by John Russel Jones

It’s day three of MR’s Made in Italy week, sponsored by the Italian Trade Association (ITA)! Brands Made in Italy are known for capturing that perfect blend of reliable, classic styling and craftsmanship that international gentlemen (and retailers!) have come to rely on season after season. The nation’s designers are not only on-trend, but they’re also often creating the trend, lending the perfect amount of sprezzatura and modernity to their collections while keeping men of style perfectly positioned on the fashion curve. We’ve assembled some of the leading concepts that we think will be breakthrough hits for 2023. Look for them all from Italian brands at the ITA section of this weekend’s Chicago Collective.

ABOVE: Photo by Will Truettner

Trend One: Pronounced Texture

Photo L by Eva Bronzini, R by Nicholas Beel

We traditionally think of texture as an autumn quality, used in cozy cabled wool sweaters, puffy outerwear, or hairy tweeds. This summer, from quintessential wrinkled linen to the return of vintage terry, beauty really does lie on the surface. Piques and seersucker take on new importance. Cables add touchable appeal, rendered in lightweight knits. Even quilted looks, sometimes merely implied by a jacquard or a print, sometimes actually used for layering looks designed for spring’s cooler temperatures, are taking their place in the sun.

Trend Two: Tertiary Color

Photo L by Cristina Gottardi, R by Max Avans

The season’s palette is formed around tertiary hues on the color wheel: teal, chartreuse, violet, and magenta, but all take supporting roles to an orangey-vermillion shade that’s clearly the lead. The range is just a shade darker than we might expect for spring, too, slightly darkened with SS ’23’s leading neutral, an earthy brown/khaki. 

Trend Three: Bold Pattern

Photo L Julia Volk, R FUTC

The neats of classic men’s swim trunks grow in scale as the many abstract, geometric, novelty, and floral patterns take over the season’s updated short-sleeved shirts in camp, Hawaiian, or bowling styles. Suits, sportscoats, jackets, and blousons take on bold updated plaids and stripes with a 1920s Hollywood mobster twist. These patterns are often blurred, broken, and indistinct, not crisp or clearly defined. Stripes are also remixed in knitwear as athletic-inspired rugby shirt or tennis sweater looks. 

Trend Four: Vintage Appeal

Photo by L Victor Malyushev, R Paolo Sbalzer

Two dueling silhouettes move to the fore this season. The first sees the return of the double-breasted jacket, complete with peak lapels and often with the increased volume that is endemic to that shape. It has a softer expression than the more severe versions of DB we’ve seen in the past, less constructed, and easier to wear. Expect a higher-waisted, relaxed-fit trouser to complement the look.

 Trend Five: Unconstructed Utility

Photo by L Giovanni Corti, R Vladimir Ivanov

Contrary to the implied dressiness of the double-breasted silhouette, the other profile for the season is completely relaxed and unconstructed. Chore coats, trucker, and safari jackets provide a more relaxed appearance but are often done up in luxurious performance fabrics. The utility and workwear influence extends into flap pockets on shirts and sees the return of the cargo short. The outlier within this trend to watch? Western and cowboy motifs are also lending their functional — though ornamental — flair to the season’s offerings.