Menswear is to Milan what red wine is to Burgundy. The spiritual home of all things canvased, cuffed and cut-away, it's a highlight in the menswear calendar not least because the most established tailoring brands in the business all show there, from Giorgio Armani and Ermenegildo Zegna to Dolce & Gabbana and Prada.
Short of feeling traditional, however, the Autumn Winter collections seemed fresh and energetic. Perhaps it was because the schedule was lighter, meaning that tired editors (like us) had more time to engage with the smaller brands. Or perhaps it was because the labels had thought of new and interesting ways to show their clothes.
There was an interactive presentation from Canali which allowed you to get up close and personal with the cashmeres vicunas and alpacas - which is exactly what you want to do. While At Zegna, new creative director Alessandro Sartori (who returns to the brand after a stint at Berluti) showed a richly textured collection in an aircraft hangar punctuated with Anselm Kiefer sculptures. At Pal Zileri, another tailoring force, sumptuous suiting was shown alongside the work stations of the craftsmen and women who actually make the stuff.
So here, now we've got up close and personal with the clothes, is our outline of what the Italians hope you'll be wearing next winter. Prego!
1 | Corduroy
It's rare that a trend can be found ticked off at pretty much every major brand, but for AW '17, corduroy is that trend. Shown in mustard-hued suits at McQueen, amazing feather light camel blazers and overcoats at Brunello Cucinelli and in flowing trousers in moody shades at both Emporio and Giorgio Armani - the ultimate proof of the trend was at Prada, where Miuccia showed extraordinary blazers, suits, trench coats and bombers in burgundy, honey and ginger cord. Bellissimo.
2 | A Military Cut
Though the past few seasons have been all about slouch, for Autumn Winter '17 a more tailored aesthetic is making a comeback. We saw it in London, where Grace Wales Bonner, Charles Jeffrey Loverboy and Connolly showed beautifully cut frock coats and military suiting, but it looked just as good in Milan. At both Alexander McQueen and Dolce & Gabanna, suits were cut close, while overcoats were tailored with an elegant synched waist, a broad shoulder and a generous lapel.
3 | Furry Shoes
It might have been Gucci who started the trend a few seasons ago with their kangaroo fur-lined slippers, but for Autumn Winter '17 furry shoes are officially a thing. At Dolce & Gabbana slippers came coated in thick (fake) fur and looked incredibly cosy, at Prada, pony skin desert boots with outsized rivets were playful, and at Fendi shearling-coated pool sliders were exactly the thing for the British summer. For an easier route into the trend maybe head to Jimmy Choo were shearling lined boots and sneakers could be found in abundance, GIuseppi Zanotti did a few nice furry boots too.
4 | Layers
Sounds like an obvious one, this, but for Autumn Winter '17 the designers went all out with layering. It might have been something to do with the fact that it was minus two at pretty much all times in Milan, but it was inspiring nonetheless. Leaders in the layering field included Salvatore Ferragamo, where silky t-shirts were worn beneath shawl neck sweater, wool overshirts, blazers and overcoats; Etro, where Kean Etro teamed roll necks with hoddies shearlings and overcoats for a high-style hiker effect; and Fendi, where oversized overcoats with furry sleeves came teamed with zip up track tops and roll necks.
5 | Grey and camel
Hear me out. For the past few winters blue, in various shades, has had the run of the runways. Now, for Autumn Winter '17 we're finally seeing a shift. Dominating the catwalks this time round was camel - which could be found in belted caban jackets at Versace, roomy overcoats at Brunello and full teasled wool suits at Ermenegildo Zegna - and dove grey, which was worn with numerous other shades of grey at Emporio and Giorgio Armani, Ferragamo and Brunello. Hell, the two shades were even worn together at many places, so if in doubt, next season it's all about grey and camel. Not navy. Definitely not navy.
6 | Walking boots
Furry shoes aside, next season's biggest footwear trend is for super chunky, ultra hard-wearing walking boots in muted, chocolatey tones. The best could be found at Brunello Cucinelli (the caramel pair with red laces were particularly tasty looking), Jimmy Choo and Etro.