SALVATORE Ferragamo, the famous maker of high-quality shoes, will open a men's store in the Mandarin next month. It will be its first store in the region; opened to meet increased demand. According to the managing director, Mr Leonardo Ferragamo, the men's line is being developed further throughout Asian markets. ''In the past couple of years, we have given our men's division much more attention, giving it a new emphasis,'' he said. ''Most people think Ferragamo is only shoes and ties, but our ready-to-wear range has escalated. There is a visible difference in our look, quality and cut.'' A major advertising campaign is being launched to coincide with the opening of the new boutique, but Mr Ferragamo said it would be completely unlike the famous Claudia Schiffer shots for the women's ready-to-wear section. ''Men can't relate to that sort of thing,'' he said. ''The strong philosophy of our company has been emphasis on the product. Our campaign will again focus on the fabric, style, cut and colours so that people can see them and not be distracted by the model. ''If ever we do use male models to highlight the products, we try not to have them outshine the garments.'' Mr Ferragamo offered his version of the basic men's wardrobe. ''Once you are into sportswear, there are lots of options to play with, and having a few basic, but good-quality, items in your wardrobe gives you a lot of freedom,'' he said. A leather or suede short jacket was essential, particularly in a classic cut. Mr Ferragamo said this could be used as much in the autumn as in the spring. ''A number of cotton polos are imperative, in different colours. Men can look for the strong printed ones, and Ferragamo even does them in distinctive prints. They can be used during the weekends, or almost every day while on holiday,'' he said. With the polo shirts, Mr Ferragamo recommended a heavy linen or any other natural fibre sports coat. He said this added a slightly formal touch to contrast with the casual look of the shirt. ''A good pair of cotton trousers and a cotton jacket with a semi-permanent lining on top - almost like a windbreaker - are other essentials,'' he said. He said that men in Hongkong wore suits on a more regular basis than those in Europe. ''It takes a little more creativity to put together a more casual suit look, but European men do it much more subtly than those in Hongkong. That is why the two-piece suit works so well here,'' he said. ''In suiting, there are certain rules we have to play with, rules that have a long tradition in the cut and fabrics. For Ferragamo, anyway, the creativity goes more into selecting fine fabrics, the detailing and the quality. ''Changes in men's wear are much more subtle than in women's wear,'' he said. Meanwhile, fashion houses in Hongkong have determined that a limited wardrobe of good summer staples is far more useful than a lot of bits and pieces. ''The smartest thing for men this season are the cream colours, mixing the casual and the formal,'' said Mrs Angelina Bleach, general manager of Lanvin in Hongkong. ''You can have a beautifully cut pair of linen trousers in cream, eggshell or even white worn with a proper dress shirt and a summery tie. ''Jackets this season are shorter and are called ''top'' jackets,'' said Mrs Bleach. The idea was to appear fresh throughout the day, and create an outfit that could take a man from the office out to dinner, she added. ''For more formal wear, a three-piece suit in wool in navy blue pin-stripes is still the favourite choice, usually worn with a white shirt.'' Lanvin designer Dominique Morlotti has popularised the straight, three-buttoned jacket. Even if worn with a seemingly conservative waistcoat, the new shape of the jacket lends a modern appeal to it. ''There are certain items every man should have in his wardrobe, like a fine suede jacket in a pale green, pale blue or sand colour,'' said Mrs Bleach. ''Good basic pieces also include three-piece suits in super 100 wool, which is a specific fabric in navy blue or light grey. We would advise men never to wear brown because it rarely looks good, no matter what colour his hair is. ''In summer, cool trousers in light colours are best, and suits that can be split up and worn with other things.'' Lanvin opens its third men's store in Hongkong in Pacific Place within a few months.