Milan Men's Fashion Week designers focused on comfort
Scarves, corduroy and cashmere as labels get cuddly
Cosy and warm was the overriding theme of Milan Men's Fashion Week - autumn-winter 2015.
Salvatore Ferragamo showed huge, comfortable looking scarves, Bottega Veneta presented a lived-in corduroy jacket, and even Versace went all cuddly with cashmere knitwear. Here's a round-up of the week's highlights.
Miuccia Prada's mostly black-on-black collection created the perfect canvas to continue the designer's examination of gender interplay in fashion. So when Prada created a short-sleeved slate grey notched-collar jacket for men, it became the bodice of a dress for a woman.
A nylon men's jacket, with just a few sartorial sashays, was transformed into pretty belted office or party dresses with the added detail of grosgrain ribbon bow accents. The final tally: 30 looks for men, 20 for women, all, the designer said, aimed to be "elegant and modern".
Prada's sought-after footwear included flat knee and ankle boots, as well as some sneakers with contrasting wave patterns along the sole.
Missoni's man is an artist seeking inspiration on the Trans-Siberian Railway, according to designer Angela Missoni. He's a mix, matching oriental-rug pattern V-neck sweaters with plaid suits, in deep shades of ink blue. His creative energy is expressed in the kinetic knit patterns, a frenetic argyle on one trouser leg, in shades of crimson and burgundy, and in tiny rectangular repetitions on the other. His carefree nature is summed up in the sweep of the big multicoloured scarves, and his curiosity about the lands he traverses comes through in the ethnic tunic tops.
Massimiliano Giornetti wraps his looks for Salvatore Ferragamo in massive scarves - signalling comfort chic, Milan's overriding message for next winter. The underlying charm in the Ferragamo menswear collection came from the animal motifs that created a sense of enchantment.
Geese fly placidly across the back of a suit jacket, announcing winter's arrival. A shaggy buffalo peers watchfully from the side of a plaid double-breasted jacket or the front of a pullover. A zebra arches gracefully across the back of a pea coat, and a pink dragonfly is embroidered on a suit jacket sleeve.
A soft corduroy jacket exemplifies the lived-in looks at the heart of Bottega Veneta's collection for next autumn and winter. The jacket comes in surprising and pleasing shades of purple, dusty rose and green and is layered over knitwear and worn with elastic-waist trousers.
Creative director Tomas Maier says the collection "is not about meticulous dressing, everything matching or looking brand new".
Comfort and personal style are key. Colour contrast gives it all spark: purple against rust; aqua green under a yellowish green; salmon pink with camel.
There was a Swat-team chic uniform quality to the Calvin Klein collection for next year. Italo Zucchelli's tone-on-tone outfits leaned towards an austere grey, black and blue palette, often in pebbled, cheetah prints. While there were tailored suits, the uniform vibe came through most strongly in the short-waisted jackets with a plethora of pockets worn with high-waist trousers.
Jackboots and leather baseball caps completed the uniform. Zucchelli continued his exploration of hi-tech fabrics, creating oversized trousers and cropped bomber jackets in vinyl and knitting Fair Isle sweaters from an alpaca/nylon mesh.
Metallic brushstrokes across classic fabrics and dramatic zipper placements defined the new Emporio Armani line, aimed at youthful-minded dressers. "I wanted to recapture some grit with a style that was not too aggressive, but with pride and refined materials and shapes," Armani said.
Trousers come with a zip at the ankle, while more athletic cuts carried the zip dramatically across a diagonal all the way down to the cuff. The collection opened with a line of models dressed in ski racing bodysuits, a glimpse of his EA7 line of athletic wear.
This year, Giorgio Armani celebrates 40 years in the fashion business. He has been appointed Expo 2015 fashion ambassador for the six-month world's fair opening on May 1 in Milan. The 80-year-old designer is planning a gala runway show at his theatre to coincide with the Expo's opening. Armani will also open a space called Silos where he will show a retrospective of his 40-year career.
Snoop Dogg came out singing and urged the crowd to raise their hands; in the smartphone era that was a cue for everyone to raise their phones and start snapping. That included Paris Hilton, who was in the front row wearing a rich crystal-studded black-and-silver jacket.
Philipp Plein knows how to create a spectacle within a spectacle within a spectacle. His runway show featured a faux boxing match inside a metal cage that was surrounded by tribal musicians with painted faces, and models who walked the perimeter of a metal fence in dark rocker/urban warrior looks.
The crystal-studded wardrobe, in luxury materials such as crocodile, is pure indulgence. Yet the athletic accents such as knee pads and football body armour, coupled with baseball bats brandished in a menacing way, gave the caged spectacle a dystopian prison feel.
Here's a word you don't often use to describe Versace: cosy. Donatella Versace's collection for men had an unapologetically warm and cuddly core, with cashmere knitwear in long, lean ribbed tops, fitted knit leggings or bulky cable-knit cardigans.
The revolution didn't stop there. Gone were the usual heavy application Versace accents. Instead, the new Versace jacket, distinguished by its constructed shoulders and shorter cut, closed in one variation on one side with a plain horizontal clasp.
Dolce & Gabbana
Dolce & Gabbana kept the family close at heart during the menswear preview for next winter, featuring real-life families on stage, and even childhood snapshots of the designers' own families on the scrapbook-style invitations. Eight Italian families posed in the labels' finery to create a tableau vivant background for the show - with a two-year-old boy in grey short trousers squirming in his father's arms.
In a tribute to real life, designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana featured some distinguished grey-haired gentlemen as models.
Belting out U2's One, pop diva Mary J. Blige celebrated the designing twins Dean and Dan Caten on Friday evening, ahead of Milan Fashion Week's official opening, to mark the 20th anniversary of their DSquared² label. The Caten twins showed their tribute collection amid sculptures by German artist Anselm Kiefer at the Hangar Bicocca.
See the highlights from Milan Men's Fashion Week at scmp.com/lifestyle/fashion-watches/article/1688956/top-looks-runways-milan