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MSGM Spring 2023 Menswear

MSGM boys are good natured boys, with not a soupçon of dark side. Or at least, they keep it well hidden under the cheerful, über-positive designs concocted by Massimo Giorgetti, an equally sunny-side-up kind of guy. For him, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel, even if external conditions may suggest otherwise.Returning to…

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MSGM Spring 2023 Menswear

MSGM boys are good natured boys, with not a soupçon of dark side. Or at least, they keep it well hidden under the cheerful, über-positive designs concocted by Massimo Giorgetti, an equally sunny-side-up kind of guy. For him, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel, even if external conditions may suggest otherwise.

Returning to a full-on men’s fashion week schedule put the designer in even more of a good mood, but the message he wanted to convey for spring was nuanced. He said that reading Michel Houellebecq’s dystopian and rather cynical novel The Possibility Of An Island made him think about the tension between the natural and the virtual, humanity and technology. How can you square dystopia and utopia? Given Giorgetti’s positive nature, he envisioned a way out, a realm of possibilities where hope and escapism reign supreme, inhabited by a posse of MSGM-clad young optimists.

To amplify his message, the location he choose for the show was a brand new glass and cement building located in an up-and-coming industrial area of Milan; it houses an Italian tech and digital company committed to sustainability practices, and it overlooks a vast expanse dotted by artworks where a pond is surrounded by greenery. “It seemed just perfect to represent what I wanted to say,” explained Giorgetti. “A place suspended between water and concrete, an apparent duality that should be somehow reconciled.”

Parading around the stretch of water and under an unmercifully hot sun, models sported looks with an escapist, carefree surfer vibe. Humongous bermudas, boxy shirts in crisp cotton or denim and ultra-sort shorts were printed with tropicalia, hibiscus, bananas and lots of marine creatures. Underwear peeked out from slouchy drawstring pajama pants, worn slightly more formally under fluid blazers with printed lapels paired with matching midriff-baring cropped shirts. Striped knits in MSGM’s eye-popping palette of brights were layered and mixed together in free-style mode.

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“I see MSGM as a percolator where ideas and references blend together creating new directions,” said Giorgetti, who, having his finger on the pulse, doesn’t let himself get distracted by someone else’s narration. While he seems willing to experiment and take risks, he stays true to his honest, straightforward vision. So far, it has proved a remarkable asset.

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Vivetta Resort 2023

Bows as huge as kites; cut-outs in the shape of hearts; roses spiraling in vortexes. Vivetta Ponti was in cheerful mode for resort. “People want to party again, to enjoy life,” she said, talking about the spirit of effervescence that infused her collection.There’s always a whiff of malice in Ponti’s idea of femininity, something bittersweet…

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Vivetta Resort 2023

Bows as huge as kites; cut-outs in the shape of hearts; roses spiraling in vortexes. Vivetta Ponti was in cheerful mode for resort. “People want to party again, to enjoy life,” she said, talking about the spirit of effervescence that infused her collection.

There’s always a whiff of malice in Ponti’s idea of femininity, something bittersweet and surreal. She likes to escape to an illusory place, which isn’t dark in the least, rather fluffy and featherlight like cotton candy. The escape route isn’t surprising, since IRL her three kids and a very busy life leading her independent company keep her well grounded. “I’m a natural born optimist,” she said. “I have so many projects that I want to activate, so much energy.” Indeed. You don’t raise three kids and manage your own label if you don’t believe that the future looks at you with benevolent eyes, and if you aren’t blessed with ample supplies of a special kind of built-in propeller.

For resort, Ponti played with seductive propositions—feminine sleeveless ’50s dresses with ample décolletages printed with roses; ultra short miniskirts with huge bows at the front worn with romantic laced-up ruffled tops; light tiered sundresses in crisp poplin inducing a feel of summery freshness. They were offered perched on towering glittery platforms, on sandals with fluffed marabou feathers, or on knee-high boots with heart-shaped cut-outs. Delicate jewelry was also part of the picture, as well as a pretty pair of high-waisted denim pants with a crystal-studded heart framing the navel.

