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5 Things We’re Looking Forward to seeing at Milan Menswear Week

by Hollie Moat
The new and improved Menswear Fashion Week has already chalked up success in London and Florence (at annual trade fair Pitti), but tomorrow it kicks off Milan, one of the traditional stomping grounds for menswear designers looking to show off their latest collections.
As you’d imagine, the schedule is hefty with big names, and with only four days, there’s a lot to fit in. But we thought we’d highlight the five shows that we’re really looking forward to…

Jil Sander

Jil Sander and Jil Sander A/W 12 on the catwalk (designed by Raf Simons)

As the first Sander collection in over seven years to be shown with the label’s namesake at the helm, this show was always going to come over major scrutiny, but since respected fashion editor Suzy Menkes threw some seriously sharp comment’s Jil Sander’s way, the German designer is going to be feeling the glare of the spotlight more than ever. Menkes offered up the opinion that since 2004, when Sander parted acrimoniously from the eponymous brand she founded, she has been eclipsed by both Raf Simons, her successor, and Celine designer Phoebe Philo, who Menkes thinks do Sander’s signature minimal chic better. Can Sander prove the critics wrong? That’s what we’re looking forward to finding out.

Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood and Vivienne Westwood A/W 12 on the catwalk

London just held its first dedicated menswear week earlier this month, and we’re in the midst of a particularly patriotic year for the British (what with London hosting the Olympics this Summer and the huge success enjoyed by the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee), so you have to wonder why Dame Viv has opted to show her menswear here and not in the her hometown, the English capital. Well, in fairness she always does it in Milan, but this would have been the perfect year to shift it across the channel. Will the collection hold any of the answers to this? Is Vivienne Westwood's menswear more continental looking than her womenswear? Judging from the past couple of seasons we’d say yes, but her show on Sunday should help clear up the matter once and for all.

Prada

Miuccia Prada and Gary Oldman modelling in the Prada A/W 12 show

How exactly do you top a star studded cast of models that included acting A-listers like Gary Oldman and Adrien Brody parading down a red carpet in a series of regal outfits suitable for a Russian tsar? Hopefully Miuccia Prada knows the answer – she’ll have to if she stands any hope of living up to her show for Autumn/Winter 12. Prada rarely disappoints, so the first peek at Spring/Summer 13 on Sunday should be a real treat…

Gucci

Frida Giannini and Leonardo Dicaprio in Total Eclipse

Gucci is one of Milan’s oldest and most traditionally luxurious labels, but designer Frida Giannini does like to experiment with obscure references. And the results are usually suitably elegant – slick, glamorous pieces but with an interesting story behind them. Last season her inspiration was Leonardo Dicaprio’s portrayal of doomed young poet Arthur Rimbaud in the Nineties film Total Eclipse, so we’re excited to find out which strange but wonderful muse she has lined up this time.

Giorgio Armani

Giorgio Armani and Richard Gere wearing Armani in American Gigolo

Let’s face it, Mr Armani has been around for a long time, founding his eponymous design house in 1975 (and quickly adding a host of diffusion lines to channel his prolific creative output into), so the fact that he manages to re-invent his collection year after year. And whilst the Italian has well and truly proven himself as one of the industry’s master tailors, there is always that question lingering at the back of our minds, will he ever top the nonchalant elegant luxury of his near perfect costumes for Richard Gere in the classic 1980 film American Gigolo. Well, on Tuesday we can only hope…
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