The Spring/Summer 2017 menswear extravaganzas in London, Florence (for Pitti Uomo), Milan and Paris are done and dusted. The industry’s buyers, editors, stylists and various hangers-on spent the best part June hopping from city to city, seeing what the world’s best designers have to offer for the SS17 season.
We’ve covered the season’s essential shows already (of course), but the season still had plenty of interesting tidbits and goings-on to offer — from scandalous rumors to banging soundtracks and raucous parties. The Big Apple’s own men’s week still has a long way to go, by the way, so we’re just focusing on the big European shows here.
Here’s some of the best, worst and most ridiculous moments of the SS17 shows in London, Milan, Florence and Paris.
Absolutely no contest here. The score to Nasir Mazhar’s show was an outrageously heavy collage of grime, garage and bass, produced by NYC’s L-Vis 1990. Fitting for a designer that’s all about celebrating Britain’s thriving underground scene, Mazhar’s audio sledgehammer pretty much punched London in the face on the second day of LC:M.
Honorable mentions: Sunnei dropped Sisqo’s “Thong Song” at their show in Milan, and KENZO’s banging club-house almost, almost made me forget I was sitting in a Parisian marketplace at 10am on a Saturday.
Most Ridiculous Gossip
The industry’s rumor mill was in overdrive this season, as usual. Raf Simons’ appointment at Calvin Klein is hardly even a rumor anymore — it’s suspected to be announced any day now. CK’s PR team still refused to confirm it, but they did let slip that their new designer was a “he.”
Hedi Slimane is thought to be taking over Chanel when Karl Lagerfeld inevitably retires, and some suggested that he’d also be starting a new men’s line for the luxury giant.
Footage of Ian Connor getting punched at colette was highly entertaining, for obvious reasons.
Most scandalous, though, was the suggestion that an unnamed designer, in a fit of rage, had killed one of their employees’ dogs by slamming it against a wall. Another designer is apparently giving stores discounts if their buyers send them dirty underwear.
The Brand To Watch
Fashion shows aren’t cheap — most up-and-coming labels use showrooms instead — but there was still some exciting new talent to be found on the SS17 schedule. Y/Project’s show in Paris collided low-brow taste with innovative cuts, as bombers were dissected and trousers sported hilarious v-shaped fronts, exposing the wearer’s crotch. A glorious celebration of all things kitch and glam.
Honorable mentions: Sunnei’s cool, young, playful fashion was a breath of fresh air on the Milan schedule, which is typically dominated by old Italian giants.
The Collection Anyone Could Wear
Showing on the London schedule but hailing from Sweden, CMMN SWDN’s collection was inspired by a holiday trip to Morocco. It might sound exotic, but there was something for everyone in the brand’s SS17 presentation, which included easy-as-anything pleated pants, striped shirts and zippered polos alongside more adventurous string vests and dusty pink jeans.
While there’s plenty of accessible, mid-ranged brands around these days (the “contemporary” market as buyers call it), CMMN SWDN clinched it with a collection that kept things interesting while still being realistically wearable. Extra points go to the Swedes for the gorgeous belted suede trucker jacket above.
Honorable mentions: Jil Sander and Calvin Klein Collection were both razor-sharp displays of high-end simplicity, while AMI’s everyman clothing scored even higher thanks to its highly agreeable price tag.
The Collection Nobody Could Wear
J.W.Anderson’s menswear line is more of a mad scientist’s lab than a real money-spinner. Anderson’s highly successful womenswear — not to mention his job directing Spanish luxury house Loewe — pays the bills, so his men’s collections are really a way of trying out ideas that may or may not make it into his other projects.
Hardly surprising, then, that the J.W.Anderon show in London was by a long way the weirdest of the SS17 schedule. The show included aprons, steampunk goggles, spray-painted tunics, flight suits, drooping knitted tops with sleeves that nearly touched the floor, and crowns made from plastic building blocks. Not exactly everyday clothing — not even close — but you have to admire Anderson for his unrivaled imagination.
Honorable mentions: Demna Gvasalia’s debut for Balenciaga distorted models into hulking, broad-shouldered beasts and constricted them with skin-tight silhouettes. A masterclass in intricate tailoring, perhaps, but not really the sort of thing anyone would actually want to wear.
Most Lit Party
To celebrate the launch of its debut collection, high-end footwear label BOTH took to David Lynch’s stunning Silencio bar to throw the mother of all parties on the final day of Paris. Virgil Abloh and Cyber69 both supplied the tunes, while guests included various A$AP affiliates, vitiligo mega-babe Winnie Harlow, Luka Sabbat and queer rap figurehead Mykki Blanco.
Honorable mentions: Designer-cum-DJ Marcelo Burlon’s parties are a staple of the Milan schedule. As soon as his show ended, the drinks began flowing, and the likes of Heron Preston dropped tunes alongside Burlon himself. Not so great for anyone unlucky enough to have shows the following day, though (i.e. me).
Most Impressive Venue
For his debut show at Pitti Uomo, Gosha Rubchinskiy managed to find the only Soviet-looking building in Florence: a vast, stunning 1930s tobacco factory that stood in sharp contrast to the rest of the city’s ancient grandeur. The Manifattura Tabacchi’s wide, open courtyard gave Gosha’s boys plenty of space to stomp around in, and hosted a screening of his The Day of My Death film afterwards.
Check out the space in all its brutalist majesty via the video above.
Honorable mentions: Louis Vuitton used the Palais Royal (flex), Y/Project’s show was on a boat and Damir Doma’s ruined townhouse looked like it was from a scene in The Matrix.
I was not expecting this to become a thing, but the SS17 shows were heavy on garments with extra, extra long sleeves. Xander Zhou, J.W Anderson, Liam Hodges, Tourne De Transmission, Marcelo Burlon and Off-White all experimented with their sleeve lengths.
While some looks were genuine experiments with proportions, others bore far too much of a resemblance to Vetements — Demna Gvasalia and co should probably start collecting royalty checks from the amount of floor-length sleeves shown on the SS17 runways.
Fashion show invites are a bit like that business card scene in American Psycho. Brands love to use their invitations to not-so-subtly flex on fashion week attendees, and the clear winner in the SS17 arms race was Gucci.
A cardboard fold-out map on the one side, the invite had punch-out shapes that could be used to play a quick game of snakes and ladders on the reverse — a novel way of killing time in-between shows. Of course, the invites were decorated with all sorts of fantastical imagery, fitting for Alessandro Michele’s whimsical new vision of the house. Most attendees chose to stare into their phones while they waited for the show instead, unfortunately (me included — sorry Alessandro).
Honorable mentions: At the opposite end of the price range, Sunnei’s invite was a hand-written postcard of Milan’s Duomo. Cute.
Best Front Row
PR teams sure love a star-studded front row — just think of all those convenient photo opportunities. Dior Homme’s show in Paris included A$AP Rocky, Nick “Swaggy P” Young, Michael B. Jordan and Karl Lagerfeld among the A-list attendees, but Louis Vuitton’s show at the Palais Royal clinched it.
While every glossy magazine under the sun lost its mind over the thought of David Beckham, Kate Moss and some American football players on the frow, Virgil Abloh was low-key perched next to the OG gods James Jebbia and Hiroshi Fujiwara. Pretty much every streetwear nerd’s wet dream right there.
- Cover Image: Dario Garofalo