Paris & Milan Fashion Forecast: Spring/Summer 2012

Just like the natural seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter, the fashion seasons have their days of record high temperatures or record rainfall. Unfortunately, this season in sun-baked fashion capitals – Milan and Paris – the rainfall was overwhelming to the majority of viewers. Many have seen this season’s shows as a step backwards for menswear, exhibiting more faux pas than tour de force. However with every rainy day, there is always a farmer with a smile on his face. So with this in mind, I took to these dreary fashion weeks with spade and trowel, finding some hidden gems just under the surface.

Dolce And Gabbana

It all started off with Dolce and Gabbana, and what a bad start it was. The show was all about net. It was interesting to see how versatile the material was; the show showcasing net jackets, trousers, shorts and even shoes. Stefano Dolce went a step even further, creating a tenuous link between the ghastly netting and the live stream internet and twitter feed which was above the runway:

‘This net for us is a network, from the computer to your body. This is the sense of the collection’.
Stefano Dolce

However, the show did have some glimpses of the real Dolce and Gabbana. It furthered the message from its A/W show, delivering cropped jackets teamed with roll-up trousers and bare ankles, stating emphatically how formal attire can also be summer attire. The collection was very relaxed, but with a muted colour scheme and tedious net contraptions which felt more, ‘Let’s see what we can make with a net’ than, ‘Let’s make a few net pieces that work well’.

Dolce and Gabbana Mens Spring/Summer Runways 2012

Key Pieces Available Now:
Throughout the article we are going to be picking out key pieces from the best looks which you can invest in today. These will be a mix of high street AND high designer, to suit everyone’s budget. Obviously as these catwalks forecast a year in advance, it means you can pick up quality pieces you can integrate into your wardrobe now, whilst at the same time knowing they have longevity and will be suitable 12 months down the line. This is smart clothes buying for both your personal style and your wallet:

  • Light Grey Skinny Chinos
  • marni Short sleeve shirt
  • D&G Black Leather Crossbody Briefcase
  • ASOS Slim Fit Double Breasted Blazer
  • Viktor & Rolf Double-Breasted Blazer
  • KG By Kurt Geiger 'Carnival 2' Perforated Lace-Up Shoes

Luckily for every Dolce and Gabbana there’s a D&G. Dolce and Gabbana’s edgier cousin, D&G was a storming example of one of the season’s main trends, psychedelic patterns. Continued from S/S 2011, D&G showed how to pull this trend away from eccentric and toward trendy-young-thing.

Combining bold, dazzling colours, prints and dyes with traditional denim, the show remained believable, and helped D&G showcase one of the most wearable collections of the year. Layering bold coloured jackets over muted tees or vice versa ensures the look isn’t over-complicated, and paired with driving shoes sans socks (the season’s must have bare-ankles trend), D&G produced a look suitable for many summers to come.

D&G Mens Spring/Summer Runways 2012

Key Pieces Available Now:

  • Two Stoned Cord Mix Shirt
  • Aloe Green Chino Shorts
  • H By Hudson Bitteroot Suede Fringe Lace Up Shoes
  • ROLAND MOURET ‘Kommer’ inox taffeta bomber jacket
  • Religion Denim Shorts

Prada was the show of the season for many and it continued the crazy print and bold colour theme with terrific effect. The show featured terrific golf wear, continuing Prada designer Miuccia Prada’s recurring theme of including something she hates in each show. The show included classic, summer-cut blazers in light tan and blue, teamed with colourful neckerchiefs. Trousers and shirts with fantastic floral or graphic print were the shows winner, not to mention those excellent shoes.

Prada Mens Spring/Summer Runways 2012

Key Pieces Available Now:

  • Byron L/s Crew
  • Yves Saint Laurent Double-Breasted Wool Jacket
  • ASOS Silky Printed Neckerchief
  • Underground Barfly Creeper Shoes With Pointed Toe
  • Brixton Hats Spoke Herringbone Baker Boy Cap
  • Burberry Stone Slim Leg Chinos

Where the shows of Calvin Klein and Louis Vuitton slumped on the catwalk, (although both had interesting pieces, check out the trousers at Calvin Klein) it was always safe to wager that Christopher Bailey would produce another romping show with Burberry.

