January 16, 2023
The third day of Milan Fashion Week for men was marked by two big debuts. Late Sunday morning, Marco De Vincenzo presented his first menswear collection for Etro. Then, at the end of the day, British label Charles Jeffrey Loverboy made its highly acclaimed debut on the Milan catwalks.
After designing the first, well-received womenswear collection last September, Etro’s new creative director Marco De Vincenzo has made his first foray into menswear, drawing on the Italian luxury label’s textile heritage. He gently reshaped Etro’s menswear, refreshing her style with a gently romantic touch.
“I wanted to pay tribute [Etro] families, starting with fabrics, which are indelibly linked to the company’s history. Few people know this, but Etro started the business with tartan fabrics. Over the course of six months, I delved into [Etro’s] archives, merging this rich heritage with my own vision,” De Vincenzo told FashionNetwork.com. He had the brilliant idea to unveil the collection inside a huge hangar, packed with rolls of fabric and hundreds of swatches that came straight from the label’s warehouse.
The first look featured a cozy pleat that turned into a coat with geometric patterns. Elsewhere, army green upholstery with gold stripes was used to create an office suit, while a coat and bolero jacket were fashioned from pieces of tapestry. De Vincenzo then showed a series of suits made from beautiful tartan fabrics, with elegant double-breasted jackets and elegant flared trousers, as well as maxi kilts layered over jeans. He again played with contrasts, overlapping large checkered coats to match the smaller ones of matching trousers in the same shades. Also worthy of attention were the beautiful clogs made of felt and fabric with wooden soles with threads that will delight fashionistas.
De Vincenzo’s more personal touch was evident in several high-end sweaters, either embroidered with fruit motifs or with an optical effect like a color-graded wave. “Etro’s new menswear combines a cozy, homely private atmosphere with a more eccentric public style. For example, an embroidered belt will enhance the evening look. There is a romantic touch, there are flowers and lights,” said De Vincenzo.
Sitting in the front row, the entire Etro family, visibly charmed, applauded, from patriarch and founder Gerolamo (Gimmo) to his children Veronica, Ippolito, Jacopo and Kean. In 2021, they sold a 60% stake in their label to L Catterton, an investment fund co-founded by luxury giant LVMH. “Marco has a lot of respect. His menswear is interesting and deeply connected to our history,” said Kean, who until recently was in charge of the label’s men’s collections. Kean noted that when the company was founded in 1968, “Etro was not a manufacturer but a curator of fabrics, sourcing yarns in India and China and then having its own fabrics and designs produced in Italy, acting as a supplier for the labels at the time.”
Charles Jeffrey Loverboy “celebrates workers, the Renaissance and Scotland”
A change of scenery with Charles Jeffrey Loverboy, who threw his audience into a dark engine room. Out of the thick fog emerged strange figures, faces blackened by soot, caps on their heads, hands protected by huge foundry gloves, some of them holding lanterns like those once used by miners. They were dressed in baggy gray suits, a fresh take on traditional men’s attire. The looks are pretty drab at first, but soon give way to gorgeous colors, patterns and prints.
“For my arrival in Milan, a hard-working industrial city quite similar to my native Glasgow, I wanted to celebrate the workers, the Renaissance and Scotland,” said Charles Jeffrey at the end of the show, with a tear in his eye, visibly moved by his first appearance in Milan, where he was accompanied ovations. “The idea was to show the unfolding story, like in a movie. It is something like an allegory for what is happening in the world right now,” he added.
The collection features a range of colorful characters, each with their own special features. Charles Jeffrey’s native Scotland was referenced in ubiquitous tartan prints on leggings, socks, shoes, jackets, tops and kilts. Also in Shetland wool jackets, knitwear and jacquard pullovers with the famous Fair Isle pattern. The typical Scottish tartan motif is also revisited in several vinyl items with large blocks and others with stylized blocks.
Another influence that added an extra layer of extravagance was Anglo-American comic book author and illustrator John Byrne, whose wacky psychedelic drawings were printed on magnificent coats and suits enhanced with gold accessories, from shoes to bags and T-shirts.
After a progressive crescendo of colors, from intense ocher yellow to royal blue and poppy red, a series of protesters appeared, highlighted by leather looks and objects made of fabric such as newsprint with bright headlines warning of the climate crisis. Charles Jeffrey has every intention of making his voice heard in Milan for a few more seasons.
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