FALL MENSWEAR: DOLCE & GABBANA

MILAN – domenico & stefano take the cake, every season, for their outstanding male model casting. the runway shows really play a large role for the company as it allows new faces & known faces to share the same stage acting as a forecast for who is on the label’s radar. with design signatures heavily based on sensuality, formal attire & italian, old world charm- the dolce & gabbana label has taken the past three seasons to pay tribute to their home base of italy. of the most prestigious labels in milan, designers domenico & stefano both present another inspired collection which will definitely have a large presence on the editorial circuit.

skinny ties, black three piece suits & capes announced the opening of the collection’s sequence for the FW12 dolce & gabbana menswear show. initially, i looked at the collection thinking that it would just be another dolce re-run but was surprised when a conceptual focus came into the light beyond the first opening looks. paperboy caps entered the runway following the first few formal looks as the collection seemed to move backwards into time with each look. soon coats, blazers & a bit of grey entered the, at first, black & white palette. hemlines on the collections pants seemed to draw upward as scarves & embroidered detailing made it’s way onto the runway one male model at a time. dolce has become known for their use of sensuality & this season was no different, considering the long john/undergarment looks that again reappeared for this season’s menswear collection. commending the casting of the show, a wide range of ethnicities was seen on the runway while masculinity played the largest role in the collection. as flamboyant as the dolce & gabbana archives have been, i really appreciate the sense of reinterpretation that i’ve seen these past few seasons with how they represent this man, they’ve created, in outfitting him in classic attire.

the beautiful embroidered detailing that had slowly entered the collection became intensified as the collection progressed; design lines on coats became much more length, textiles were given added depth as wool pieces were paired with leather accessories & cable knit sweaters. it was a roundabout of style classics, yet again, for the gabbana guys as timeless appeal was felt most throughout the fall collection. strict in palette, the collection remained cohesive in it’s use of black, white & grey with the embroidery of the collection adding hints of yellow & shades of dulled gold into the other wise gloomy menswear set. just as you thought the palette would remain tame, the collection swelled with sexuality as a few more looks appeared with models adam senn walking the catwalk shirtless. no doubt an expected moment of showmanship for the label, a balance of classic & the unexpected were weaved into the show sequence perfectly. in terms of a show, dolce & gabbana continue to raise the bar in more ways than one, from design concepts, to model casts & overall theme. worn leather was seen in the collection’s accessories, which again played nice with the old world, italian theme the label has favored for the past few seasons. i love that the label has scaled things back, in terms of being too progressive. it’s always nice to see something a bit futuristic or ahead of the curb but there’s nothing like classic, high art inspiration to bring a little sense of nostalgia. mindful in sequence, the show grew to it’s greatest moment of regality at the back end as design intricacies were seen in their greatest shining moment. heavily embroidery & excellently detailed, the collection’s last looks were perhaps the most theatrical & were the best, being that they were saved for last. overall, the collection was beautifully conceptualized & really capitalized on the labels italian heritage, which i can always appreciate. [source]

FALL MENSWEAR: VALENTINO

MILAN – 50 years ago this season, valentino garavani showed his first collection in florence, italy. his 1962 debut set the tone for international interest & the historical presence of the house of valentino. considered a maestro of italian couture at the time, the house of valentino has seen many modernizations & many business changes. from worldwide brand expansion to stakes purchased & ultimately shape shifting the label, the italian based brand is one of extreme value in fashion. while valentino, himself, is no longer with the company; current creative directors, maria grazia chiuri & pierpaolo piccioli have done well in their appointment & have allowed the label to take on a reinvigorated direction. though reinvigorated, both chiuri & piccioli have remained true to the valentino signature, having both worked alongside the italian design maven for over a decade. in an effort to allow their label to have a stronger presence in high fashion, the label has taken greater strides in re-introducing their menswear label on the global stage. after presenting off-runway collections for a few seasons now, this runway show marks the official re-entry of the valentino menswear line into men’s fashion week. presented as the first collection of many to follow this season in milan.

