The last edition of Milan menswear shows, held from 17 to 20 January 2015, not only presented what men will wear for f/w 2015/2016, but also explained much about how the society is evolving.

Beyond the usual considerations that always lead everyone to discuss if fashion shows are still the best means for presenting a maison's new collection, or ask why bloggers – who by simply showing up to a catwalk show ask for consistent money sums - continue to be considered as more influential and authoritative than professional insiders.

Gucci and one of its 'genderless' styles
Gucci and one of its 'genderless' styles
Blurring gender borders
Beyond the overall trend of a strong return to black and a wide variety of blue shades, many catwalks concentrated on the so-called “fourth sex”. For this genderless styles and outfits were abundant. Not all designers focused on it, but many – some overtly, some simply hinting at it - referred to it. Gucci, for instance, after Frida Giannini's leave, was newly designed by Alessandro Michele, Frida's former assistant and new head of design. His show presented delicate-faced boys wearing soft silk shirts, jabots and flounces and shades such as vibrant red or soft pink most often worn by women. Also Miuccia Prada, while getting back to her black nylon trenches and coats most successful in the 1990, opted and presented outfits that could be easily worn by both men and women. Giorgio Armani opted for unisex blazers and trousers that – despite a few fitting adjustments or small accessory additions - can look great on both genders (also see our Trendwatch report appearing on 27 January 2015).

Be modern, soft and rock
Diesel Black Gold
Diesel Black Gold
Surely men are looking for more modern aesthetics. Giorgio Armani, while presenting his Emporio Armani collection, offering jersey trousers, blazers and a whole wardrobe, explained: “The youngest generations are sons of the casual dressing style. For this they would never wear classic apparel.” Etro opted for a cool softness by choosing various velvet and corduroy suits made up of soft trousers and longer jackets. They look like they are printed but each of them was handpainted by a Como silk artisan. Plus the collection’s patterns also reinvented the brand’s own imprinting – paisleys - into peace-minded camouflage patterns. Iceberg also reinterpreted knitwear by blending, brushing, felting and pressing different yarns but also using intarsio and jacquard techniques to give definition to a new wool knitwear textile. They also mixed US streetwear influence with kimono cut silhouettes. Also concentrating on softness, Fendi opted for a wide offer of mutton jackets, also including a packable shearling jacket to be closed inside an envelope. Also modern was MSGM's less colorful though certainly playful direction by adding sci-fi manga comic applications from the 80s to his tops. Rock 'n' roll heroes should never miss in a man's wardrobe. Diesel Black Gold included military items and studded leather pieces to be worn from day until night. Costume National also presented its rockers wearing studded camel coats and leather jackets, mixing again feminine and masculine inspiration while dressing his models with coats covered with feathers reminding of angels with dirty faces, and once more genderless creatures. Huge tartan patterns and prints decorated Vivienne Westwood’s modern menswear looks.

Play your sport
Other classics that can never miss in a young man's wardrobe are sporty and sports-inspired looks as Andrea Pompilio who reinvented 1950s college classics such as tracksuits and bombers while completing his outfits by adding padded light-weight denim and chambray items. Not much denim was around, though. Dolce&Gabbana, while focusing on family memories offered tops showing images of family portraits and sweatshirts often worn with aged and mended denim pieces. Dirk Bikkembergs dressed his men as mountain climbers. The debuting designer Julian Zigerli focused on sporty outfits while Moncler presented groups of male models dressed as if they were mountain explorers wearing double-face 1950s inspired raglan sleeve down jackets – in plain color knitted wool, astrakhan or other protective materials on the one side and nylon patchworks on the other, including down blazers covered with optical geometrical pattern worn as an underneath layer.

Protect nature
Another topic brands seemed to highly care about – and we all probably should– was to preserve the environment. Moncler recreated a mountain path with birch trees in order to state its care for nature once more. Zegna Couture recreated a whole green environment as a set for the launch of a very innovative collection both in terms of materials, because most of it was made with recycled PET remains, and in terms of new silhouettes, and material mix juxtaposing bright and opaque surface materials. Designer Stefano Pilati seems to add a real twist to this brand as to Z Zegna that presented its Icon Warmer Jacket carrying an inner ultrathin warming system whose battery can be recharged thanks to a wireless technology.