Geometric patterns take centre stage in Milan

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 June, 2014, 10:01am
UPDATED : Monday, 30 June, 2014, 10:01am

The line, long underrated as one of geometry's most basic forms, is getting a lot of exposure on the Milan menswear runway.

Designers are embracing stripes of, well, every stripe, and using them as a metaphor of sorts to clean up the line - that is, the silhouettes - of the collections presented during Milan Fashion Week.

For next summer, men can expect to be wearing stripes, both fine and bold, along with pulsating, radiating and curving lines, as well as simple checks, that create optical effects that belie the simplicity of some of the looks. Lines are also being worked into the fabric, in chunky textiles that create architecture of their own.

Giorgio Armani says he has done a wholesale clean-up of looks for his Emporio Armani collection for next spring and summer. The predominantly black-and-white collection has a strong graphic component, with lines transmitting a sense of energy from the garment, from steady pulses, webs and waves to bold black-and-white stripes. Colour comes in contrasting stripes of turquoise and aqua-green.

"After years of doing a little bit of everything, a melange, florals and ethnicity, finally a little cleaning," Armani says.

The silhouette is loose and easy, with pleated trousers or drawstring athletic pants. Silk and cotton shirts loosely cling to the frame, and T-shirts, worn under coats, are soft.

The Gucci man for next summer has earned his stripes, along with golden buttons, epaulettes, insignias and other trappings of a mariner's life. The collection, shown against a backdrop of shimmering water, has a decidedly nautical flair, featuring trim and dignified white, navy and red suits with suggestions of officialdom in stripes. But these are not mere costumes. The pieces project both luxury and a free spirit.

The silhouette is disciplined, with the expected blazer, double-breasted jacket and pea coats, but creative director Frida Giannini also includes jackets with Nehru collars and blousons with a contrasting buckle waistband that can also function as a shirt or jacket.

Trousers are lean and straight, or baggier and loose.

Giannini gives the look a modern twist with bold navy-and-white vertically striped pants and jackets, worn together for an eye-popping optical effect but more often mixed and matched with plain colours.

The stripe also appears on lapels, scarves tucked inside jackets that substitute for ties, and on the straps of the collection's ample leather duffel and messenger bags.

Here's a new one: faux denim. The jeans on the Fendi runway were not at all what they appeared. The shirt was printed cotton and the classic jacket was in reality leather with a denim print.

Besides the denim elaboration, the collection by Silvia Venturi Fendi also featured woven leather pieces and striped knits, as designers continued their study of the line.

Again, there were no ties but silken scarves tucked inside a sweater's V or beneath a jacket lapel. The colour palette was eclectic, with something for every taste. Shoes were mostly slip-on sandals. Bags included a small front-carry pack that stays secure with a triple strap, biker style.

Denim and music have always been a winning combination, as they were when Fendi introduced leather-clad coloured headphones in collaboration with Beats by Dr Dre.

The Apulia-based brand Etro is promoting biodiversity in fashion - using natural fibres in part of the menswear collection for next summer, and promoting a diverse diet.

Menswear designer Kean Etro says he wants to show how thread can be made out of natural products, not only hemp, which is well known, but also banana, cereals and milk. Etro says the message behind the collection is "to keep biodiversity running in agriculture".

The collection opened with a series of looks in natural fibres, maintaining a predominantly white palette before a colour burst of egg blue, salmon pink and canary yellow. Instead of the brand's familiar paisley, the prints were photographs of plates of food, from fruit to crustaceans. Associated Press