It’s showtime! Men’s Fall 2023/24 fashion shows were back to pre-pandemic levels as the menswear pack reunited, first in Florence to kick off Pitti Uomo (Jan. 10-13), then Milan (Jan. 13-17) and then Paris Jan. 17 – 21). For over 50 years, Pitti Uomo has become the beating pulse of men’s fashion and dubbed the “menswear mecca”. In 1972, the first edition of Pitti Uomo took place, showcasing Italian tailoring and style to foreign markets. The biannual event has since become a global stage for the international menswear industry and the largest menswear trade show of its kind. Pitti Uomo is considered pivotal for launching new projects in men’s fashion and in determining future menswear trends.
According to Highsnobiety, “Another strategy that is key to the success of the fair, albeit a serendipitous one, is the prolific street style photography that occurs each season. As the ground zero for menswear style, Pitti is the gathering spot for the most stylish men in the world. It’s basically the Olympics of street style, so it’s no wonder that the elite of menswear, along with the who’s who of street style photographers and wannabe posers flock to the Fortezza da Basso each season to take part in the action.”
Each season a guest designer is chosen to show at Pitti Uomo. Highsnobiety reports, “Organizers travel the world to scout out the best upcoming talent and thought leaders in menswear. A look back across Pitti Uomo’s guest designer list from the past 30 years is like reading who’s who of the most influential names in menswear. Yohji Yamamoto, whose first monographic show also incidentally took place at the festival; Raf Simons has shown twice as has Undercover’s Jun Takahashi“. This season they chose British designer Martine Rose, in her first runway show outside of England. Rose examined the potential crossover of British youth and cultural refinement, as she aimed for the sweet spot, where sharp tailoring cohabitates with beach-to-club seductiveness. “It’s a collection rooted to the soundwave of Italo house music,” Rose stated in her collection notes for the show.
After the Pitti show in Florence, the fashion set hopped to Milan for more men’s fashion. This season there was no holding back as several young designers from across the Channel, and major brands returned to the Milanese calendar such as Gucci, Zegna and K-Way. Here are a few major show moments:
Gucci opened Milan Fashion Week with much anticipation as it was the first season without the brand’s Creative Director Alessandro Michele who served as the creative director for the luxury house since 2002 and who was responsible for the revitalization of the brand. The fall 2023/24 collection was created by the brand’s in-house design team, and was an ode to the luxury house’s greatest hits, from Tom Ford’s Y2K era to ‘80s sportswear, as well as a nod to the ‘70s, with an interpretation of the brand’s coated monogram canvas. It was an uplifting stroll down memory lane.
Meanwhile at Prada, creative directors Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons presented a collection entitled “Let’s Talk About Clothes”. The show was an ode to the ’60s with a heavy focus on boxy tailoring, as well as pieces such as suede jackets and bomber jackets. The collection opened to much fanfare as tailored suits strolled down the runway with contrasting disco collars over blazer lapels and eventually over various outerwear pieces and open-chested cardigans. The design duo also touched on the streetwear trend with their billowing bomber jackets – in cropped and oversized versions –all with a sophisticated hand.
Some of the best outerwear of the season was courtesy of Fendi. Designed by Silvia Venturini Fendi, the collection explored asymmetrical silhouettes with sharp layering that will surely be a hit with the street style influencers. Fendi continued to celebrate the 25 year anniversary of their baguette bag by featuring mens’ versions throughout the show.
JW Anderson had one of the most playful shows during the Men’s Milan Fashion Week as models paraded down the runway carrying pillows, wearing frog sandals, graphic-printed knit underwear, and fluffy long dress tops.
Giorgio Armani, who is almost 90, showed on the last day of Milan Fashion Week. The elegant designer’s collection revisited a style of dress that is rich, quiet, and evocative of a metropolis as somber as it is elegant.
Paris Men’s Fashion Week was in top form with a dynamic season of shows from Dior to Loewe. Here are a few major show moments:
A tale of two Givenchys as designer Matthew M. Williams played with the juxtaposition between exquisite minimalistic tailoring and intriguing mis-matched garments that were a tad too garish.
The suits sported sharp lines, neatly pointed shoulders, and nipped waists that turned the silhouette into an elongated hourglass. They were – the house said – “defiantly unhemmed at the seams.” Black gloves gave these looks a playful yet sinister quality.
“The world has a lot of options for everybody,” Williams said in his collection notes. “That’s what’s so beautiful about Givenchy: a brand that makes T-shirts for young people and then there’s people that want to buy couture tailoring jackets. It hits the whole gamut.”
While Givenchy’s show had mixed reviews, Saint Laurent had an incredible moment during Paris Fashion Week. Designer Anthony Vaccarello presented 46 looks that where both cohesive and struck a chord with the fashion crowd. Vaccarello brought the dark, elongated silhouettes of Saint Laurent’s women’s wardrobe to a gender-fluid and aesthetically precise fall men’s display.
Key looks included floor-sweeping Matrix-style leather coats, chic tuxedo coats, and dramatic bow neckties evoking a New Romantics era.
From dark romance to American Psycho horror (novel by Bret Easton Ellis), this was the inspiration behind Louis Gabriel Nouchi’s collection for his label LGN. A number of looks were styled with shiny black plastic gloves and blood (fake) splattered faces.
Singer Rosalía stunned guests at Louis Vuitton’s dramatic, digital age-themed menswear show with a surprise set atop a vintage 1980s yellow sedan, in shades and a hooded jacket.
Following the devastating death of former artistic director Virgil Abloh in 2021, the Louis Vuitton Men’s Studio has taken over the brand’s creative control. For the luxury house’s fall 2023 show, the set replicated a vintage childhood home recreated inside the Louvre’s oldest courtyard – which showed a continuity with the coming-of-age style that defined Abloh’s aesthetic for the brand.
This season, the youthful studio team and guest designer Colm Dillane, the founder of KidSuper, channeled growing up as members of the first generation raised in the digital age. Patterns conjured encrypted computer coding, while handwritten notes – relics in today’s world – were upcycled to produce a surreal white suit and top hat look constructed entirely of note paper.
At times the collection depended on gimmicks, such as pixelated apples on an otherwise beautiful round-shouldered wool coat, but the best looks were minimalist, such as a light grey suit jacket that sported one large childlike button showcasing masterful construction with interlocking layers of fabric.
Rick Owens stayed true to his gothic, artistic approach to fashion for his fall menswear collection in Paris which was inspired by ancient Egypt – specifically the former pharaonic stronghold of Luxor. Think high pharaonic priest meets high-octane 70s rock star. Throw in some dramatic alien-like spiked shoulders that are now an Owens staple, and you have a devilishly good show.