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MILAN (Reuters) - Lars Nilsson, hired to head designer Gianfranco Ferre after the founder's death last year, broke with tradition and used a presentation instead of a catwalk show on Sunday for his first collection.
"I thought this was the right way to present ... my new vision for Gianfranco Ferre," Nilsson told Reuters at the winter 2009 menswear show.
Ferre, known for his skilful tailoring and trademark white shirts for men and women, died after a brain hemorrhage in June 2007. Nilsson promised a catwalk show for his first womenswear collection which will show in February.
The Swedish designer kept the tailored tradition for slimline suit jackets and overcoats at this presentation, where live models mixed with dummies in a set laid out as four rooms.
Tailoring "is something I like a lot personally and I feel very comfortable with. I'm very happy to be able to do that type of work," Nilsson said.
He made a nod to Ferre's white shirts only in formal evening wear, otherwise using steely blues, beiges and greys.
Trouser legs were oversized, ruched up in straight leather or billowing in country woollens over oxblood brogues, while he took necks high and buttoned up on warm wool coats and jackets.
"Maybe it's in the silhouette that I'm breaking away, with more of a fitted jacket and the wider pants," Nilsson said. "It's a lot about warmth ... a softness but in a very masculine way."
At Emporio Armani, ski wear turned urban chic with black and white techno fabrics and jackets or trousers speckled with snow-like sparkles. The Alpine mood ran on in sweaters inspired by Scandinavian patterns with trailing scarves to match.
Giorgio Armani, Italy's best-known designer, also showed some womenswear at Emporio, which is his less formal line. Girls in short white skirts and black fitted jackets paraded alongside a man in black velvet curved-closure jacket and grey trousers.
Long flowing women's trousers and a silvery silk top with bows and pearls were paired with more velvet for a man's evening suit.
For accessories -- hot items for many luxury brands for their one-size-fits-all space saving -- Armani had scarves that were swathes of rust and grey wool, while caps had earflaps or were knitted pull-ons -- an emerging trend for the season.
Big soft luggage also echoed designers such as Dolce & Gabbana and Burberry, whose shows were on Saturday.
But Armani's chainmail short boots were a one-off.
Bottega Veneta designer Tomas Maier said he took inspiration from workmen's clothes for his collection, which mixed soft fabrics and sharp lines.
"I was very inspired by the workmen's uniform, what a docker wears to go to work, what a painter wears, what a carpenter wears," he told Reuters.
For winter 2009, Maier dressed men in square-cut heavy wool jackets that echoed those worn by roadworkers.
A short-sleeved black sweatshirt was worn with a blue-grey waistcoat and baggy drill trousers, while roomy denim pants were paired with a smart navy overcoat.
Milan's menswear shows for winter 2009 run until January 15 and altogether 47 brands are putting models down the catwalk.
Later on Sunday, it is the turn of idiosyncratic Prada.
Editing by Tim Pearce