Dandy financiers cut through gloom at Milan week

Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:27pm EST
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By Antonella Ciancio

MILAN (Reuters) - Fashion designers brushed up capes, trench coats and pinstripe suits to enliven the wardrobes of businessmen who want to cut their way through the gloom.

Chinese buyers were again the top guests at the Milan menswear week ended Tuesday, confirming their influence on an industry relying on Asia to shield itself from European headwinds.

"The luxury industry is doing well because emerging markets are offsetting less encouraging results in the old continent," Gianluca Brozzetti, chief executive of Roberto Cavalli, said.

Cavalli worked his traditional animal theme into new intricate prints for the winter season, while Italian brand Ermenegildo Zegna dressed relaxed travelers with alpaca parkas, natural-shouldered jackets and long, straight pants.

"Businessmen must go on a fiscal diet, but also keep on travelling around the world," Chairman Paolo Zegna told Reuters.

It could be a reaction to the crisis, but designers showed new ideas, sometimes drawing inspiration from their archives.

Creative Director Tomas Maier at Bottega Veneta printed classic suits in fabrics of different weight, from alpaca to cashmere. "It's a very buttoned-up look, but with room for individual interpretation," he said.

Gucci, like Bottega Veneta owned by French group PPR, proposed a romantic dandy with softly oversized pieces in floral prints and jackets reminiscent of the 70s.   Continued...