Although not as good as some previous shows (it would be difficult to trump some of his older shows), Bailey still produced a distinct show with a clear objective. Along its 33 meter catwalk, Burberry showcased an extension on print – opting for a tribal collection, each model with a raffia hat secured on top. Bailey kept Burberry’s usual muted colours, opting for autumnal oranges, reds and greens, with occasional eye-popping hues.

If it needed any conformation, the tote bag was the accessory of choice for the season (as our own Ashley Cover picks out here: Shopping Sale Smart). Yet again, interesting shoes graced this year’s catwalk, Bailey continuing along his weave and pattern vein.

Burberry Mens Spring/Summer Runways 2012

Key Pieces Available Now:

  • TMD Cream Cross Stitch Jumper
  • Gucci Slim Fit Corduroy Trousers
  • Austin Coat
John Varvatos/Alexander McQueen/Galliano

John Varvatos unfortunately did not seem to build on his amazing last collection – the best of A/W 2011 I’d say. His dark colours really didn’t seem suited to a S/S show; although he included some beautifully cut, floating fabric.

The McQueen show included some beautiful pieces, but lost impact through the lack of any continuity, leaving the show with an uncomfortably disjointed appearance. Most of the looks would have been better placed in an A/W collection. The show produced mixed feelings, many of the looks really deserving attention (some of my favourite looks of the season), whilst being blighted by barber-shop style trousers and a random, flaming blazer.

The Galliano show was always going to be about its ending, mainly who would take that finishing bow? However on the day the question really was, when will it end? Suffering the same fate as the McQueen show, Galliano (designed by Billy Gaytten in the eponymous designer’s absence) produced little in the form of continuity, producing some truly bizarre looks. However it did exhibit some fantastic hats and military jackets.

Looks from John Varvatos, Alexander McQueen and John Galliano - Mens Spring/Summer 2011

Key Pieces Available Now:

  • Brooks Brothers Double-Lined Cotton Rain Coat
  • Pendleton Meets Opening Ceremony Plaid Suit Trousers
  • H By Hudson Ellington Brogue Shoes
  • Yves Saint Laurent Leather Belt
Round-Up Of The Notables

Etro found the point of equilibrium, showing the always on-trend colours of summer, beige, white and tan, whilst also producing wearable bright patterned items, taking us through an interesting chic Mexican phase.

Giorgio Armani gave a show of grey, with little ground breaking or new looks. Jean Paul Gaultier was at hand to show some innovation, producing a show of attitude men, whose disposition was one of comfort and style.

Henrik Vibskov in Paris really produced a show worthy of the title of a show. Including revolving rooms rather than a catwalk, the showcase also delved into Art with the clothes, creating an amazing total visual experience. Adorned with double black solid glasses and a beret on top, the show wasn’t only satirical but of a beautifully high quality too. It brought beautiful woollen pieces and fine jackets to the surface, producing a collection of stunning oddities.

Best of the Rest Spring/Summer 2011 - Etro Armani and Henri Vibskov

Key Pieces Available Now:

  • Ammunitions Mac
  • Yves Saint Laurent Leather Weekend Bag
  • Black Cashmere Ultra-Fine Knit Sweater Vest
  • Chunky Knit Cardigan
  • WESC Conway Short

It wasn’t a case of when it rains it pours; more scattered sunshine interspersed with showers. Among the sunshine was Alber Elbaz at Lanvin and the lads of Roberto Cavalli – both producing shows of a high quality. However others were reluctant to show new trends; the designers eager to continue the bold colouring, flamboyant patterns and summer staple colours, done so much better last year.

This menswear season at Milan and Paris is not going to be one to change the face of fashion that everyone is adamant about giving a nose job, but it certainly does bring anticipation to the A/W shows.

Fashionbeans’ Favourite Looks

Finally, we bring you some of our favourite looks from all the collections for spring/summer 2011. These are some of the most wearable outfits, whilst also featuring some of our favourite trends.

Our Favourite Menswear looks from Paris and Milan Spring/Summer 2011

Key Pieces Available Now:

  • WE ARE TUK TUK Straight leg trouser
  • PHONZ SAYS BLACK Single breasted blazer
  • Richard James Flat Front Cotton Trousers
  • gucci<br /> Silk V-neck jumper
  • Dr Denim Eddie Chino Shorts
  • Etro Paisley Print Scarf
  • Clarks Originals Desert Kahn Shoes
  • D.S Dundee Inver Canvas Shoes