MILAN, Italy Men’s wear week in Milan doesn’t look much prefer it used to. Many of the city’s big names (Gucci, Bottega Veneta and Jil Sander among them) are sitting the season out. Some are lumping their men’s shows in with their women’s; others, like Jil Sander, are simply staying quietly out of the spotlight. And new designers have been installed in familiar houses: At Zegna, at Marni and at Salvatore Ferragamo.
Marni is tottering out on new legs for the primary time. The label has always been synonymous with Consuelo Castiglioni: She founded it, designed it and steered it for greater than 20 years. Then, last year, Renzo Rosso, whose Only the Brave group completed its acquisition of Marni in 2015, announced that she would depart. Francesco Risso, a longtime lieutenant of Miuccia Prada’s, would take over.
It is feasible to miss Ms. Castiglioni while acknowledging that Mr. Risso made a strong debut on Saturday, clever in its zaniness. Brave in it, too. This was not a timid tiptoe out of the gate.
Mr. Risso’s rumpled Marni men tromped through passageways lit with digital videos, through which animated domestic scenes the bathroom, the apartment hallway suddenly melted into acid-trip swirls. The D.J. Mimi Xu, on hand to play the late-night after party, was musing before the show about turning it into a “cheeky little rave.The collection, with its screeching colors, tufted-fur hats, belt-bags and hand-painted prints, did look able to party.
“Rave Marni,I said to Mr. Risso, a 34-year-old sprite with corkscrew curls.
“That’s what it must be,he said.
Backstage after the show, Mr. Risso offered his own theory of the gathering “One plus one is one plus onewhich doesn’t sound unlike the type of early-morning musings you might hear among the slightly fried within the chill room. “That’s it,he insisted. On that, he said no more, though you wouldn’t be surprised to listen to the phrase punctuated with “P.L.U.R.! the durable rave mantra. But when he said he hoped the gathering would “announce vulnerability,that made good club sense. “The vulnerability that you simply need to bring ahead into your adult life,he added.
Its vulnerability was its strength, the brash openness of its raw, nervy weirdness. There have been some clothes here that were silly and some that were frankly ugly (which, in design, is usually taken as a measure of seriousness; Mrs. Prada has long known that, and Mr. Risso has evidently learned his Prada lessons well). However the show provided a jolt, Marni-ish in spirit, that zapped Milan’s opening days. It is only Mr. Risso’s first collection, but it surely left many in the grumpy crowd smiling. That’s a great way to begin.
Not every debut can be a rebel yell, and never every label has Marni’s esoteric heritage. By necessity, Guillaume Meilland’s first collection because the men’s design director of Salvatore Ferragamo was statelier, quieter, less likely to spook the horses. Mr. Meilland, lately of Lanvin in Paris, tweaked the proportions of Ferragamo’s suits and coats to suit his particular fancy, offering an elongated, slim silhouette in addition to a boxier, work-wear inspired one.
It was an elegant adjustment rather than a reboot. But there have been fine pieces throughout that caught your eye, even those that a lesser designer may need considered throwaways, like the finely striped turtlenecks that peeked out from under shirts. Every detail was considered, down to the shoes which is important, because, while runway shows are well and good, Ferragamo is a footwear company before anything.
Mr. Meilland’s handsome, round-toed boots, with clunky, diamond-studded lug soles, were all right, but the sleek, hand-stitched Italian loafers were better. That bodes well for Mr. Meilland, and it bodes well for Ferragamo.