The first day of Milan and you’d be forgiven for thinking it was going to be a lighter schedule than normal, given that some brands chose not to show or rather to pair with their women’s shows (the wider reaching results of which we’ll discuss another time). But despite the many changes and musical chairs being played out among the creative heads at European menswear luxury brands, Milan was as busy and forthright in its display of the current direction of menswear as ever before. As our Online Editor noted in his reflections on the curious style of Pitti Uomo, it’s quite clear that luxury men’s style has evolved. This applies to both the sartorial domain but particularly to casualwear, in that we’ve seen a relaxation in the former and an elevation in the latter to create a current contemporary silhouette of louche unstructured suiting with simple styling elements and significant sporting details.
Ralph Lauren Purple Label
When traditional sartorial authority, Ralph Lauren, presents a collection that embraces perfect imperfections and a softer, more relaxed silhouette, then this paradigm shift in menswear is more than official. This look shows their current direction using garment-dyed and delicately textured silk and linens in tonal combinations for a contemporary take on a traditional double-breasted look, especially when worn with a simple T-shirt and summer shoe of choice, the espadrille.
This season’s signature deconstructed suit is the Kei suit, here shown in malfilé fabric, in that the warp and weft are both visible producing a textured, three-dimensional effect. Note also the soft deconstruction and patch pockets for a contemporary look.
The summer crew knitted sweater is without doubt a thing. Worn alone for a clean, simple look, invest in a lightweight version for summer evenings.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the brand and also the 15th of Creative Director, Tomas Maier’s tenure and this season his decadent take on luxury is more apparent than ever through his use of silk in suits and lightweight coats on a simple layer of a cashmere jumper or superfine T-shirt. There was a slight retro appeal about some of the shorter cardigan-style knitted jumpers but it is the tonal silk suits that most effortlessly showed the elegance of the house’s unstructured silhouette.