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A whiff of madness

Newcastle Herald

Thursday March 31, 2011


THE MENSWEAR WAS SMART AND SHARP IN MILAN THIS YEAR,SAYS JANICE BREEN BURNS, WITH STILL A WIFF OF MAD MEN.THERE was a familiar whiff of ‚œ‚œMad Men-esque‚„‚„ slick about thefall-winter 2011-2012 menswear collections shown in Milan thisyear.The collars were Don Drapery crisp again, the shirts box-fresh andwhite as salt, the suits sliced sharp to skim whisky-thin, 40-cigarette-adaymasculine silhouettes.Versace‚„s chorus line of scrubbed young men said it all without aword in their sleek single and double-breasted suits, sharp coats andshiny-shiny shoes, their thick, boyish hair combed to the side andgreased smooth and fl at till their ears stuck out like tender pink wingnuts.Even designing twins Dan and Dean Caten, of DSquared2, clampedtailored vests and clean-cut car coats and apron-like garments overtheir cowboy plaid shirts and trippy ripped denims ‚€œ all ploys thattrimmed and neatened the potentially dishevelled effect.There were exceptions to Draper-esque dandies, of course. Fashion isever the smorgasbord, after all, never the set menu, whatever the cityor season you‚„re in.Would The Don ever slacken his sartorial principles enough forMoschino‚„s puffa-quilted bomber jackets, for example? Or would hestoop to the lazy bohemian comfort of Missoni‚„s slumped, tweedyjumpers and soft fabric fi sherman hats? Perish the thought. Can weimagine The Don instructing his tailor in the art of D&G‚„s droppedcrotchtrousers tucked into unlaced yellow high-top plimsoles, orFranck Boclet‚„s buttoned cream gators for that matter, or Prada‚„slurex-fl ecked pullovers and silky sheen jackets cut so boxy they appeartwo sizes too big on any boy or man?But there are some dandy retro-chic examples of masculine sartorialsplendiferousness that the icy blonde (and rather drippy) Mrs BettyDraper might pluck from Milan‚„s catwalks to fold into her philanderinghusband‚„s overnight valise.‚ A fi ne-gauge polo-necked or patterned jumper by Raf Simons forJil Sander or Donatella for Versace, to be tucked snug and beltedinto a pair of Marc Jacobs trousers, sharp but easy at the waist andnarrowing to short cropped ankles.‚ A single or double-breasted suit cut fl atteringly lean by Frida Gianninifor Gucci or Vivienne Westwood in 2012‚„s grooviest new tailoringpalette: brown.‚ A car coat ‚€œ trim and tubular by any one of a dozen designers, orboxy-moderne by renegade Prada - sliced at mid-thigh and worn asa crisp outer shell and ‚œ‚œframe‚„‚„ for those sheaves of neat, masculineco-ordinates - crisp shirt, thin tie, tailored vest, trim jacket, cigarettetrousers, polished lace-ups ‚€œ visible underneath.Donald Draper may be a fi gment, but his legacy, the moderne, ubergroomedDraper-esque dandy, continues to echo across corporate,evening and even ‚œ‚œsmart casual‚„‚„ dress codes every season.Trends for 2011-‚œ12TROUSERS: Dropped-crotch tailoredwith belt loops, long zip fl ies andnarrow ankles, roomier Oxfordpleated styles, thin cigarette legscropped hard at or above the ankles,others as lean but fl aring slightlytowards the ankles and fi nishingwith a slop of fabric over the shoes.Waistlines vary from true (mid-pointbetween hip bones and lowest rib) tocrotch level.TAILORED JACKETS: Single anddouble-breasted scored equal billing,with boxy-cut silhouette and tightskimming variations cropped highon the hip bones or classic around thethigh joint.JUMPERS: The polo neck is back withbells on. Fine-gauge coloured andpatterned jumpers can be tucked intobelted trousers by the particularlyfashion forward, or worn with a looselip of knit over the waistline. Thicklypatterned and textured jumpers lookmasculine and practical jumbled intolayers with fi ner-gauge styles as wellas snake and shawl scarves and furtrimmedcoats.COATS: Smart, tailored car coats havereturned as crisp and fl attering outerlayers, or casual in shearling leatherand trench styles with fur trim, collarand linings.CASUAL JACKETS: Shearling-linedclassic bombers and short quiltedpuffa styles.SHOES: Chunky-soled loafers, laceupsand bike boots as well as classicsnub-toe suede and leather lace-ups,and high-top trainers.ACCESSORIES: Snake-style and bulkyshawl scarves for textural layering,colour mixing and emphasis on theneckline, suede and leather gloves, softstructured bags and satchels.THE PALETTE AND PATTERNS:Greys, from smoke to charcoal andnear-black, worn tone on tone or withbright colours ‚€œ blues, oranges, plum,greens from loden and emerald toneon, reds from sunset to liver, andwhite from whipped butter to ivory.Browns, from beige to chocolate.Elaborate brocade textures in luxurypieces, plaid and checks in casuals,classic Argyle and picky-prints forhipsters and neo-beatniks.

© 2011 Newcastle Herald

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