Prada, Fendi, Gucci Hits as Retailers Praise Elevated Sartorial Designs in Milan

MILAN — Trends seen on the Milan men’s runways and at the presentations were loud and clear and led retailers to have a positive take on the collections unveiled for next fall.

Tailoring was expressed at its best, with a return of the double breasted suit and the tie, although with a more relaxed construction and fuller pants. There were also strong references to nature — with Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons offering their own interpretation of the theme in tension with formal workwear returning to the runways; to maritime and equestrian themes, and to English country wear, which resulted in sensational outerwear with larger proportions and often in herringbone, Prince of Wales and pinstripe fabrics.

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Cashmere was a favorite with most brands — exemplified by the impactful mountain of flakes of the fabric in a foliage shade at the Zegna show — joined by corduroy and velvet. Grandpa styles, retro cardigans and tonal knit dressing were ubiquitous, as were large pockets with a utilitarian feel.

“Menswear in Milan continued its move toward elevation and sophistication with an overwhelming sartorial focus throughout the collections, from designer runways to the luxury houses,” said Bruce Pask, senior editorial director at Neiman Marcus. “Kiton’s presentation featuring students who attend their tailoring school and Brioni’s beautiful, poetic collection set to the sounds of a master tailor’s scissors brought great awareness to the efforts to preserve this vital Italian craft and tradition.”

Sartorial expertise was also emphasized at Brunello Cucinelli and Canali, which caught the attention of retailers, as did Massimo Alba and Fear of God’s reinvented tailoring. Prada, Zegna and Fendi were hits, as was Gucci’s first menswear collection by Sabato De Sarno.

Jian DeLeon, men’s fashion director at Nordstrom, said this was “definitely the season of the big coat. Heritage dressing continues to reinvent itself, with the brisk weather making traditional tweeds all the more desirable. One of my big takeaways is new ideas of dressing down the concept of dressing up, especially when it comes to make proper formalwear seem even less so, with designers finding ways to implement elegant touches into the everyday wardrobe.”

However, some buyers felt the Milan season lacked some of the zing of the past and many admitted their budgets were more or less flat for fall 2024 given the ongoing slowdown in luxury sales globally with the wars in Ukraine and Israel and Gaza; continued questions over the global economic outlook, and uncertainty given upcoming and potentially disruptive elections in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Here is what retailers said about Milan Men’s Fashion Week:

The Prada fall 2024 show at Milan Fashion Week.
The Prada fall 2024 show at Milan Fashion Week.

Yumi Shin, chief merchandising officer at Bergdorf Goodman

Favorite collections: The strongest takeaway from Milan has been the nods to nature, as we saw exquisitely in both the use of earth tones at Prada and in their extraordinary set design. In a similar sense, the atmosphere at Zegna paid homage to nature, as the models walked around an immersive, fiber mound in a collection of deep natural tones. The Fendi collection offered an array of subversive signatures such as the leather work jacket and coats. In his second showing for the house, Sabato De Sarno homed in on Gucci’s codes. The collection confidently offered luxury and glamour but with a modern sensibility. The Setchu collection was an exercise in cut and fabrics; each piece in the collection was expertly crafted to reflect an intersection of cultures. Brioni presented a fresh perspective on the luxury men’s wardrobe. It featured rich colors, classic proportions, crafted from extraordinary fabric. At Fear of God, subtlety was key. Jerry Lorenzo offered wardrobe essentials executed perfectly in luxurious fabrics, expanding on what our customers have come to expect from the brand. By paring everything back, the collection’s simplicity made a strong statement.

Best presentation concept: Without a doubt, the best presentation concept came from Prada.

Trendspotting: In terms of trends, we saw a major emphasis on earthy tones with optimistic and moody accents as seen in Prada, Gucci and Fendi. Three-piece suiting and the return of the waistcoat offered a nice contrast to the more relaxed jacket silhouette we’ve been seeing. Overall, the tailoring has been more polished and yet still relaxed. In the showrooms, we saw that the fabrics are light and airy, shoulders are less structured, and a slouchier pant is finished with a waistcoat, belt and a necktie or scarf. The accessories complete the full look with footwear that’s all about freedom of movement such as creepers, sleek dance shoes and the slip-on sandals we saw at Prada.