i loved the collection for it’s classical & modern feel. the valentino label has a strong history rooted in modern sophistication & in the last few year, womenswear has soaked the spotlight. amidst the expected fall coats were white shirt/black tie combination looks as the palette drew you in a bit more. the collection hoses a number of caped coats that i was incredibly obsessed with by the end of the show. the collection seems to play nice with the unspoken rules of menswear & tailoring was done in a perfected, precise manner. perhaps the most inspiring aspect of the collection were the men’s accessories; most menswear lines are heavily based on coats, pants or ties but accessories are what allow a brand to really expand, considering that they can act as bait for consumers in both the middle & upper tiers of the market. lined by projection screens, the runway was dowsed with deep maroons & heavy forest greens with the regular cameo notes of white & black being balanced with husky greys. as one designer womenswear label which i love, not even just for design but for the emotional connection i’ve established with the company itself; im extrememly excited to see that a greater effort to produce menswear & to promote the line is now being taken by the house of valentino. it’s always astonishing to me, labels that dominate in creative concepts through womenswear & couture always seem a bit dulled with menswear. well balanced, the menswear collection could easily be presented alongside any valentino womenswear look & appear handsomely as a male counterpart. a perfect time to be re-introduced, im now fully excited about the house of valentino’s upcoming collections of couture & womenswear. this set the tone for what i expect & love of menswear, incredibly well. i would, literally, wear every piece in this collection- as it speaks to the classic/minimalist/sophisticated dude in me.

PRE-FALL COLLECTIONS: PEDRO LOURENÇO

PARIS – there are very few moments during show season where my heart stops. pedro lourenço’s pre-fall collection was one of them. initially, the creative process of creating a post is a collective of different motions far beyond me just sitting here talking shit about the collection. in the evolution of my presence as a writer & more specifically, a fashion writer, i have gradually taken more & more time to sit & allow my thoughts to rise after seeing the collection. consciously, i kept this particular collection aside intending to close the pre-fall review segment on a high note. while i’ve gone to greater lengths to stray away from anything other than dope. the particularly amazing thing about pedro lourenço, he is a literally child prodigy. as one of my absolute favorites of the pre-fall season, lourenç0’s skill set has been many years in the making, beginning since he learned how to sew as a toddler. as the child of two parents whom are designers, lourenço impressively has been professionally designing since he was 12 years old & presented his first collection in 2003. having presented collections in his native of brazil, at sao paolo fashion week. his design talents have been lended to seven collections & in 2005, he established his own namesake label, pedro lourenço. at the age of 16 years old, pedro made the decision to abandon the runway to complete his studies in french to follow with studies in art history in paris. following that departure, pedro quickly re-emerged to the runway where he continues to gain praise as one of the best young designers in fashion today.

for the pre-fall season, now at the age of 21, lourenço reveals his latest collection. artfully inspired season after season, pedro is what designers of the new school are made of. call me biased, but young, new designers bring a sense of renewed perspective- they keep things fresh. over the past few seasons, lourenço’s modern design signature has remained sharp & vivid. this season, clean cut design lines again rule this lourenço collection as a milky toned palette is seen against vivid ombré’d pieces & iceberg prints. as a lover of design structure & someone who looks for a sense of deviation from the norm, i loved the collection for it’s concise approach to refined, reformed & modernized style. from beautiful mirror tinted sunglasses to the presence of layered textiles- there was an unending amount of amazing conceptual elements to this collection. use of faux fur & patent leather in place of using products that harm animals were seen, which showcases lourenço’s responsibility to the world around him. the palette of the collection rose with those ever so chic milky tones & then surged into a deep color set of navy, beige, brown & black- which i completely loved from start to finish. while use of color was seen, it wasn’t overwhelming, like some collections this pre-season & it actually complimented the clothes rather than distract from them. overall, the direction of the collection is strong & acts as a powerful message of design strength even in the pre-season. standing ovation to lourenço, i am completely inspired.  [source]