The men’s fashion caravan arrives in Milan on Friday, having already made its twice-yearly stops in London and Florence. Milan is the de facto capital of Italian fashion, and its men’s wear week is where some of the largest and most influential brands in Italy show new collections.
At least, it usually is. The fashion industry has been reconsidering its longstanding conventions, including whether it makes sense to stage expensive runway shows, and whether to present men’s and women’s separately. So several major brands are sitting out the season, leaving openings for newcomers to fill formerly packed slots in the rigid calendar.
Following is a brief field guide to who’s on, who’s off and who’s new this Milan week:
At Ermenegildo Zegna, Alessandro Sartori, the former creative director of Berluti, will show his first collection since being named Zegna’s artistic director. Mr. Sartori cut his teeth at Zegna as the designer of Z Zegna, the label’s more fashion-forward line, from 2003 until 2008, and is now the first designer to have oversight of all the Zegna lines.
At Marni, Francesco Risso presents his first collection since being named to the house in the wake of the founder and designer Consuelo Castgilioni’s departure in October. Mr. Risso, previously a designer at Prada, will show his first Marni women’s collection in February.
And at Salvatore Ferragamo, Guillaume Meilland, part of a newly appointed group of three designers (along with Paul Andrews, who will design women’s footwear, and Fulvio Rigoni, who will design women’s wear), will have his first show for the label.
Gucci, one of the darlings of the moment, having been given a shot in the brocaded arm by the designer Alessandro Michele, has combined its men’s and women’s shows; for the first time in years, it will sit out the Milan men’s week and show during the women’s week in February. Likewise, Bottega Veneta, Gucci’s brother brand under the Kering umbrella, which combined its men’s and women’s shows as of last season, will continue to do so going forward.
Same for Calvin Klein Collection, which under its longtime men’s creative director Italo Zucchelli had shown men’s wear on the runway in Milan. Mr. Zucchelli left the company in April, and Raf Simons, the new chief creative officer, will show men’s and women’s together on the runway in February during New York Fashion Week.
Roberto Cavalli is between designers at the moment, since the departure of Peter Dundas in October; it will not present a men’s collection this season. (Mr. Dundas’s last runway show was done coed, for the record.) Brioni made headlines in April when it hired the heavily tattooed Justin O’Shea, formerly the fashion director at the German retailer MyTheresa, to shake up its suit-and-tie image. But after a single show, presented in Paris during the couture fashion week, Brioni dismissed Mr. O’Shea after only six months; there will be no show from the label in Milan, either.
Jil Sander has not dismissed its creative director, Rodolfo Paglialunga, but it will not show a collection this week.
With the schedule more open than usual, the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana, which organizes the Milan shows, has supported a small number of designers, including several new to the schedule. Among them are Federico Curradi, a former creative director of Iceberg men’s wear, who presented his first collection under his own name at Pitti in January; Wood Wood, the Danish street wear label; and Malibu 1992, which is, its name notwithstanding, a new label from the Milan D.J. Dorian Stefano Tarantini, a former creative director of Plastic, one of the fashion set’s preferred clubs.
The Camera Moda has also teamed up with Armani to show three Asian designers (Moto Guo of Malaysia, Consistence from China and Taiwan, and Yoshio Kubo from Japan) at a joint show at its Teatro/Armani.
Philipp Plein, Milan fashion week’s most reliable source of over-the-top entertainment (his past shows have involved monster trucks, cage fights and a roller coaster), will move his show to New York Fashion Week this season, but not to worry: He will show his athletic wear collection, Plein Sport, on the Milan runway instead, as well as Billionaire, a label pitched to “playboys, empire builders and fortune creators,” in which the Plein group invested in May.