Must-have item: The season’s must-have items include the Prada dance shoes, the contrast color “twin set” at Prada and the Look 5 “twinset” at Fendi, the Prada side-belt pant, Gucci creeper, and the relaxed overcoats from Fear of God.

Fendi Men's Fall 2024
Fendi Men’s Fall 2024

Reginald Christian, senior fashion manager, men’s at Saks

Favorite collections: Sabato De Sarno solidified his vision of Gucci in his first menswear show for the house, which was a continuation of the brand’s new design direction that we saw in his spring-summer womenswear collection. He offered a tasteful take on refined and stylish dressing, with crisp tailoring that was brilliantly structured and balanced with easy silhouettes. Brunello Cucinelli’s fall 2024 collection showcased the brand’s commitment to elevated dressing and modern design. Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons’ fall 2024 collection for Prada pushed us to explore the relevant and contrasting aspects of how men should dress. As the collection unfolded, it was clear that suiting is an essential investment in men’s wardrobes. The seasonality and rhythm of the collection felt particularly relevant and directional. Giorgio Armani showcased a stunning collection that pushed the boundaries of men’s fashion. Armani’s skillful use of luxurious fabrics like silk, velvet and corduroy gave birth to elegant styles that were neither complicated nor uncomfortable.

Best presentation concept: Tod’s fall 2024 presentation renewed its dedication to quality and design as the brand unveiled its men’s ready-to-wear collection. Models casually posed against tasteful drapery bomber jackets with shearling, denim blazers and relaxed-fit pleated trousers. Their artisans assembled iconic bags and offered us a glimpse into the brand’s craftsmanship.

Trendspotting: Dynamic tailoring was omnipresent across the runways, offering a versatile approach to refined blazers, trousers and suits. Corduroy was the most important fabric of the season, seen in shirting, pants, outerwear and footwear. Outdoor living style was big on the runways, from textured knitwear, bomber jackets, peacoats and skiwear. Hiking boots and lace-up dress shoes were key footwear styles.

Must-have item: Gucci’s Horsebit black leather creepers will be the ultimate day-to-night shoe of the season. I also have my eye on the baseball caps and backpacks from Ralph Lauren’s Purple Label x New York Yankees capsule.

General comment on the season: Milan Fashion Week is always the best market to reevaluate what classic and sartorial style means, and this season was full of positive pointers of commitment to fashion and appreciation of craftsmanship, quality and good style. This season was an eye-opening reflection on how interesting, refined and beautiful design can be. It feels like we are entering an era of proudly embracing novelty, personal style and the desire for men to enrich their wardrobes with items that offer refinement, interest and timeless style.

Backstage at Giorgio Armani Men's Fall 2024
Backstage at Giorgio Armani men’s fall 2024.

Bruce Pask, senior editorial director at Neiman Marcus

Favorite collections: The standout Prada collection presented compelling ideas for a wardrobe well suited for a “work wherever” world. Sabato De Sarno’s debut Gucci men’s collection had a real spare, sartorial focus with beautiful contrast lapeled suiting and louche evening wear, which gave a real spotlight to a variety of great, covetable creeper-style Horsebit loafers and new, larger versions of the Jackie bag and tote in colorful leathers and printed monograms that felt just right. Brioni’s hushed setting in a private library in Brera gave the right amount of reverence to the delicate, lightweight, soft tailoring, beautiful double-faced jackets and coats, and some of the most elegant, opulent eveningwear around. Steven Stokey-Daley’s daydream of a collection shown at Pitti Uomo was a charming, wonderfully eccentric take on classics of the British wardrobe.

Best presentation concept: This will have to be a tie for me. Prada’s jaw-dropping glass platformed terrarium of a set…[and] the falling cashmere “snow” that enveloped a mountain of Oasi cashmere tinted the color of fallen leaves at Zegna.

