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Milan Menswear Trend: MMORPG Redefined for Reality

Cloud Strife & Tifa

Cloud Strife & Tifa

MILAN, Jan 22, 2009 / FW/ — Be careful what you wished for because you might get it. Last Nov 2008, I asked, ‘Is Men’s fashion ready for MMORPG?’ With the Fall 2009 / Winter 2010 men’s collection unveiled in Milan, I got a positive answer and then some.

A play on words, like what most writers do, I used MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) as a springboard for an idea and also to reference the 18-34 year-old males’ preoccupation with video games. I even used Cloud Strife of Final Fantasy VII Crisis Core as my mascot. Using terms like ‘nerd adjacent’ I was able to convey that today, everyone has to be geeky at a certain level to be able to use all our high tech devices from mobile phones to video game consoles.

Though I have written several articles based on the MMORPG fashion idea, when the Milan menswear season begun, I was very surprised to find out that designers were seeing the same thing I was seeing, but they have a different vision and version.

As a fashion editor, I saw androgyny and neutral color palette based on black and white. The collections shown in Milan leaned on androgyny, but very masculine and strong. Black and white was dominant, but like what Masataka Matsumura designing for Giuliano Fujiwara did, they all seem to use the Japanese aesthetic philosophy of wabi-sabi wherein a shade or tint is treated as the dimension connecting and melting two different colors.

So, instead of being just black and white with different shades of gray in between, the collections were actually colorful albeit not the traditional rainbow colors. Corollary to these innovative tints and shades, menswear designers also presented a futuristic vision with more SCI than FI. Thus, everything is within reach, everything is of today but in the spearhead of change.

Designers also referenced the current zeitgeist, from politics to pop culture and pulp literature. But the keyword is ‘REFERENCED’ because the silhouettes are modernistic. Take Versace’s mixing of high-tech fabrics with cashmere and leather; Raf Simons at Jil Sander giving the man a shape; or Dean & Dan Caten of DSquared2 taking us dancing with the stars.

So, is men’s fashion ready for MMORPG? The answer is yes in several ways; MMORPG is not virtual in the fashion world, it is real, and thus redefining the term to mean that we have different roles to play in this world of 6 billion people.

As the world get more sophisticated, everyone has a role to play, thus, Giorgio Armani can dress President Barack Obama in his multiple variations of the coat, Alexander McQueen can dress the banker and Wall Street trader in pinstriped suits, Gucci will look good on any aspiring rock star, and everyone will simply look good wearing Prada.

MMORPG in its pure form, a video game can also be a boon to designers. The Net Generation had come of age and they will not change overnight. With TV shows on DVR, placements in shows and video games might be the way to advertise in the future. Now, that is another one of my predictions.

And finally, as a writer, I used journalistic license when I used MMORPG, something that purists will not like. But, indulge me one last time for one obvious faux pas on my part. Cloud Strife, the video game character I used as a mascot is not a MMORPG character!

With that I bid adieu on the Milan Menswear Fall 2009 / Winter 2010 season .

[MARI DAVIS]

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