From the archives: Lujon’s Fall-Winter 2014 roundup for the men’s collections

From left to right Ermenegildo Zegna, Dries Van Noten, Prada and J.W. Anderson Autumn - Winter 2014
From left to right Ermenegildo Zegna, Dries Van Noten, Prada and J.W. Anderson Autumn – Winter 2014

ERMENEGILDO ZEGNA: The Control

This man is not a loud man, isn’t he? We can calmly say that his subtle display of opulence is, in fact, quiet.

If he at first shocked us with a broken suit, synonym of the vast control of his own personal taste, he is now nonchalantly surprising us with draped coats, layered with tone-sur-tone throws and scarves. Have you by any chance seen him walking down Ponte Vecchio, in Florence? His walk is not the one you will find in the finance districts of the grandest megalopolises. Nor is the somehow affected mannerism of European aristocracy: He, very differently from what one might think, is in total and utter control of his looks; Yes, he is languid in his draped coats, but he is also sincere at not really giving shits. Yes, he lives and dies for pleasure, but he also considers structure and taste as part of his aesthetic routine. He is in control, and he walks quietly even when his email account gets incandescent.

DRIES VAN NOTEN: The Gangs

Beware. When your dazzling day is coming to an end, it is then and just then that the Dries Van Noten man gets up to mix into the night. The cult of Van Noten might sometimes be paraphrased as a gang per se, a circle of people who idolise the designer and feel in perfect harmony with his vision, proudly flying his flag whenever the occasion. For this season, however, the Dries Van Noten show was more literally divided into gangs, collected together by the only colour scheme of each handful of looks. The almost endless diversity of fabrics and techniques gave the Van Noten man enough space to make together the codes of his own gang, walking the streets like modern warriors, united together by the collective survival of yet another, exhausting night out. They run the streets together, after their dinners and their clubs, mixing together and mixing their furs with their tye-dye business shirts. Purple, yellow and green gangs, unleashing their charisma on the streets, shaking off the sweat and the adrenaline just before almost invisibly translating into daywear. It is in many ways as if the clothes would sleep in the daytime, waiting patiently to wake up again in the night and fly their very own flag once again.

PRADA: The Desire

The Prada man might look like a lost soul this season, a man whose appetites don’t delve far away from the primal desires of sex and the creation of art. Please note the weight of the word ‘might‘ in this context: He might be in the never-ending search of the gratification of his most putrid senses, but he also might be doing it mostly for the sake of his very own artistic aspirations. The Prada man this season is an artist, no doubt about that. Again we are challenged with the degrees of desirability a man as such might bring along with him, a man whose art can only be crafted through his innate physicality; through maybe dance, music or theatre. Backstage, Ms. Prada mentioned the German avant-garde theatre of the seventies, and that logically leads us, the adoring masses, to imagine an emaciated man living on the wild side. Living to some extents with the only currency he really carries with him, which in this case, is his own sexuality. What harsh words to attach to such sophisticated collection! We feel very much inclined to draw thin red lines between this man and the charming intruder in Pasolini’s masterpiece Teorema, a man that passively controls the effects of his influence on the others, helpless in the ingenuity of the desires he unleashes deep inside in the people around him. So strong we are of this point of view that we are not afraid of also bringing on the plate Prada’s menswear collection for SS15, a twisted take on the inner machinations of the bourgeois sexuality, an echo coming back again from the mentioned cinematic effort by Pasolini.

J.W ANDERSON: The Bourgeoisie

There is something intrinsically liberating about Mr. Anderson collections: Whereas the games of re-appropriation and the gender-bending nature of his designs always offer a fresh perspective on menswear, the very ethos of his creative process seems in fact to stem from the study of the mundane in everyday life. One might wonder why the adjective ‘liberating‘ has been used apparently so freely at the beginning of this review: To make myself clear, I do find the uneasiness or the well-structured awkwardness that might transpire through Mr. Anderson shows, a way to maybe push the natural limits of contemporary fashion for men: It might be the ruched appeal of the cardigans, or the open width of the necklines, but the effect might almost seem natural to the untrained eye. It does boast dramatic changes but it does it submissively, without really trumpeting its explosiveness.

Behind this collection is once again the bourgeois woman: A woman who is keeping house but clutching a copy of Life, just to keep in touch. But for men. Did you understand the entire entity of such concept?! Bourgeois women’s wear for men: The re-appropriation of the re-appropriation. So meta!

By Matteo Sarti

Originally published on Lujon Issue 2

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