When it came to the A/W 2022 menswear season in Milan, aficionados at home – and those watching IRL in the Italian city – had a sweep of style heroes to choose from. At Prada, a host of actors emerged from a futuristic illuminated tunnel at its Fondazione Prada Deposito space, including Twin Peaks’ Kyle MacLachlan, dinosaur-digging (and previously unofficial Prada mascot) Jeff Goldblum, Moonlight’s Ashton Sanders and Sex Education’s Otis Butterfield. Meanwhile, at Dolce & Gabbana, the label appealed to Gen-Z fans, with a performance from a sequin suit-clad Machine Gun Kelly. 

While the A/W 2022 season has been beleagured by the threat of Omicron and rising infection rates in Europe, a host of behemoth and burgeoning brands presented both physical and online shows from the Italian capital. DSquared2 celebrated its in-person return after a Covid-19 induced hiatus, and Prada presented its first physical menswear show under the co-creative directorship of Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons. Ermenegildo Zegna and MSGM favoured a digital presentation, as did JW Anderson, the British brand which had originally been scheduled to present its first physical fashion show in Milan - this will now take place in June 2022. 

6 key takeaways from Milan Fashion Week men’s A/W 2022

Classicism is back on the menswear menu

Jeff Goldbum walking in Prada Milan Fashion Week A/W 2022

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Top, Prada A/W 2022. Bottom, Tod’s A/W 2022

Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, designers have postulated on the future of the menswear cannon, considering the relevance of tailoring and the staying power of relaxed silhouettes. At Prada, the Milanese label turned this concept on its head, shirking seemingly endless conversations around comfort and loungewear, in favour of a wardrobe firmly rooted in work. ‘The language of sartorial tailoring, a formality which confers an importance,’ read the brand’s press release, of a collection which welded the executive with the utilitarian, featuring exaggerated leather trenchcoats, asymmetric blazers accented with shearling armbands, hazard-hued slacks and glossy boilersuits. A vital accessory for your vending machine change? A triangle motif coin purse attached to your belt buckle.

At Fendi, Silvia Fenturini Fendi was also captivated by notions of classicism. The Roman house presented a ‘treasure trove of future heirlooms’ that riffed on the elegance and sophistication of old world silhouettes: Vichy check tweed overcoats, boxy cropped tuxedos, pilot’s jackets and short suits, imagined in raspberry, mocha, taupe and white. In a dandyish flourish, sweeping coats were pinned with shearling corsages, Mary Jane brogues buckled with wristwatch strapes and bags had evening time proportions.

Elsewhere, Aspesi’s Laurence Steele was struck by archetypal silhouettes, combining finesse with function, while Brunello Cucinelli mediated between differing sartorial codes, presenting luxurious pieces from peacoats to down jackets, incorporating super fine wools, shearling and Prince of Wales houndstooth. Tod’s took inspiration from contemporary Italian art, tracing the line of its A/W 2022 silhouette back to the country’s creative cannon, with updated classics in forest tones like fur-effect bomber jackets inspired by the traditional lining of outerwear and cashmere gymwear. 

Deep burgundy and bold blue: choose your favourite hue

1017 ALYX 9SM show at Milan Fashion Week A/W 2022

Brioni at Milan Fashion Week A/W 2022

Top, 1017 ALYX 9SM A/W 2022. Bottom, Brioni A/W 2022

Flavoursome news for wine buffs: a deep burgundy bolstered the Milan catwalks, as demonstrated by brands including Fendi, Ermenegildo Zegna and 1017 ALYX 9SM. Zegna’s meditations around the ‘new suit’, featuring softly rippling tailoring, drew on an organic palette, terracotta and tangerine, while 1017 ALYX 9SM – which presented in Milan for the first time – drew on lilacs, cherry reds and nude. Elsewhere, oceanic blues were favoured, with Brioni’s Norbert Stumpfl creating bold suiting, including daytime double-breasted wool suits and striking silk satin tuxedos in exuberant turquoise. 