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Thom Browne Spring 2023 Menswear

In 2017, Thom Browne expanded his oeuvre and put men in dresses during his menswear show in Paris. That collection, called “Why Not?” was less a provocation than a flex: The elegant elongated shapes Browne was developing for women translated, seamlessly and cheekily, for men. Five years later—and after a two-year hiatus from Paris—Browne’s menswear…

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Thom Browne Spring 2023 Menswear

In 2017, Thom Browne expanded his oeuvre and put men in dresses during his menswear show in Paris. That collection, called “Why Not?” was less a provocation than a flex: The elegant elongated shapes Browne was developing for women translated, seamlessly and cheekily, for men. Five years later—and after a two-year hiatus from Paris—Browne’s menswear is back in the French capital with similar potency. His spring 2023 collection, suspended almost entirely from jock straps, is Browne’s updated meditation on “how far you can push it?”

“I thought the dresses were too much back then,” Browne began at a preview in his showroom, “but now feels like the time to do this. It’s about how much guys can look at and entertain.” Referring to the many visible cheeks on the catwalk, he pointedly added: “It’s not about shock value.”

If not shock, then what? There has been a lot of nudity this menswear season and in the past two years in general, but Browne’s stated intent is less about showing flesh than it is about finding a new form for men. You can see how he could get bored quick. This is his third catwalk in under a year—plus four pre-collections. “I have a good team” he demurred when asked how he creates with such voracity.

So the brief was brief this season: short, mini, kinky, gorgeous. Each of the looks was made in a unique French tweed, from the same maker of you-know-who’s tweeds, inspired by the couture ideology of the 1940s and 1950s. The show began with friends of the maison as couture clients—Anh Duong, Marisa Berenson, Farida Khelfa, and more—bolting in to the second floor of the Crillon to find their seats. From their vantage point they could ogle the guys—a nice swap—in their shorter-in-the-back kiltlets, sailor tops, cropped organza button downs, and luxurious tweed coats with gold bouillon. As with any Browne outing, the fabrics and silhouettes were as fine as can be.

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After a mostly underwhelming season, at least according to the menswear editors I tallied, how far could this irreverent beauty really go, though? Several balked. Others chuckled. When a dancer emerged at the end of the show dressed in a codpiece with an anchor Prince Albert piercing, I exchanged a glance with a friend across the aisle and we both giggled. Last night was Pride in Paris. In Browne’s beloved USA, human rights are being revoked by the hour. It would be hard to picture a more gay and proud couture-worthy collection: the sailor, the cowboy, the surfer, the tennis pro; the stereotypes divorced from expected connotations, made in the artisanal gold standard of womenswear design, ass cracks gleaming and pert under those red, white and blue bars of gingham. Browne is gay and proud. Will his cis-het clientele be radicalized or scandalized? A voiceover that started the show spoke about the couture process of the ’50s, when women were swans and men were their benefactors. “Men have the very great pleasure of paying,” said the recording. Time to pay up, boys.

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Ambush Resort 2023

“The touchpoint and the root of every Ambush collection has to come from everything that happens in Japan that is unique,” said Yoon Ahn when we met at the very beginning of Paris Fashion Week. Given that she has been on that scene since the early 2000s, when she moved to Tokyo with her family,…

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Ambush Resort 2023

“The touchpoint and the root of every Ambush collection has to come from everything that happens in Japan that is unique,” said Yoon Ahn when we met at the very beginning of Paris Fashion Week. Given that she has been on that scene since the early 2000s, when she moved to Tokyo with her family, not to mention that the Ambush office sits right in Shibuya, Yoon has plenty of material to mine. This pre-collection represented a down-tempo interlude in Ambush’s rhythm of show season spectacular, and was more observationaL. The collection was designed as an imagined curation of the clothes she sees on the kids who are flocking back to Shibuya today. “Things are opening up, the clubs: everything’s coming back in Tokyo. I’ve been feeling that.”

Tailoring, sportswear, footwear, nylon-spliced denim, and of course this brand’s core category of jewelry was all effectively designed to be defined less by the wearer’s gender identity than their aesthetic orientation and subcultural proclivity. The classics covered, from Ambush specific bodice tops and kimono coats to standards including bowling shirts and tracksuits, were adroitly but subtly remixed through tweaks in proportion, color, and fabrication. Pills and mushrooms came suspended from safety pin earrings and chains, supplies brought in for a big night ahead. This though was a collection built for street life: night life comes later.

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