A whale, a dinosaur, a hound, an owl, a duck, a fox, a chimpanzee, an eagle and a small bear walked into Milan Fashion Week. And nobody laughed. At the men’s shows that just wrapped in Milan Menswear Fashion Week Fall-Winter 2012, animals flourished. Raf Simons put whales and dinosaurs on his collection; Etro had a scarf with an eagle on it worn on the shoulders like a cape (and when there wasn’t a picture of an animal, there were animalistic elements to the clothes, like tails); and Christopher Bailey showed umbrellas that had what looked like duck heads as handles and pictures of foxes on his tops.
Animals became an “It” thing during the Spring 2011 season when Louis Vuitton put zebras and other animals on its clothes, Miu Miu had a snake and a swan, and Giles Deacon showed a rabbit tee, among other examples. Christopher Bailey, of Burberry, said, “The many animal heads that appeared as handles on umbrellas in my collection were part of a city-country theme, but the blow-up images of a fox on the front of a sweater and a shirt were just pure fancy. I just bought a dog, so maybe I’m obsessed with animals right now.” At Etro, the designer Kean Etro attached feathers to just about everything: the backs of coats, the tips of shoes, the invitations and toward the end of his show, a painted eagle appeared on a long white scarf draped over a model’s shoulders. And in the Dsquared show, there was a small bear appearing as a sweatshirt mascot for a high-school-themed collection.