Men’s fashion month, which kicked off in London on June 8, is in its final stretch. It made its way to Paris over the weekend, after stopping in Florence for Pitti Uomo and Milan. After a short break, the New York shows will kick off on July 10. Although a few big-name designers like Burberry and Gucci have transitioned to showing their men’s and women’s collections together in September and February (in accordance with the women’s schedule), there has been plenty to see this show season.
Below, we’ve rounded up the four most important takeaways from the month-long event’s first four fashion weeks.
The spectacle show returned
After a few fairly tame seasons, where low-key shows and presentations ruled the day, designers seemed to be taking a page from Chanel’s “more-is-more” playbook.
Prada turned its Milan headquarters into a living comic book of sorts, with oversized Lichtenstein-esque illustrations covering the walls and guests sitting in sunken rows to maximize the effect. Rick Owens sent models out on a maze of scaffolding inside the parvis of the crumbling Palais de Tokyo, handing out fans and bucket hats to an audience hoping to ward off the blazing sun — perhaps trying to avoid a Yeezy Season 4 redux. As far as concept goes, Dries Van Noten took the cake for most unexpected: He held his show at the top of a parking garage in the former office space of the French political rag Liberation. Though the office itself was rundown, the view of Paris it afforded — spanning from the Eiffel Tower to the Sacre Coeur — was impressive.
Vivienne Westwood and acrobat models at her men’s spring 2018 show
The biggest showboats, however, were familiar contenders: Philipp Plein and Vivienne Westwood. Westwood sent cross-dressing acrobats down her runway, while Plein’s show featured motorbike stunts, and a chorus of singers and dancers performing hits from “Grease.”
Everyone looked to their ’80s archives
With the 20th anniversary of Gianni Versace’s death approaching in July, Donatella Versace looked to the glamour of her brother’s best years at the house for the Versace mens spring 2018 collection. Shown at the brand’s Milan villa, she dubbed the collection a homecoming of sorts, and sent out a combination of tracksuits, gold coin necklaces, pinstripe suits and Ancient Roman-style mask prints that are quintessential Versace.
At Fendi, creative director Silvia Venturini Fendi looked to the house’s collections during Wall Street’s eighties heyday for suiting inspiration, sending out pastel and brown separates topped off with suspenders and printed ties.
Pierpaolo Piccioli at Valentino went so far as to revive the brand’s logo from the era, sprinkling the old “VLTN” branding across the sportswear-heavy collection.
A model walks the Versace spring 2018 runway in ’80s-inspired garb
Influencers reigned on
Brands continued to rely on influencers across categories to drum up hype for their shows this season.
Dolce & Gabbana went full-millennial, using many famous children as runway models. The range that included Shaquille O’Neal’s son, Myles, the Stallone sisters and Bill Clinton’s nephew, Tyler. The brand made its goal loud and clear, handing out a cheat sheet before the show that listed every model’s Instagram handle and follower count. A pseudo-protest by the American artist Raury (149k Instagram followers) at the show’s close drummed up chatter around their #protestdolceandgabbana campaign.
Giorgio Armani and Louis Vuitton looked to the music world to get people talking. The 18-year-old Canadian singer Shawn Mendes walked the Armani runway show to much fanfare, a precursor to his starring in the upcoming campaign for the brand’s EA Smartwatch. And Kim Jones, at Louis Vuitton, did something totally new: She scored an exclusive track from Drake for the runway, called “Signs.”
Shawn Mendes walked the Giorgio Armani spring 2018 runway
Men’s and women’s continued to merge
As has been the trend for a few seasons now, more and more designers are showing their men’s and women’s collections together — or sending female models out in special menswear or menswear-inspired pieces alongside their male counterparts, as at Wales Bonner. This season was no different, by and large, as brands including Versace, Philipp Plein and Vivienne Westwood sent both men and women down the runway. Donatella Versace, for her part, referred to the clothes worn by women as a capsule collection.
One person, however, is shaking up this pattern. For reasons unknown, Miuccia Prada showed her men’s collection alone for the first time in years.