Fontana opened Philipp Plein’s show and pulled the lever on a giant slot machine. What fun!

And yes, seriously, this sort of nonsensical excess is always welcome among the parade of gray-suiting European menswear shows all too often default to.

Plein’s first model then opened the show with some GIF-worthy (bad) dance moves.

The audience? All clapping, because hot guys warrant applause regardless.

Most of the guys in the front row are on cruise control, as this lovely GIF illustrates.

22. Sadly there was to be no more dancing, as Plein’s show continued in all its “bad-boy Bieber” glory.

Bieber doesn’t dance no more because his pants are too baggy and he might trip over mid-pirouette or whatever. Bonus Bieber lyric: “Oh I don’t need too much, just a studded denim jacket to love.”

Plein also showed more underwear, because why should Dolce & Gabbana get to have all the fun?

23. And that model who looks like Jon Snow showed up looking like he’d come right off a DSquared2 catwalk from seasons past.

24. Whereas this fine fellow from the Trussardi show looked like he’d walked straight off the cover shoot for one of those extra-risqué Harlequin novels.

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25. The New York Times ran a fascinating piece last week on the prestige that comes with a spot in the Calvin Klein Collection runway show.

Writes Guy Trebay:


Models in a Calvin Klein show are placed under exclusive contracts that restrict them from appearing on any other runways; are flown to Milan; put up in hotels rather than the overcrowded crash pads that are standard model housing; and paid for their time and talents at a figure experts estimate at about $10,000, a particularly lavish sum when the industry standards have dwindled. Many male models can now hope to earn no more than 350 euros (or about $454 at the current exchange rate) to appear on top runways.

Most of those “exclusives” in the the sky blue–themed show: prototypical Aryan farm boys, a little gaunt from all their hard work in the fields.

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But both the show’s black models (yes: there were two) have walked in other men’s shows this season, though.

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Henry Watkins (left) walked in both Versace and Philipp Plein only a day before the Calvin Klein show; Jourdan Copeland (right) took to the runways for many of London’s menswear shows this season also. We reached out to Calvin Klein to ask why their models of color weren’t on/didn’t warrant exclusive contracts, but have yet to hear back.

26. Jil Sander teased us all with the possibility of Milanese men in skirts — sure, this sort of madness is prevalent in London, but try telling Italians it’s kilt or be killed…

Sadly, these are just particularly voluminous shorts. Men’s culottes, if you will, with crisp hems large enough to store your packed lunch — not that you could ever wear these to the office.

27. And alongside a collection full of black-and-white checkerboard prints, Neil Barrett presented the short suit all fashion-forward lumberjacks will be clamoring for next spring.

Faux lumberjacks (aka hipsters still wearing plaid, because they’re out there) will likely beat them to Barrett’s boutiques, however.

28. Vivienne Westwood just loved Dame Maggie Smith’s performance in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, so her latest menswear collection came with a distinctive, if refined, Indian flavor.

29. And some man jewelry for good measure.

30. Ever the provocateur, some of Westwood’s models also walked with badges featuring Bradley Manning’s photo and the word “TRUTH” in bold white letters.

(She’d tried to get a matching set with photos of Edward Snowden and the word “DARE” but the printers just weren’t quick enough.)

Invites to the show featured the same photo of Manning — perhaps a primer for well-known guests, many of whom seemed to have suitably generic and not sound bite–worthy responses ready for the inevitable “Are you team Bradley?” questions posed by press in attendance.

If you were hoping for clueless fashion folk to say, “Oh, yes, I love what he’s doing with knitwear this season,” then you’d be disappointed.

Here’s a photo from backstage at Vivienne Westwood just because.

Pier Marco Tacca / Getty Images

And Westwood also took her bow wearing one of the badges. She wore a similar badge (in a plastic sleeve, to avoid any water damage) to last month’s Met Ball.

Don’t think she’s forgotten her status as an eco-warrior now that Bradley is her most prominent current “cause celebrite,” though. She still had the phrase “climate revolution” on her tights.

Dame Vivienne has championed Manning consistently since his recent, trial-centric return to the headlines.

“Dear Bradley Manning, poor little sod, he’s fantastic.” Warm words indeed.

31. And then the cricket player models at Thom Browne’s Moncler Gamme Bleu show all wore black lipstick.

Victor Boyko / Getty Images

Anonymous didn’t tweet about it.

Let’s be honest, cricket is incredibly boring. If a little bit of makeup livens things up when you’re sick of waiting in the outfield for someone to actually hit the damn ball, it’s for the best.

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And considering Chanel’s recent resort collection, cricket pads will beat out even ridiculous sandals as next year’s most terrible trend.

Look out for street-style people assaulting each other with Chanel-branded cricket bats in their quest to capture Tommy Ton’s attention next February during New York Fashion Week.

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