Inspect your new errogenous zone

Fendi runway at Milan Fashion Week A/W 2022

JW Anderson runway at Milan Fashion Week A/W 2022

Top, Fendi A/W 2022. Bottom, JW Anderson A/W 2022

Skin was a central element of the S/S 2022 shows, and continues to take extrovert effect for autumn. The erogenous zone of choice for the upcoming season? A sultry sliver of chest. At Fendi, this was demonstrated with heart-shaped cut-outs on cable knit roll-necks and V-necks in cricket white and glittering raspberry. At JW Anderson - whose digital runway show reveled in party silhouettes, fantastical flourishses and an all-out abandon into weirdness, the chest was revealed in knitwear weaved into chunky loops and hula hoop hemline crop tops in bright paintbox tones.

Power to the shoulder

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Ardusse A/W 2022

Designers weren’t concerned with playing proportions safe for A/W 2022, serving up striking strong-shouldered silhouettes that even David Byrne would be driven to. You’ll need to watch out for Prada’s work-inspired power-shouldered trenchcoats when you’re in the office. Ardusse’s Gaetano Colucci was also inspired by the strong shoulder. The label’s collection fluctuated between decades, drawing on the frilled prom shirting of the Seventies, grungey long-sleeve tees and Ivy League style of of the Nineties and the power shoulder tailoring of the Eighties, with bold blown up check mohair coats in a square silhouette. 

Meet me in the Metaverse

JW Anderson runway at Milan Fashion Week A/W 2022
JW Anderson Pre-Fall 2022

Brands continue to experiment with the physical and online worlds: JW Anderson and Dolce & Gabbana recently launched NFTs, Phillip Plein accepts cryptocurrency, and glitchy, pixelated prints abound in brands collections - just look to the checkerboard and graffiti prints at Dolce & Gabbana. At Fendi – a brand that continues to experiment with the tech accessory world – the label teamed up with Ledger Nano X, on a Baguette bag shape that incorporates digital hardware wallet for cryptocurrency. JW Anderson also experimented with the digital realm. In anticipation of the brand’s online show, the label released short films of female avatars sporting its A/W 2022 designs, jumping from the screens of iPhones and springing on stars. Video also unveiled blinking eyelids accented with bold make-up, with a JW anchor monogram logo at the centre of their pupil. 

Adventure is always on the cards

DSquared2 runway at Milan Fashion Week A/W 2022

Missoni at Milan Fashion Week A/W 2022

Top, DSquared2 A/W 2022. Photography: Filippo-Fior. Bottom, Missoni A/W 2022

Happy campers have even more reason to be cheerful, as a host of brands celebrated the great outdoors, revelling in a nomadic and adventurous spirit. DSquared2 went wild with layered silhouettes that nodded to a range of outdoor pursuits from rock climbing to camping, to bouldering and birdwatching, with ponchos and sequinned cagoules, snuggly sleeping bag coats and quilted shorts, that riffed on the high-tech and the hippy. Missoni was also about high altitude. The brand’s Mountain Calling capsule collection features psychedelic Nordic knits, featuring alpine scenes and a trippy logo. Etro too inclined to the outdoors, with a collection featuring wolf, fox and snowflake intarsia knit jumpers, jewel tone raincoats and puffers, plus velvet robe coats for a more resplendent take on around-the-campire dressing.

Technical outerwear specialist C.P Company, which continues to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary milestone and is fresh from a collaboration with Emporio Armani, also hosted the exhibition ‘Cinquata’, featuring seventy iconic archival designs, sketches and memorabilia, that have defined the label’s half-century. A-Cold-Wall also presented a digital film revelling in the label’s performance and sportswear tropes, featuring striking foiled trousers and tracksuits swathed in paint, inspired by building materials like clay and plaster. §

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Installation view from CP Company ‘Cinquata’ exhibition