Men’s – Design Exercise. JW Anderson SS20

For his spring-summer 2020 collection for men (and resort 2020 for women), Jonathan Anderson took an approach he applies at his Loewe. While discussing J.W. Anderson‘s latest collection, the designer mentioned that it’s “not about a styling exercise, but a design exercise.” Part of it was working on cutting away the sleeves of trench coats and tailored jackets to construct geometric wings and leave a drape in the back. He said he’d developed that silhouette after the “ideas about the ’40s and billowing shapes” that he’d shown previously in his womenswear collection. The deconstruction of the tuxedo dressing continued into lapel scarves and dress shirts. There’s no gendered distinction in these clothes. “All sizes can wear that,” he said. Meanwhile, the less ‘formal’ part of the collection consisted of patchworked knits, cable-knit head-bands, shoes made of multi-coloured felt (depicting a sort of pointilist landscape) and flowing, crotchet shawls and dresses. All this feels very warm-hearted, artisanal,  beautifully folkloric even. While Anderson nails each season at Loewe, lately I wasn’t that convinced about the work he did for his namesake brand. But this collection is one of his best.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Men’s – Telling A Narrative. Bode SS20

Two weeks after winning the CFDA Award for Emerging Designer of the Year, Emily Adams Bode has another major achievement behind her belt: her first-ever Bode runway show, in Paris, not in New York. That’s a smart move. Men’s New York fashion week has an extremely low visibility, while Bode, a brand that possibly has the brightest, sustainability-forward concept behind it in the entire industry, needs a fair spotlight. The label’s off-kilter pieces reinterpret antique quilts and domestic textiles in a workwear context to create new narratives. Each collection harmonises disparate elements, repairing and preserving materials that would otherwise be lost, thrown away. The designer produces modern heirlooms that nod to folkloric craftsmanship with hand-stitched accents and panelled constructions. For spring-summer 2020, Bode focuses on the same idea, but with a different background. As she explained backstage, ever since launching her menswear label three years ago, she has been waiting for the right moment to present a collection inspired by her familial ties to a bygone wagon workshop based in Cincinnati that produced ornate creations for Barnum & Bailey and the Ringling Brothers. “It’s about being able to tell that narrative of the historical techniques and fabrications and then [figuring out] how we can bring this to market in larger way,” she added. An intricately embroidered coat or a suede jacket with hand-stitched florals might have been the nods to her season’s reference. The clothes that impress with detailing were put together with Bode’s classics – vintage-y, short-sleeved shirts, striped, cropped pants, over-sized overalls. I’m a huge fan of Bode and its philosophy, and it’s not the first time when I’m saying this. Big hopes for winning the LVMH Prize in a couple of days!

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Men’s – Luca Guadagnino and Gardening. Fendi SS20

When Luca Guadagnino does something, I just can’t ignore it. The A Bigger Splash, Call Me By Your Name and Suspiria director got invited by Silvia Venturini Fendi to be the guest artist behind Fendi’s spring-summer 2020 collection for men. Fendi and Luca have a long-time relationship: the brand notched associate producer credits on I Am Love, for example, and the two worked on a short film for the label. Guadagnino loves fashion and puts focus on it in his films (remember those Dior by Raf Simons clothes Tilda Swinton wore in A Bigger Splash?). So his vision for the Fendi show felt as if he put his signature, sun-drenched filter on it. Presented  in the gorgeous garden of Milan’s Villa Reale, the collection was a nod to gardening and being close to nature. The gardening looks are too pretty to work in, but still, you can fantasize about wearing one of those outfits to check on your carrots: olive-green outerwear with detachable pockets and delightful short-sleeved overall with suede patches, accompanied by clipping baskets, watering cans, and garderning gloves (all with barely visible, Fendi logo). There was a utility vest in botanical-print-organza-clad strips of shearling teamed with a multi-compartment tool bag in leather. Luca and Silvia also came up with soft tailoring with split-hemmed pants arranged around floral-print ties, swimwear teamed with slashed cut-out knits and washed workman’s denim that came sometimes leather-patched. Brilliant.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Men’s – Truman and Che. Marni SS20

Francesco Risso moved big topics in his spring-summer 2020 collection for Marni, but in his typical, poetic, metaphor-filled manner. A fishnet was hovering about the guests’ heads, full of plastic debris collected from the oceans and from waste. Called Act1, the show was a conscious approach to engage in a deeper conversation on ethical values and a sustainable fashion practice: “We are here today to confirm our position in the world and to move towards action,” said Risso. “Let’s be vocal about our beliefs.“The designer has been implementing sustainable thinking into the brand for the last few seasons, but this really was a statement that hopefully will bud into real consciousness at the Italian brand. Even though you could expect exhausted eco warriors walk down the runway, Risso sent down a line-up of looks that sparked joy. It was a marriage of Truman Capote and Ernesto Che Guevara, beauty and rebellion. Marni’s rebels wore fabulous, crazy ritual totem-hats, made by artist Shalva Nikvashvili outof stuff that could have been easily thrown away to the trash: scraps of paper, feathers, plastic, fur, leather. The clothes as well had sustainable origin, to some extent. They had a sense of carefreeness, but weren’t ridiculousor clown-ish. Safari suitsweresplashed with brushstrokes, and cashmere and alpacas were patchworked with plastic and brocades. It all blended into a rather non-chalantly elegant,layered wardrobethat would be the fitting uniform for the Truman and the Che in an ideallypeaceful, eco-utopia.But you know what? I can equally see those clothes being worn in real life.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.