Fall/Winter 2008 Milan and Paris Highlights


As the curtain for the men’s shows in Paris and Milan has fallen once again, there is left in its wake hundreds of outfits that compared against the backdrop of current fashion, will play a large role in the determination of new trends.  This year’s collections were in some cases an about-face on current trends and an elaboration in other instances.  Though only time can tell which fashions will make the transition from runway to everyday, there were clearly some standout pieces in a sea of seemingly endless fabric.

Designers hit the brakes on the ‘slim’ trend and reversed direction in creating a bigger, wider silhouette.  Baggy and flowing pants in the style of 30’s ‘zoot suits’ were present in nearly every show, even at Dior Homme, which would have been an anathema only a few years earlier under the reign of Hedi Slimane.  While these ‘Aladdin’ inspired pants will not likely achieve any popularity outside of the Euro-hipster and Face hunter demographic, it is an important indicator that the fashion world has tired of narrow cuts for the moment and it may also be a sign of the impending return of pleated pants to stylishness.

In more manageable proportions, flowing pants can actually be quite stylish, such as this pair from Emanuel Ungaro, though they are ultimately unlikely to gain wide acceptance. To wear roomier pants and not look like Jim Carry from “The Mask,” it is best to wear a modern, fitted jacket rather than something equally bulbous.  Because of their high fashion status, pants of this style are likely to draw raised-eyebrows in the street.

Interestingly, or party due to baggy pants’ dependence on them, tops did not follow the super-sizing trend, instead many were cropped and revamped in this manner.  Suit jackets were both shorter and more fitted than had been seen in previous years.  This was similarly the case with the classic tuxedo, which was transformed from its traditional form to a more avant-garde appearance.

One trend that I predict will be particularly successful was a certain ‘wild west’ look at Paul Smith, evoked by earthy colors and a distinctly classic cut.  A higher lapel will likely be increasingly desired after a seemingly long period of fashion hibernation.  While plaids were still ruefully popular with many designers, they seemed toned down to a degree, making them more palatable.  Such was the effect of this Rykiel Homme suit (top right), which flawlessly combined an edgy fabric with a rakishly modern cut to create a Rock ’n’ roll look.

Possibly my favorite look of the season was from Raf Simons.  This pairing of a turtleneck and trousers is so sophisticated and chic in its simplicity that it exudes a timelessness that I look for in dressing. The fit of the pants is perfect and they serve well to visually emphasize the difference between fashion and style.  While zoot pants may be fashionable today, they are the kind of dated tem that will have you asking yourself what you were thinking when looking back on it ten years into the future.



  1. good article, except that there were a couple typos.

  2. I’m sure there’s a reason why I stop reading the words after a while and just look at the pictures. Do you have anything insightful to say about these runway pictures?

    It’s fairly easy to tell which of these blogs demonstrate real knowledge of style.

  3. Sam Jones,
    Do YOU have anything “insightful” to comment? Or that’s your way of being “insightful”?

    Article is nice overview of ‘highlights’, but what to expect from runway shows anyway? I never expect anything mind-blowing when reading runway reviews.

  4. Sam Jones, I apologize that the article was not sufficiently cerebral and did not satisfy you in a way you hoped. I was merely attempting to report on the highlights of over 2,000 looks that were shown during the collections in Paris and Milan while also providing minimal editorial. Style and trends are two diametrically opposed ideas; one is completely personal and the other is, by definition, something emulated by many. It’s up to you to be inspired and ultimately form your own opinion.

  5. Marshall-Teel says:

    I thought it was a good article.

    I do wish that Paris and Milan would fall on their faces in the fashion world. Most of those looks are absolutely hideous.