At the Men’s Shows, Fun and a Sweater for Formal Wear

At the Men’s Shows, Fun and a Sweater for Formal Wear

Whether that speaks to you or not depends to some degree on you. In Milan, at least, it still offers a zing.

Few who show in this city go as far as Mr. Risso does down this lane. But what has been interesting to see in the first days of fashion week here is how even the most traditionally minded brands are working to loosen up.

At the company palazzo on Via San Barnaba, Ralph Lauren was showing its Purple Label collection, slim of pant and broad of lapel, proper suits for proper gentlemen (especially those with a slight English country fetish).

But even there, among tonal tailoring and naval overcoats, were novelty sweaters with a scattering of patches — they, a brand representative whispered, typically are the first to sell out. (The famous Polo bear has quietly begun appearing in Purple Label, too.)

Among the velvet dinner jackets and tuxedos of the formal wear section were options that once upon a time would have seemed heretical: a pleated shirt and bow tie and a stone-studded Western belt; a sweater — a sweater! — embroidered with a portrait of Mr. Lauren in Colorado ranch hand mode, a stalk of hay stuck between his teeth. The benefit circuit awaits.


Kiton KNT, fall 2018.

And at Kiton, the Neapolitan tailoring concern for whom the finest is barely fine enough, exorbitant is merely a starting point (I always make a point to pet the vicuña). Antonio De Matteis, the chief executive, beelined to a back room to show off a new collection: KNT (Kiton New Textures), where athleisure meets Italian tailoring.

Its architects are his 26-year-old twin sons, Mariano and Walter, and its offerings include suit-fabric sneakers and, if one could believe it, jogging pants — a first, at least to be shown with blazers.

The main room still groans with racks and racks of suits, blazers, shirts and ties, but here was, as promised, a new texture for Kiton, a looser attitude. Some things, of course, are nonnegotiable.

Asked about prices, Mr. De Matteis threw up his hands: “It’s a Kiton price point,” he said. Translated by a spokesman later: jogging pants, about $2,500.

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