Italo Zucchelli's last A/W 13 offering for Calvin Klein felt strangely sexless. Zucchelli has always been a technical designer, but his approach works better when married with the raw masculinity and easy sensuality that characterised the iconic work of Calvin Klein - this is, after all, the house that upturned the men's underwear market. Thankfully then, for S/S 14 he'd got some of that rugged energy back. First off, he'd selected an all-blue colour palette - the archetypal boy's colour - and used it to create bold monochrome looks with silhouettes that pumped the torso and accentuated muscles, often with the help of graphic lines on sweaters. His most raw, sensual pieces, those retro crocodile biker vests and those strikingly simple white cotton vests, cut deep around the chest, balanced the simplicity and ease of that baby blue and white striped tailoring, another nod to the house's famous American sportswear history.
Milan's catwalks can lack that clear, no-nonsense view of masculinity, we're used to seeing lots of high camp styling and dandyish bells and whistles on the runways. In the face of all that, Zucchelli's collection felt like something of a palette cleanser, and certainly one of the most modern, forward-thinking offerings we've seen in the city, despite the nostalgic nods to the original CK. The colelction certainly seemed to strike a chord with London's menswear pionners - as Christopher Shannon put it on Twitter, 'Finally a show in Milan that doesn't look like a load of mancunian hairdressers, congrats Calvin Klein!!'
Pleasingly, it also looks like Zucchelli's got his commercial hat on. Those sky print sweaters and t-shirts that peppered the show - and closed it off in one great sea of sunsets and sunrises - while whiffing of Raf Simons will sell and sell. They suggested a new pragmatism and ease to Zucchini's work - it's blue skies ahead for Calvin Klein then.