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Rainbow Connection

Rainbow Connection

Menswear is embracing Spring with pops of color.

By William Kissel

Anyone wanting to gauge the economic pulse of the country needn’t look to top economists or Washington insiders for the answer. That information can be easily found in the windows of most fashion boutiques. Over the past few years those windows have been filled with cool neutrals and somber blues, browns and grays, all in an effort to create menswear that was both salable and season-less during tough economic times.

A look from the Brunello Cucinelli Spring runway.

Now the pendulum is swinging in the opposite direction as designers focus on bold prints and bright colors to show that, economically speaking at least, everything is coming up roses....and periwinkles and limes. Whether you’re inclined to let it all hang out in one of the season’s vibrantly-printed board shorts and cabana shirts or take a more low-key approach by updating your look with just a single colorful item–from Brunello Cucinelli’s plum-toned denim jacket and Kiton’s colorful neckwear and CIPA jeans to Gucci’s multi-hued striped bags and Cesare Paciotti’s rainbow studded sneakers–this spring/summer is all about letting in the brights.

A look from the Gucci Spring runway.

No one has embraced this kaleidoscopic design philosophy more than Gucci, whose designer, Frida Giannini, sent models down the runway in double-breasted and two-button, soft-shouldered suits painted in Pantone shades of grass green, lantern orange, and bluebell blue. Along the way she included trim tapered pants, knit polos, silky shirts and supple leathers in a rainbow of primary and secondary hues. Echoing the sentiments of nearly every designer this season, Giannini said she wanted consumers to walk away with “a chromatic rush” this spring/summer.

A look from the Canali Spring runway.

Another iconic Italian label, Canali, played both the color and the youth cards, streamlining the family-owned company’s signature suits (and printed silk formal blazers) in slimmer cuts and re-energizing its brand with more brightly-colored leather and/or nylon varsity jackets, vibrantly tinted polos and high top sneakers, among other sporty pieces. 

A look from the Brioni Spring runway.

Even Brioni, the uber-luxe menswear brand known for its staid-yet-stately collections, has been touched by the hands of the color wheel. After a series of financial setbacks and a highly secretive sale of its Italian assets to French luxury conglomerate PPR that was finalized earlier this year, Brioni, like the economy, may be back in the black but its collection is still very much in the red.  That is fire engine red, the signature color designer Jason Basmajian has highlighted on everything from single button silk/linen suits, slacks, and lightweight cotton cardigans to sumptuous silk evening jackets.

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