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Milan men's fashion week loosens constraints and shows some skin

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Credits: Image: Valentino Menswear SS24 Finale via Spotlight Launchmetrics

Menswear, the second largest segment in the apparel industry in terms of global sales, is poised to experience substantial revenue growth from 2022 to 2027. According to data from Statista, the market is projected to achieve an annual growth rate of 2.95 percent, with sales reaching nearly 570 billion dollars in 2023.

The recent Milan men's fashion week, which culminates today, demonstrated that commercial fashion, formal wear, and contemporary style can coexist seamlessly, transcending the boundaries of separate communities and customer bases. The beginning of the menswear season showcased not only the establishment of new standards in tailoring, such as soft deconstructed shoulders and uber short shorts but also the introduction of a new sartorial language characterised by fewer constraints, innovation, and a bolder display of skin.


Valentino, under the creative director of Pierpaolo Piccioli, further explored a design concept initially unveiled at the Met Gala last month. where actor Pedro Pascal donned a striking look of fitted shorts paired with a tailored coat, school-boy socks, a crisp shirt and a tie, igniting a social media frenzy. In Milan, a similar outfit set the stage at the Valentino show, albeit in white instead of the iconic Valentino red worn by Mr. Pascal.

The distinctive look made appearances in various iterations throughout the collection, featuring vibrant hues of green, pink, and azure. Notably, long coats with drop-down shoulders, some subtly embroidered with monochrome florals on the front panel, were worn over shorts. The prevalence of shorts, along with skirts, served as a common thread in Mr. Piccioli's collection, signifying a fresh tailoring sentiment that has been reverberating throughout the week.

Credits: Image: Valentino Menswear SS24 Look 33 via Spotlight Launchmetrics


DSquared2 also embraced a new sartorial sentiment, drawing inspiration from the playful aspects of 90s fashion. However, this time, the brand presented an unadulterated version in which both the garments covering the body and the exposed portions communicated with equal resonance. The collection featured an abundance of skin, from sparkly briefs and low-slung jeans to shredded t-shirts revealing toned torsos. Some looks required boxers only, specifically when paired with calf-high socks and trainers. As Donna Summer's "Love to Love You Baby" played in the background, Dan and Dean Caten, the enigmatic twin founders of DSquared2, demonstrated their understanding of the allure of sensuality and that sex sells. This season they also showed they know how to package it.

Credits: Image: DSquared2 Menswear SS24 Look 26 via Spotlight Launchmetrics


Brioni, renowned for its exquisite tailoring and premium fabrics, for Spring Summer 2024 chose to veer away from passing trends, instead prioritising the timeless essence of fashion—where substance exudes style, but not necessarily the other way around.

In this collection, Brioni's creative director, Norbert Strumpfl, emphasised desirability through impeccable cuts and luxurious materials. Strumpfl carefully handpicked fabrics such as silk cashmere, suede, wool, and cotton for their inherent beauty and enduring quality. The art of tailoring took center stage, with the jacket serving as the collection's focal point.

Here lightweight wools, cottons and silk dominated, with the sleeves casually rolled up, as if to convey the message that sartorial elegance and refined attire need not be synonymous with rigid constraints.

Instead, the garments effortlessly adapt to the demands of modern lifestyles, striking a balance between relevancy and relaxation even for daytime wear. Brioni's collection showcased the notion that dressing well transcends the realm of the flaneur.

Credits: Image: Brioni menswear SS24 via Spotlight Launchmetrics

Emporio Armani

It wasn’t until look 30 that the ink, black and beige garments of the first section were interspersed with greige, a hue Armani has defined and owned since the eighties.

As one of Italy’s most revered – and consistent – designers, Mr Armani, who is now in his late eighties, has defined what it is to dress with unrestricted elegance. It was Mr Armani that put women in men’s tailoring, ripping up the codes of traditional suiting and delivering a pared-back palette of beige, navy and neutrals with fabrics so fluid they appear to be made for the body.

In a nod to the upcoming Paris games and Italy's finest Olympic and Paralympic athletes, the collection also drew inspiration from the East. The central motif of the show was the ginkgo leaf, symbolising longevity, resilience, enlightenment, balance, natural beauty, and cultural significance—qualities that mirror the essence of Emporio Armani and its founder. Mr. Armani has long sought inspiration from Asia, where clean lines, understated elegance, and simplicity have been intrinsic to his designs. His exploration of the yin and yang philosophy, the delicate equilibrium between opposing forces, further demonstrates his commitment to finding harmony through considered design.

Credits: Image: Emporio Armani Menswear SS24 Look 21 via Spotlight Launchmetrics


Miuccia Prada has long been renowned for her ability to tap into the spirit of the times, intertwining political landscapes, artistic influences, academic musings, and collective emotions to create garments that strike a delicate balance between high desire and a lo-fi aesthetic.

In their latest collection, for Spring Summer 2024, Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons aimed to encapsulate a sense of absolute freedom for the body, manifested through the very foundations of the clothing that adorns it. However, this notion of freedom appeared somewhat contrived, as the styling of the exaggerated shoulder and cinched waist felt tricksy and more aligned with other luxury houses than Prada itself.

Prada, once equally futurist as it was timeless, if not the leading expert at perverting the classic into modern desirables, has veered with this collection's exaggerated styling to come across as gimmicky rather than liberating.

One may question whether amplifying the shoulder truly offers liberation for the wearer. Are overly detailed utility garments a tale of deconstruction and re-construction, or have they become archetypes fueled by superficial trends that merely drive sales, rather than leading the narrative in menswear? Why was sleeve length juxtaposed with short length? (The shorter the shorts, the longer the sleeves).

As Prada navigates this juxtaposition of freedom and gimmickry, it remains to be seen if this collection proves to simply be a revenue burner or remembered for its incredible set featuring curtains of water and slime.

Credits: Image: Prada Menswear S24 Look 23 via Spotlight Launchmetrics
Emporio Armani
Milan Fashion Week Men's