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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Milan men's fashion week

The Milan shows were off to a subdued start and a new mood in menswear has emerged since last season. Raf Simons showed a collection of mostly modern, constructed suits, inspired by the masculinity of stone and marble, a re-occurring pattern in coats, knitwear, slimline suiting and
separates. With Beethoven's 7th Symphony playing in the background, shades of navy and grey dominated the opening presentation until they were juxtaposed with flashes of red and sky blue on sharply tailored suits. Luxury eveningwear consisted of subtly pleated wool jackets and coats, an innovative fabric that will surely come with a pricetag to match. Simons will have been happy with the positive reviews, which Suzy Menkes, style editor of the Herald Tribune summed up best: "The show was so perfectly orchestrated that the clothes never looked like an ode to Italy's famous Carrera marble.

The sculptural effect of a sharp three-quarter coat or slim suit was offset by thick, soft surfaces. And in order not to let the marble take over the show, there were other explorations of ridged surfaces. But wherever Simons went, he showed genuine creativity in menswear." Elsewhere, Prada moved away from its ethereal vision for spring and instead of fairytale florals and all-in-one pantsuits, Miuccia Prada showed a modern collection of tailoring, strong knits and must-haves, although not without occasional weird references such as a tutu frill round the hips or a micro-mini kilt in sparkly fabric fitted over trousers with the emerging underpants, which were apparently all about sex and revenge. Gucci opted for post-revolutionary Russia for inspiration which will sell well in emerging market, most especially Russia itself. Think gypsy-inspired layered meets Italian luxury, such as brass hardware, knits with leather trims, jackets and coats with velvet detailing.

Neil Barrett stayed true to form and knows his customer like know other. Biker-chic meets evening luxe for his Autumn Winter 08 collection and the designer showed a knack for making a tuxedo look young, fresh and edgy. Layered outerwear, ski-overall trousers and the eponymous bow-tie could have found their reference in Shoreditch, London, and the designer seems to not have forgotten his roots. It must be said, however, that Barrett has not shown anything he hasn't before, rather it's a continuation of a good thing.

Burberry Prorsum was inspired by the nostalgia of British painter L.S. Lowry and as with the season's trend, the collection was strong on coats, especially short coats with subtle details in autumnal shades on raw, artisan fabrics. Outerwear will be key next season, and Moncler, the French luxury coatmaker will no doubt have another successful season with its lightweight puffa coats, as worn by all the fashion editors in Milan.

Milan men's fashion week


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