Milan menswear plays up comfort, understated chic

Tue Jan 19, 2010 12:05pm EST
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By Marie-Louise Gumuchian

MILAN (Reuters) - Designers at Milan menswear fashion week opted for comfortable and practical chic for next winter, preferring to tread a sensible path away from sharp suits and flash to woo buyers hit by the credit crunch.

Italian menswear fashion has not been spared by the global financial crisis, with sales -- particularly of suits and ties -- hit hard. An industry body estimates that turnover in the sector fell nearly 10 percent in 2009 to 8.3 billion euros ($11.87 billion).

In the hope that the sector will pick up again this year, many brands showing at Milan's autumn/winter 2010/2011 fashion week which ended on Tuesday sought to underscore the message of value and heritage in what they proposed.

Taking inspiration from Italian film "Baaria" designer team Dolce & Gabbana kicked off the action with a tribute to Sicily -- also designer Domenico Dolce's birthplace. They dressed their models in a worker's look -- shirts were tucked into jeans or black trousers, accessorised with caps and heavy, dusty boots.

Boots were omnipresent at the shows, with slim trousers often tucked into boots that came up to the calf or knee.

Giorgio Armani liberated his man from "any trace of commercialization that has taken over the world of fashion" with a futuristic romantic look -- chunky pullovers were worn with fitted jackets and trousers, teamed with black berets, glasses and gaiters. He had velvet jackets and trousers for the evening.

Britain's Burberry saluted its outerwear heritage and played with the military style -- in shirts and in jackets with gilded buttons on cuffs and shoulders. Footwear focused on commando-style boots, also seen at Emporio Armani, Bottega Veneta and Ferre.

"You just have to stay true to yourself ... Everything is about being thoughtful ... and doing things well," Chief Creative Officer Christopher Bailey told Reuters. "There is no time for flippant fashion, flippant design, flippant attitude."   Continued...

<p>A model presents a creation as part of the Giorgio Armani Fall/Winter 2010/11 Men's collection during Milan Fashion Week January 19, 2010. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo</p>