Retailers: Goodbye Streetwear, Hello Relaxed Tailoring

Fendi, Versace, Marni, Etro and Zegna were among the collections that stood out for retailers.


MILAN Retailers are saying goodbye to streetwear and logos for spring, embracing relaxed tailoring and plays on colors and textures.

“It’s been a strong season in Milan with a return to a softer, cleaner approach to dressing,” said Justin Berkowitz, Bloomingdale’s men’s fashion director. “While the streetwear influence has mostly gone by the wayside, we have seen some lasting effects of the overall casualization of a man’s wardrobe parse out to interesting combinations of soft tailoring and sportswear in relaxed, easy volumes.”

Despite a slimmer calendar and coming after a busy Pitti Uomo, the general consensus was that this was a standout season for Milan, where there was a lot of talk about sustainability and nature. Fendi’s charming setting in the serene gardens of the city’s Royal Villa was universally praised. And references to desert imagery abounded, together with color palettes that ranged from sandy shades to pastel and burnished hues.

Utilitarian workwear and bright prints were also strong trends, as were vests and bombers.

Here, retailers’ take on the four days of the Milan season:

Roopal Patel, Saks Fifth Avenue senior vice president, fashion director: 

Favorite collections: Fendi was one of our favorite collections, shown at the picturesque Villa Reale. The uniformity and play on cargo dressing and workwear along with neutrals and denim were fresh and directional. Kiton was another favorite. The collection redefined the sense of luxe tailoring with a whimsical play on colors and textures. Versace’s show at Via Gesù was bold and exciting. The race car sculpture, covered with pink flowers and matching pink catwalk, was the perfect backdrop for the collection, brimming with vibrant patterns mixed with leopard, leather, denim and tie-dye. Palm Angels had amazing variety with a plethora of color, prints and texture. The spring collection had a mix of skate influences with pops of tie-dye and Hawaiian, punchy patterns. Felt like the perfect vibe for summer.

Top trends: A color palette of new neutrals, such as shades of white, beige, khaki and cargo, continued to rule the runway. Shades of orange from bright and bold to more burnished were also prevalent. Safari dressing, such as jackets, head-to-toe neutrality and one-piece jumpsuits, dominated the runways. We saw island life dressing with tropical and campy prints. Prints were everywhere this season, from tropical to island-inspired prints with coconuts and bananas. Leopard prints were definitely strong. We also saw nautical-inspired pieces, from double-breasted navy jackets to striped knits and suits. There was a strong return to novelty pants. We saw khaki, belted, cargo, khaki joggers and pinstripe styles. There was a variety of loafers, from driving to kiltie loafers in suede to leather – some with tassels – as well as boat shoes and espadrilles. Denim! – treated, ripped or aged. Denim was definite a trend this season.

Must-have item: Fendi’s accessories.

Say bye-bye to: Logos. We’re seeing less and less logos for spring.

Best venue: Fendi’s picturesque show, complete with wicker chairs and straw picnic baskets serving us breakfast, at Milan’s Villa Reale was a beautiful start to my day. The entire show was very serene.

Justin Berkowitz, Bloomingdale’s men’s fashion director: 

Favorite collections: Ermenegildo Zegna started off Milan with a strong showing at perhaps the most incredible venue of the week — the Falck iron mill — which, including a sudden downpour and lingering flashes of lightning in the distance, translated to a fairly fantastic, post-apocalyptic scene. The washed-out tones and unexpected combinations showed Alessandro Sartori’s keen sense of color, and the plays on proportion — big blousons over skinny pants, tailoring in multiple different silhouettes — felt fresh and modern. Francesco Risso at Marni continues to hit his stride with strong collections that have an offbeat nature and quirky charm. This season’s “meeting” of Truman Capote and Che Guevara led to interesting looks that leaned Fifties preppy and trippy military, respectively. A lot of great ideas, especially the trippy flower power riff on camou. Ralph Lauren’s collection at Purple Label — specifically, the contrast of the grouping of looks in bold colors like yellow, green and pink, contrasted with another grouping of looks in soft neutrals — was a savvy approach to appeal to a broad range of customers. There was a little something for the bold bon vivant and a little something for the quiet sophisticate.

Key trends: While I hesitate to call it a trend, the word sustainability has been on the lips of many, including Zegna, Marni, Corneliani, and, of course, Stella McCartney. As we are an industry that needs to acknowledge our impact on the environment, it is wonderful to see many designers focusing on this. At Corneliani, Canali, Marni, Dsquared2, Neil Barrett and Fendi, utilitarian workwear and military themes — in shades of olive, khaki, and sand — have been prevalent this season. Field jackets, trenches, chore coats, and cargo pants in cotton, specifically. Soft, romantic color has been quite prevalent. Often expressed in a desert theme, the focus is less on pastels and more on sun-washed, desaturated tones. As seen at Zegna, Etro and Massimo Alba — they felt grown up, sophisticated and approachable.

