This is an edition of the newsletter Show Notes, in which Samuel Hine reports from the front row of the global fashion week circuit. Sign up here to get it in your inbox.

At the men’s fashion shows In January, I was struck by the fact that Italy doesn’t have a deep bench of breakthrough brands. Unlike in New York, London, Paris, Tokyo, and even Los Angeles, Milan doesn’t have the fizzy energy of a scene led by inventive young designers. As I wrote at the time, the delightfully off-kilter label Magliano is among vanishingly few new menswear labels on the rise in the spiritual home of sprezzatura. At the Sunnei show on Friday at the women’s edition of Milan Fashion Week, I was reminded that the label’s designers Simone Rizzo and Loris Messina also deserve credit for bringing a badly-needed sense of newness to the schedule. And weirdness, in a good way, a word not normally associated with the menswear capital that I’m calling Milan’s surprise trend of the season.

(Because people keep asking why I’m back in Europe: an increasing number of designers are skipping the men’s schedule in January and June to present co-ed collections on the women’s circuit, which runs in February and September. I get it—it’s more modern and certainly more economical to hold two shows a year rather than four. But your staunch Show Notes correspondent is starting to wonder why he pays rent in NYC.)

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Pietro D’Aprano/Getty Images

Rizzo and Messina understand how to make noise for their growing brand, and Sunnei shows invite audience participation and exaggerate certain dimensions of the runway show. Last season, guests were given numbered paddles and encouraged to rate each look. I can be seen in about half of the Vogue Runway collection images giving out some high scores, and a handful of 1s and 2s. (I’m nothing if not honest.) This time, the soundtrack exposed the “inner thoughts” of each model as they hit the brightly-carpeted runway. “The world is on fire and we’re talking about fashion? These people are so superficial. I can’t do this anymore. Jesus. Look at them,” said one. “Try not to fall, walk straight. Fuck—the bag is falling,” went another. Others daydreamed about backstage trysts and stressed about what they would wear to go out that night.

You kind of had to be there, but it was extremely funny and memorable, a way to break the runway show mold while still maintaining the focus on the cool clothes, particularly a bunch of jackets and tunics made out of rug fabric in strange and compelling shapes, which had a sense of lightness and mirth to them despite their heft.

Sitting at Jil Sander on a rainy Saturday afternoon, I could hardly believe I was seeing more coats that resembled rugs in the final round of Fall-Winter 2024. This was one strong example of Milan’s designers getting freaky with menswear archetypes, playing with fabric and shape to turn the overcoat into something much more beguiling. At show after show, out came super-thick felted wool jackets, pinched and rounded, padded and sculpted into statement-making shapes, silhouettes for strangers to remember you by. At Jil, Luke and Lucie Meier made a large green trench that matched the pistachio-carpeted runway, and wrapped another coat in rectangles of what looked like red fur. Crazy coats were all over the place at Marni and Bottega Veneta, too, where the aggressively rounded shoulders mimicked the way a silhouette becomes exaggerated in shadow. It was an outerwear bonanza.

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