13 January 2012

Valentino introduces the 'Jape' for FW12

Menswear fashion week kicked off a couple of days ago in Florence with the famous Pitti Uomo trade show, which Scott Schuman and Tommy Ton first made famous because of the brilliant street style of its attendees. Some of the bigger menswear designers such as Jil Sander have chosen to have their show there in the past. This time the Valentino Uomo and Hardy Amies collections have been the ones to walk down the rooms of the Palazzo Pitti.
Sadly, I have missed this event (once again). Fortunately, I am flying to Milan tomorrow to attend some of the FW12 shows there. So stay tuned for all the reports of Ermenegildo Zegna, Burberry Porsum, Emporio Armani and Tod's first hand. I am very excited!

The Valentino show really left me amazed. It's not a brand that I would normally go to for menswear but it seems like Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli have really found a direction for next winter. It was a mostly monochrome collection about subtlety. All the garments were about structure and details that you wouldn't normally find at first glance –zips and pockets perfect placed– because they're intended to be used and not necessarily decorate.
I am usually more keen on having a mix of colours (you will never see me in all black) but this monochromatic take on the tailoring works so well. It's like watching a film in black and white where you pay more attention to the texture and shape of things. I found curious how the trousers were cropped –something that I have always been a fan of for the winter– but even more so I was intrigued by the reason why the models walked sock-less. Chic as it looks, I am not sure of how practical it can be for the cold months. Perhaps it was a mere presentation choice?
My favourite part of the collection were the 'Japes' –a term combining 'jacket' and 'cape' that I have decided to coin to save me time. Men (me included) have worn their jackets and coats simply thrown over their shoulders for decades but it's sometimes hard to keep from sliding off. Maria Grazia and Pier Paolo have solved this by adding a strap of fabric (matching the jacket) that reaches from the left to the right lapel and buttons underneath it. It's early yet to say whether this will become a trend for FW12 but it would be fair to say that we will probably see many men sporting this in a year's time.

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