Pierpaolo Piccioli’s vision of menswear is one of those state-of-play vantage points on where we’re at with male dress codes. Whereas what’s considered sartorially accepted used to be dictated by the dominant, wealthy, and middle-aged, now it’s the young who are actively influencing their fathers, uncles, and bosses’ generation.
Literally, you can read that from the ground up, starting with the general permission to wear trainers with everything, especially if they’re in the on-trend, heavy “dad” shoe genre. Now, the barometer of change is rising into the trouser department.
As Piccioli rhetorically put it before the show, “How can a tracksuit become normal?” When it’s slim and tailored, and almost indistinguishable from men’s skinny pants, is part of his answer. Then add a classy narrow overcoat, a puffer, or parka, and that’s a smoothed cross-generationally, trans-globally understandable template, set right there. “I don’t like fancy territory,” Piccioli said. “I like real.”
Well, it depends on what you call fancy. Piccioli’s narrow silhouettes also comprised some pretty elaborate Italianate appliqué and embroideries of flowers and abstracted tiger patterns on the backs of flawlessly tailored traditional overcoats. Some of them came studded, DIY-punk style.
Piccioli had selected two archival haute couture photographs – womenswear, of course – as inspiration. Both from the late ’60s, they showed a print of a dragon and a tiger. The tiger pattern also came deeply embossed into the surface of one of the Valentino Moncler puffers, a collaboration with the kind of logo co-branding that currently sends collectors wild.
While acknowledging Piccioli’s clever sprinklings of imagery, it would be overstating matters to call it a groundbreaking collection. Rather, it’s one where the designer said he reached back into Italian art history, Picasso’s work, and late-’70s and ’80s music – Adam Ant and The Cure’s Robert Smith included – with the purpose of transmitting the expressive and romantic side of masculinity.
“The male wardrobe is a century of rules, and I think in the past decades men have changed very fast. They don’t want to be stereotyped anymore.”
This article first appeared in Vogue.com.