MILAN (AP) — Millennials were the real headliners in the week of previews for spring/summer 2018 menswear in Milan, as brands seek to connect with the next generation consumer.
By 2025, these influencers so well-versed in social media and with a fashion sense all their own will control 45 percent of the market, according to a Bain & Co. analysis, along with the younger Gen Z cohort, roughly speaking today's young teens and tweens.
This is just the audience that has been gravitating toward conversation starting blockbusters like the Netflix series "13 Reasons Why."
Star Tommy Dorfman took the front row at Fendi's show on Monday, one of the last of the three-day-run, and kept his Instagram followers apprised of his movements in the Fendi universe throughout his Milan stay.
Backstage, Dorfman described the collection as "clean, and breezy, and easy to wear."
"The sandals, the oxford sandals are so beautiful with the elastic straps. I love the see-through suits. And the jackets with the little coffee cups. I thought it was lovely," he told The Associated Press.
For the show, he was wearing a salmon-colored track suit jacket with olive striped trousers and a Fendi satchel. But within hours, a picture appeared on his Instagram account of him in the transparent plaid shorts suit along with German fashion blogger Caroline Daur — part of his collaboration with the brand that garnered more than 37,000 likes by the next day.
"I like how accepting they are of different types of people, how diverse it is," Dorfman said of Fendi. "From the casting of the shows, who they are involving in the brand and partnerships. They really just want you to be yourself. I feel like we all embody that."
A look back at more highlights from Monday's closing day. While fashion week was crammed into three days, there was so much happening it takes four to tell the story, despite major absences:
Fausto Puglisi says buyers have been telling him for many a season that men have been snapping up the oversize end of his women's collection for themselves.
This season, the Sicilian-born but American-formed designer responded to that pent-up demand, creating a menswear capsule collection. He previewed it in the Gio Moretti store on Milan's famed via della Spiga, in homage to the designers she helped launch, including Gianni Versace and Walter Albini.
The looks include boxy oversized orange tie-died oversized sweatshirts and boxer shorts, with gladiator sandals. He kept the range basic: sweatshirts, T-shirts, jeans, bomber jackets and biker jackets, everyman's must-haves.
Puglisi said he calls the looks "Caligula, the Roman emperor in La Jolla, embodying a notion of ancient royalty meeting surf culture, a new take on Italy meets America.
PLEIN HAT TRICK
Philipp Plein completed a hat trick during Milan Fashion Week, showing three distinct brands: his eponymous contemporary luxury fashion brand, his Plein Sport performance athletic wear and finally, his latest, Billionaire, the brand that bills itself for "playboys, fortune-makers and empire-builders."
Billionaire anchored the ambitious undertaking, three shows in three days, with looks inspired by James Bond. Models walked through a tunnel of lights in shimmering silver tuxedos, a purple smoking jacket with red polka dots and flashy yellow leather biker jackets with matching turtlenecks, leather gloves and trousers with enough stretch to get out of any bind.
Billionaire falls at the other end of the fashion demographic from the Millennial-seekers, rigorously featuring over-50 models.
"I see fashion brands that have the same clients as us at Billionaire putting young kids on the runway. It is so wrong. They will never wear this in their private lives," Plein said. "We wanted to turn that around. We want to appear in a way that the young generation says, 'When I get older, I want to look like these guys do over there.'"
Francesco Ragazzi puts an Italian take on American street fashion in his latest collection for the Palm Angels brand that developed from his work photographing the Los Angeles skater culture.
While the combined men's and women's collection was all about active fashion that both suggests and offers a level of freedom, Ragazzi imbued it with a dark side.
Rigorously belted nylon jackets and track suits alike had hoods that tightly hugged the faces, an effect that created an unnerving eeriness even when the hoodies were paired with purple wide-legged trousers with rainbow detailing.
For women there were sheer nylon off the shoulder tops with matching trousers, or body hugging cropped tops with a turtleneck that zipped over the face, leaving only the eyes exposed, that was paired with matching leggings. Brimmed hats with a branded protective flap over the neck finished the looks.
Still, Ragazzi finished the collection on an optimistic note: A rainbow of brightly colored tracksuits shoulder to shoulder against the industrial backdrop of the open-sided warehouse venue.
Ragazzi launched Palm Angels in 2011 as a research project into the Los Angeles skating culture, developing the project into a book in 2013 and a clothing line in 2015. It currently has more than 160 sales points.