Menswear

SS14 MENSWEAR COLLECTIONS: SUMMER LOVIN'

Perhaps designers had a collective premonition this season: to channel visions of the summer into their clothing.

MOSCHINO.
PRADA.

Calvin Klein using print! The thought alone is enough to shift one's way of dressing when you think of the streamlined, minimalist American house, and this wasn't a subtle pattern, but rather a bold, photorealistic print of cloudscapes (pictured at top), said to be inspired by the view of the air from designer Italo Zucchelli's summer house on Fire Island, New York. In layered windowpanes, Zucchelli added the print to the pullovers that closed his show, extending on the summery lightness of the blues that predominantly filled the show. It felt fresh, modern and, most of all, really appropriate for the season. About time, I say! In the past year or two, designers have been trapped in a season-less cycle of production aimed at catering to customers in all corners of the globe, no matter the hemisphere or climate, and in many ways, the use of prints and patterns that drew on the sun - whether realistic sunsets printed on silk bomber jackets, as in Miuccia Prada's Miss Saigon-meets-Apocalypse Now collection (above left), or tie-dye-esque fabrics at Issey Miyake that hinted at a silvery, post-storm sky - felt like an intentional return to season-specific colours and prints.

It can be similarly said of the florals that appeared in countless collections (as reported last week) that are so obviously connected to the spring. And like the floral prints at Gucci, Dries Van Noten and Miharayasuhiro, the sunset, cloudscape and sky prints felt entirely modern this season, even in Prada's nostalgic Hawaiian holiday-type prints, care of the boxing-clothes silhouettes and high-shine silk fabrics, and Moschino's digital prints on shorts and t-shirts (above right), collaged together with other prints of flowers, water and stars.

It's interesting to read into the thought process behind the employment of the sun - and, particularly, sunset - in these digital prints, and question the cerebral over the aesthetic motivations of the designers. Of course, on a surface level, the sun might represent the end of a day, the move into night, and that's traditionally the way fashion collections have moved: bright, light colours for summer, dark, moody colours for fall winter, and repeat. But then it can also be said the setting sun represents the rotation of the earth, which might suggest we're in for something even more exciting next season. As they say, winter is coming, and as the citizens of the seven kingdoms know well, nothing before us is certain.