Federica Montelli, Rinascente fashion director: 

Favorite collections: Fendi, Dolce & Gabbana, Marni, Santoni, Eleventy.

Top trends: The return to a new approach in tailoring carries on from last season in this spring 2020, with a light and relaxed feeling. It’s mostly a “city-safari” vibe, with connection to green, tropical or resort setting. A lot of beige, browns, fluid and light fabrics, from satin to linen, roomy pants and shirts. Acid colors and gradient/tie-dye prints are still largely present in the collections for a touch of fun and modernity.

Must-have item: a fluid shirt, be it long sleeve or short sleeve, layered on top of a tank top and worn with roomy high-waist pants. Accessorize it with a neck scarf and a hat to cover from the radiant sun.

Best venue: It’s a tie between Zegna’s industrial Sesto S.Giovanni abandoned factory, with a lunar post-apocalyptic atmosphere and the serene garden picnic of Fendi at the Villa Reale.

Say bye-bye to: boring streetwear and sneakers. It’s all about leather sandals, moccasins, and Chelsea booties.

Is your open-to-buy up or stable?: Up!

Talent scouting (hot new brands): Magliano, Danilo Paura — whom we already carry — and M1992.

Carmel Imelda Walsh, Stefaniamode art director:

Favorite collections: Marni.

Top trends: Retro relaxed tailoring, two-faced suits (double personality), safari vibes.

Must-have item: Bowling bag

Best venue: Sunnei

Say bye-bye to: Nylon pants

Is your open-to-buy up or stable?: Yes, it’s going up

Talent scouting (hot new brands): Magliano.

Tom Kalenderian, executive vice president, general merchandise manager, men’s/childrens/home, Barneys New York:

Milan vs. Florence?: Florence was a nice surprise giving us unexpected and strong shows from Salvatore Ferragamo, Givenchy and Sterling Ruby. Clearly the Milan highlights were Ermenegildo Zegna Couture and Fendi.

Favorite collections: There is such a strong need for smart casual alternatives to formal dressing; I thought it was done best at Isaia, Brioni, Sartorio, Eleventy and Tod’s.

Talent scouting: Brett Johnson showed an impressive and beautiful wardrobe for sophisticated men with a need for comfortable luxury.

Trend spotting: Paper-thin outerwear, often translucent and featherweight, is a standout as the new layering piece from vests, to bombers to long dusters and anoraks.

Must-have item: Brioni silk moire pattern dinner jackets in unexpected colors.

Are budgets up or down?: We are cautiously optimistic supporting business plans aimed at growth, yet with a keen eye on improving profitability.

Lee Goldup, senior men’s wear buyer at Browns:

Milan vs. Florence?: Both Florence and Milan provided some exciting moments although no one stood above the other. There is always plenty to see in both cities and spring 2020 has had some great collections that I think our Browns customer will really buy into.

Favorite collections: 
I have enjoyed a lot so far this season. In Pitti — And Wander and Sterling Ruby. In Milan — Prada, Bed J.W. Ford, Sunnei and Marni.

Talent scouting: We saw a few new exciting things but I’d prefer to keep that under wraps for now.

Trend spotting: There was rather a subdued color palette across the board — lots of pastel colors in a spectrum that included mint green, yellow and beige. That alongside wide legged cargo pants, leather parkas, oversized bags and bucket hats were also very prominent.

Must-have item: 
Overhead multicolored parka from Prada — their presentation was really standout across all categories.

Are budgets up or down?: For the most part our budgets are up with the majority of our brands after a very successful spring season. We are always looking to amplify our offering and this year is no different.