Trendspotting: It was an incredibly sartorial season, with tailored clothing providing a key component to most collections. There was a relaxed ease to the cuts of jackets and fuller trousers with beautiful drape.  The double-breasted model had a large presence, though seemingly quite editorial, while the formal and evening categories saw expansive offerings with innovative new fabrics and treatments. Velvet was a real standout, seen in a bounty of rich colorations. Luxurious materials and rich fabrications, notably double-faced cashmere, were highlighted in most collections including Kiton, Brunello Cucinelli, Brioni, and Canali. English country wear was a big inspiration seen throughout collections from Ralph Lauren and S. S. Daley, with luxe tweeds, new takes on the classic waxed work jacket, and even kilted shorts seen at Fendi. Longer, structured coats, especially naval-inspired, continue the trend toward tailored outerwear at Emporio Armani, Gucci and Brioni. Refined hiking boots and Tyrolian-style trekking shoes at Church’s, Tod’s and Stuart Weitzman had a rugged elegance.

Must-have item: A Gucci Jackie bag, Prada leather belted trouser and slim-line lace-up, anything velvet, a double-faced cashmere jacket, a trekking shoe, a slouchy shouldered overcoat.

Brunello Cucinellli Men's Fall 2024
Brunello Cucinellli Men’s Fall 2024

Justin Berkowitz, fashion director, men’s at Bloomingdale’s

Favorite collections: Prada, Giorgio Armani, Fear of God, Zegna

Best presentation concept: Prada’s return to office statement, superimposed on and with the outdoors was quite incredible.

Trendspotting: Tailoring was a big message in Milan this week, with some great new ideas around silhouette, proportion, and styling to make the suit feel more modern. Longer and looser topcoats, and officers’ coats also felt fresh. Utilitarian and workwear ideas were quite prevalent, with chore coats and barn jackets both looking very strong, as well as the now semi-ubiquitous overshirt. Textured knits, twisted yarns, and mouliné were big statements in knitwear. And finally, evening looks regularly featured hits of embroidery, sequins, shine and other embellishments.

Must-have item: The belted tote from Prada is certainly on my wish list.

Jian DeLeon, men’s fashion director at Nordstrom

Favorite collections: My favorite collections were Fear of God, Prada, Gucci, Setchu, Canali, Isaia and Massimo Alba.

Best presentation concept: Prada.

Trendspotting: I saw herringbone and tweed in all forms, from hardy suits to instantly covetable outerwear. Heritage plaids are prevalent — especially in toggle coats and field jackets. There’s also this notion of taking eveningwear everywhere, from a shawl-collar topcoat at Zegna to Massimo Alba’s rendition of a tux, to Setchu’s silk-lapeled convertible coat, and covered silk buttons on coats and blazers at Dolce & Gabbana.

Must-have item: Definitely an oversized topcoat, preferably from Prada, Gucci or Fear of God. I also quite liked Massimo Alba’s alternative take on eveningwear, featuring laid-back separates made from a black tuxedo wool.

Daniel Todd, buying director at Mr Porter

Favorite collections: Our Legacy, Zegna and Brunello Cucinelli.

Best presentation concept: Stone Island, Fear of God and Tod’s.

Trendspotting: Soft tailoring, relaxed trousers, oversized coats, lapel-free jackets and blazers.

Must-have item: Fear of God’s oversized coats.

General comment on the season: Sartorial dressing at its best.

Fear of God RTW 2024
Fear of God RTW 2024

Joseph Tang, fashion director at Holt Renfrew

Favorite collections: We love how Prada continues to reinvent the work uniform. Alessandro Sartori’s vision for Zegna continues to elevate and define what traditional codes of tailoring mean today. Sabato De Sarno’s debut men’s collection for Gucci continued the narrative presented during the women’s collection. Our Legacy blends together textural materials through knits and outerwear, which has easily become the brand’s new signifier.

Best presentation concept: Stone Island’s debut runway presentation was a spectacle of its own. The show was an intersection of fashion, music, art and culture, ultimately joining together a unique community to Milan Men’s Fashion Week.

Trendspotting: This Milan Men’s Fashion Week was all about effortless elegance. There was a sophisticated, yet nonchalant attitude conveyed through the collections that stood out from every designer from Fear of God, Giorgio Armani, Dolce & Gabbana and Brunello Cucinelli. Another key trend was the notion of formal workwear with an emphasis on functional classics, reworked in a more dressed-up manner. Fendi, Our Legacy and Prada demonstrated a new way to style this trend. Tonal knit dressing was prevalent throughout many of the collections this week, seen in chic twin-sets to layered, chunky wool sweaters worn as outerwear. Zegna, Gucci, and Prada all showed different versions of these varied for every customer.

