FLORENCE — Fragmentation is, paradoxically, the clearest dividing line in today’s menswear landscape. If men’s fashion is changing, it may be because masculinity is. But the results can be hard to decipher: it’s hard to see direction when things are blowing up all over the place.
This was indeed the case during the last edition of the Pitti Uomo show, which offered a constellation of stylistic possibilities: formal, informal, hyper-formal, tailoring, sportswear… they were like concentric waves that intertwined in a redesign of codes quite engaging. The old protocols no longer apply; new categories are emerging.
Workwear, by its pragmatic but extensible code, is a territory of particularly fruitful crossovers. And yet, there are so many experiments in deconstructing work clothes that they risk becoming obsolete. It takes determination and sensitivity to nuance the conversation. Domenico Orefice of DO™ works at the intersection of industrial and fetish. And while clearly indebted to Rick Owens and cyberpunk, the approach still manages to feel fresh.
Speaking of Dark Master Rick Owens, the designer clearly influenced the next generation of designers, likely replacing Rei Kawakubo in that sense. This was evident in many of the collections shown at the Polimoda Graduation Show at noon yesterday. It was a sensational production in terms of direction and craftsmanship, but it lacked the spark of the unexpected. A trained eye might spot references from Owens to Chris Nemeth to Dilara Fındıkoğlu.
Workwear made for a thought-provoking outing last night at Fendi, where Silvia Venturini Fendi continues to hone her singular signature: a unique blend of subtle humor, a perverse sense of the obvious, cold precision and a deep appreciation for craftsmanship. . The show took place on the production floor of the Fendi factory in Capannuccia, among tables full of artisans busily assembling Fendi bags. If transparency is mandatory today, it was the most transparent fashion. There was also a lot of flesh sticking out from the cuts and fabric, but the results looked more anatomical than sensual.
Obviousness is always pushed to the extreme at Fendi, to the point of becoming non-obvious. Aprons, lab coats and work jackets were prominent, but despite the clever materials – hemp, washi paper, canvas – the aesthetic was robotic rather than rugged, with play on elongated proportions and generous volumes. that high-spend post-streetwear favors the generation, and enough FF signifiers to please logomaniacs.
Of course, there’s a clear business motivation behind what Fendi does, which is worth billions of dollars. And yet, there is also a certain honesty in it. The clothes are simple but full of fun details. The bags are feats of craftsmanship. Small charms – leather measuring tapes like thin scarves, for example – activate desire. Everything is simple, yet moving, immediate and engaging.
Engage is an apt adjective to describe what Eli Russell Linnetz, aka ERL, does from his base in Venice Beach, California. The designer exudes an infectious energy, his stories are feats of fiction and his clothes burst with the patina of life lived in a sunny place.
ERL’s first fashion show took place last night in the ramshackle splendor of the Palazzo Corsini before a cheering crowd of fans and fashionistas. It’s mostly following today, and ERL has garnered a colorful fan base. But the catch with such a high coolness factor is that things can get pretty unrealistic. Dreaming up a story of futuristic surfers raiding a Florentine attic and going all sparkly in frock coats, top hats and skate shoes, ERL ditched its charming colors for a metallic palette and clunky couture shapes. . It didn’t stick particularly well.
Fashion shows are not for all designers. ERL was born from a photographic project and it is in the still image that Linnetz best expresses his sense of character and silhouette. Her newfound sense of proportion and her quest for a physique that was both sportier and rounder than that usually favored by fashion somehow got lost in the neon yellow ensemble.