Bruce Pask, fashion director at Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus: 
Milan vs. Florence?: For me the Milan/Florence conversation is not one of comparison, but of partnership. It was an incredibly successful season at Pitti, with a lot of fresh lines, collections, and nascent trends that I found that I will follow-up with, often scheduling showroom appointments in Milan for brands that I had a smaller introduction to in Florence. Yes, some larger shows are absent from the Milan schedule but the very vital showroom appointments and wide variety of presentations more than make up for that deficit. We have seen some terrific shows here in Milan that have really solidified the direction for the spring season. 
Favorite collections: I absolutely loved the Fendi show: the beautiful Villa Reale park setting on a gorgeous morning, the meandering rattan seated runway with thoughtful breakfast baskets for each….a true walk in the park…and a great collection filled with strong looks as well as statement pieces, grounded in elegant utility. Charming accessories added to the great attention to detail. Brunello Cucinelli always adheres to his stylistic signature while always adding good novelty to keep things fresh. I loved the addition of the colorful madras shirting and color pops of red and orange throughout the collection that gave the line nice newness. Alessandro Sartori presented his Zegna Couture collection on an epic scale, showing in a gargantuan long-abandoned steel factory on the outskirts of town. I really liked the purity of the streamlined fashion suiting and great outerwear combinations. The show really emphasized the growing focus on the sartorial influence in fashion while also highlighting recycled and upcycled fabrications, representing well the growing emphasis on sustainability throughout the industry, a message that has been very prevalent during the show season. I thought Kiton, Ralph Lauren, and Tom Ford also presented exemplary collections in their showrooms, staying true to their respective brand identities while also creating new and compelling pieces. 
Trend spotting: The safari jacket, an elegant, utilitarian garment has been seeing a variety of iterations and colors. It’s a great seasonal outerwear and casual workplace item. Pale tailoring — we’re seeing all shades of pale neutrals in suits and sport jackets, including unstructured more casual jackets. Khaki, stone, ivory, pale blue, light grey, etc., especially in more durable cotton/linen/silk blends. Vivid color — bright, very saturated color is looking incredibly refreshing and seasonal, especially when combined together. All categories, but especially luxe knitwear, linen and cotton shirting, neckwear. Fashion tailoring – the designer market continues to show more elevation, incorporating more unconstructed and even more voluminous tailoring styles in a very fashion, rather than sartorial, way. The City Short — Neil Barrett shared with me this term he coined for the new longer, more tailored short we’re seeing quite a bit throughout the shows. It looks fresh and seasonal, perfect for weekend and even after five in a dressier context. The bold printed shirt sleeve shirt continues to trend, especially in more fluid silks. 
Must-have item: The safari jacket, the city short, a pale suit, the bold, printed short-sleeved shirt. 
Tyler Franch, fashion director, Hudson’s Bay:
Favorite collections: Marni, Versace, Ermenegildo Zegna and Fendi.

Top trends: Neutrals are trending everywhere in Milan. Starting the week off at Zegna with the most beautiful pallet of clay and camel’s back to dusty rose and plum and then ending the week off at Fendi with a utility formed collection (with a gardener’s uniform twist) consisting mostly of khaki. Tailoring continues through almost all of the collections and continues to replace the tracksuit not only on the runway but streets as well. Dip-dye and watercolor prints feel fresh to last season’s tie-dye explosion and the printed camp-collar shirt is getting an update in more fluid fabrics and feels new paired back to a smart trouser or a coordinating bottom.

Must-have item: Something in acid wash from Versace, a relaxed fit blazer in a neutral tone and a printed button up in contrasting prints from Marni.

Best venue: The Fendi show was held in the lush gardens of Milan’s Villa Reale. Inside you were greeted by staff outfitted in khaki Fendi workwear jumpsuits to show you to your seat and with each seat came a woven wicker basket complete with morning snacks and a branded mug for refreshments being served.

Say bye-bye to: Briefs! Boxers are giving us new life as the streetwear and runway styling trend for the season involves tucking everything and anything into your shorts.

Talent scouting: As I was part of the Milano Moda Graduate Jury this season I’m looking forward to getting to know the work of the finalists. in particular Francesco Murano, who took home the winning prize.

Mario Grauso, president, Holt Renfrew: 

Pitti vs. Milan: Milan is non-negotiable. Pitti was a treat.

Must-have items: Bottega Veneta leather gabardine trench coat, Fendi watering can and pruning shears. Cream leather from Tom Ford. Color block anorak and backpack from Prada. Star Wars shirts and Shetland oversized sweaters at Etro. Floral Givenchy overcoat. White linen blazer at Brunello Cucinelli. 

Best collections: Fendi’s poetic journey into the garden with the perfect raincoats, jump suits, walking shorts, and oversized totes, and Etro’s strong floral pants. Prada’s desert inspired tonal looks, and bold colorful nylons in jewel tones, oversized broad cloth shirting, espadrille sandals and handkerchief with retro inspired pins.

Best venue: Fendi in the park with lunch baskets and wicker chairs.

Talent scouting: Sterling Ruby showed a strong first collection with standout print mixing.

Say bye-bye to: Ugly sneakers.

Trends: White and beige in leather and in technical parkas; shirting stripes in broad cloth in oversized silhouettes; athletic details in classic tailoring; lightweight outerwear; utility pockets on everything.

Budgets up or down?: Budgets remain stable.

Bosse Myhr, Selfridges’ director of men’s wear:  

Favorite collections: Our favorite collections this season in Milan were Versace and Neil Barrett.  Versace’s show was an impeccable showcase of what the brand is all about – bold colors, amazing graphics all put together in the iconic Versace way that was a lot of fun, and a real highlight of all the Milan shows. 


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