Must-have item: Prada’s multicolored twin-set with leather belted tote bag. Fendi’s leather workwear jacket with matching FF speaker. Brunello Cucinelli corduroy separates seen best via the coral trousers or ivory trenchcoat. Tod’s wallaby boot with treaded sole. Zegna’s Oasi cashmere knit suit. Oversized Jackie bag in Gucci Rosso [Ancora].

General comment on the season: There was an air of liberation throughout the collections this season at Milan Men’s Fashion Week. We are moving past the discreetness of quiet luxury, evolving into an attitude of eclectic elegance and a more androgynous approach to masculine design codes. “Grandpa Core” continued to pop up at the collections with retro-inspired cardigans and a dapper old-chic mentality weaving its way through the runways. The much anticipated men’s collection by Sabato De Sarno did not disappoint. We will need to make room in our closets for all of the amazing coats he put out on the runway.

Raphaël Deray, buying manager men’s luxury and designers at Printemps

Favorite collections: I liked Sabato De Sarno’s first men’s runway for Gucci as it reflects my own taste and my personal style. Fendi was also quite special; it made me want to go to the British countryside while I’m usually not a big fan of this aesthetic. Andersson Bell did a great job on styling, layering, colors… it’s always a personal favorite.

Best presentation concept: I really, really like this season Prada set and the idea behind it. It makes you question a lot of things.

Trendspotting: When it comes to products, the strongest trend was definitely neck accessories. Whether it was jewelry (heavy necklaces at Gucci…), textiles (choker scarves at Prada, neck warmers at Andersson Bell, MSGM…) and ties (Prada, Gucci…), those items were predominant during Milan Fashion Week.

A lot of collar details as well with contrasted fabrics and colors, buttons, oversized shapes… Fendi did a great job on that. When it comes to colors, this season we saw a lot of black, gray, dark brown and forest green. That probably reflects what’s happening in the world right now.

Must-have item: Something tight around your neck. It could be a choker, a tie, a scarf or all that altogether.

Budgets: Fall-winter 2023 was not an easy season but the men’s market is still growing significantly and so are our budgets.

General comment on the season: Not the most interesting season of the last couple years but I am a fan of what we are seeing on the runways right now, something that is not solely made for the Instagram buzz: attention to details, fabrics, perpetual designs and more.

Gucci Men's Fall 2024
Gucci Men’s Fall 2024

Simon Longland, director of buying, fashion at Harrods

Favorite collections: Another tour de force from the partnership of Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons was unveiled this week and took top spot for me across the weekend and was a standout when it comes to staging the iconic Fondazione Prada. A merging of talent that just gets better and better to produce a collection that feels idiosyncratically Prada but also new modern and unique. Alessandro Sartori continues to present masterful menswear collections, full of truly covetable, desirable and wearable pieces at Zegna. As always, the fabrications and finishes were rich, full of texture and truly luxurious, a wonderful end to Milan Men’s AW24.

Trendspotting: Tailoring reigned supreme this week, with a noticeable absence of sweats and a clear focus on elevated, sartorial dressing — a wardrobe for going out. Suiting in every iteration, from ultra-luxurious and refined with velvet dinner jackets and traditional silhouettes to the use of sequins and fur to engage an edgier approach. Through this shift toward a more dressed-up approach to wardrobing, there was a departure from sneaker styles across the board and an elevation in big boots and simple slippers — Prada’s answer to a ballet flat for men was simple and I expect to be hugely popular. For color, the collections were rooted in darker, moodier colors with a focus on black, greens and purples, tones that amplify the “after dark” aesthetic we saw coming through.

Must-have item: Next season you can’t go wrong with a tweed two-piece, cocooning cashmere overcoat, a black suit with a twist, and of course a classic leather jacket.

General comment on the season: This season was exciting as we saw a harmony across all collections, a collective coming together of houses with naturally varied codes and aesthetics to drive a shift toward this more elegant, elevated evening proposition — which is the first time in some time that we have seen this type of city-wide alignment.

