The Tipping Point
So we’ve now decamped to Milan from Pitti Uomo in Florence and I have to say it’s like moving from A Room With A View to Metropolis. I’d forgotten what an urban sprawl Milan is or just how many unhappy memories come flooding back on rolling into Milano Centrale station. When I was writing runway reports for the Financial Times and Independent newspapers many moons ago, I was both grateful and conscientious. I was also minus the budget for the Principe hotel or a driver. So Milan for me means sweat on the Metro, fleapit hotels on the Via Scarlatti and a return to London having lost a stone, drunk my body weight in Chianti and earned about £250 for filing two reports a day for the week. One season my Better Half said he’d pay me £500 just to stay at home. So I did.
This visit is to see one show – Canali – for a project then out. Sure, there are fonder memories of Milan seasons’ past: cocktails at the Diana hotel after one of Tom Ford’s fabulous Gucci menswear shows and the night Donatella turned the Palazzo Versace into a casino with Carmen Kass as the croupier and Boy George in the DJ booth. Dolce & Gabbana’s shows were always, always a hoot even if not always in the best possible taste. Speaking of which, I’m staying in a hotel that would make Philippe Starck look minimalist in comparison. The hotel corridors look like a mash-up between a Roberto Cavalli boutique and a gay bordello in Miami.
Thoughts naturally turn back to Florence and lessons learnt for the future of menswear. It is very clear to me that the Hedi Slimane/Thom Browne drainpipe jeans silhouette has reached an extreme and now looks peculiar rather than cool. Savile Row is still the reference for the Pitti peacocks who make-up the passing show that is Pitti Uomo. But one can’t help thinking a tipping point has been reached. Thrilling though it is that the Duke of Windsor is a reference for young men of all nationalities, do admit that even the dandy Duke didn’t throw so many accessories at a single outfit as the fashionable set today. I enjoy a linen pocket square, a check tie with a stripe shirt, a Panama hat, Ray-Bans, tie studs, cuff links, boutonnieres and bow ties…but all in the same look?
The mad clashes of tartan, stripe, check, colour blocking, dandy accessories, skinny pants and brogues or loafers worn sockless is not so much lively as hypomanic. I feel men’s fashion may have to calm down. The winners at Pitti Uomo were the men who have moved on from the extreme slim silhouette and balance colours such as China blue with the calmest of neutrals. The men who dressed in a breezy, understated and elegant fashion made all those eccentrics chasing the Bloggers’ cameras look rather desperate and clownish in comparison.
Until next time,