Sophie Jordan, menswear buying director at Mytheresa

Favorite collections: Prada was my favorite show of Milan; the message was clear and unpretentious. The oversized tailoring with cutaway collar shirts and ties in subtle color combinations were a highlight, while the double denim looks with overcoats you could wear straight from the runway. Dolce & Gabbana had a clear message with a focused color palette of impeccable tailoring and luxurious outerwear. There was an easy sophistication in the Brioni collection and how interchangeable the pieces are for a modern wardrobe across work and leisure. Our Legacy [displayed] a confident collection that felt more grown up with a twist on classic menswear codes (tailoring, ties, the half-zip knit) but put together in way that felt relaxed. Zegna was one of the best “classic” menswear brands shows; it actually had a fashion point of view whilst still suiting a timeless menswear customer.

Trendspotting: It felt less about trends this season and more about realism — a focus on real clothes for real life with functionality and purpose at its heart. We saw again a focus on practicality mixed with sophistication, with technical outerwear mixed with tailoring. There was also a lot of elegant eveningwear this season; we saw the tuxedo in almost every collection and a lot more silk blouses, embellished blazers and sleek maxi evening coats.

Must-have item: Prada suit and tie.

General comment on the season: In general, I felt like Milan was lacking some excitement this season and I would love to see more emerging designers coming through the schedule.

Prada Men's RTW Fall 2024
Prada Men’s RTW Fall 2024

Tizian Fausti, owner 10 Corso Como

Favorite collections: Prada

Best presentation concept: Magliano, who decided to show his latest collection in Florence during Pitti Uomo at Nelson Mandela Forum. The setting created by Davide Stucchi symbolizes the verticality in form of a big staircase, which acted as a runway.

Trendsetting: Loose denim fit, coats and jackets in a boxy tailoring fit, earthy tones and accented colors.

Must-have item: Prada suits, Fendi maxi bag, Dries Van Noten knitwear and JW Anderson loafer mules.

General comment: Contemporary tailoring is playing a massive role. The use of fine materials and curated details are the main characters, but obviously we are looking forward to dive into Paris fashion week and see what’s next.

Thom Scherdel, senior menswear buying manager at Browns

Favorite collections: Prada is always one of the strongest highlights out of Milan, the fusion of Raf Simons and Miuccia always has a strong impact. It’s also great to see the masters of quiet luxury for menswear from brands like Brunello Cucinelli and Zegna unveil their vision for the upcoming season.

Best presentation concept: We loved Stone Island’s debut; they presented a really elevated brand perspective, with exceptional product innovation, which was a great addition to the calendar.

Trendspotting: One of the strongest trends is back to basics with a focus on doing the simple things exceptionally well. Sartorialism also continues to dominate but with an interesting pattern twist as we saw herringbone, Prince of Wales and pinstripe fabrics all dominate the runway. We also noticed a strong military color palette of khaki and stone across workwear pieces which we think will be popular this season.

Must-have item: Prada’s outerwear, especially the camel coat and white utility jacket, are two must-haves, along with Gucci’s knitted polo and Stone Island’s reflective cargo trousers.

General comment on the season: There’s a sense of subtle optimism as we saw an array of creative yet commercial collections for the upcoming season. Milan Moda Uomo has become more and more important over the past few seasons with being the home of sartorial trends and a greater focus on tailoring in general than the fashion weeks that follow it.

Elena Cappellini, head of menswear at LuisaViaRoma 

Favorite collections: Zegna, where quiet luxury gets less “boring,” also thanks to hints of colors and the attention given to tailoring and the uniqueness of individual pieces thanks to their premium materials, which are often also combined with each other. In Florence, the Magliano fashion show was interesting, introducing two collaborations with two Italian excellences, Borsalino and Kiton.

Trendspotting: A strong presence of jackets, coats, trenchcoats, bomber jackets. The focus on overshirts also stands out, and was already starting to take hold with the current spring 2024 season. As a macro trend, quiet luxury is still strong also thanks to the ode of tailoring, which rewards elegance and quality through timeless pieces, as proved by the Zegna show where cashmere was the protagonist. Even in the sportiest sphere, you can see what we can define as quiet outdoor, which favors premium materials combined with the technical ones.

Must-have item: Simple looks but with unique individual pieces. And a strong focus on accessories such as belts and bags.

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