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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.
Overcoats returned at Prada, which played with power and palazzo intrigues in a star-studded show.
Trend-setter designer Miuccia Prada lined up a sensational group of actors including Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Gary Oldman, Tim Roth and Emile Hirsch, who modeled in double-breasted coats adorned with medal-like brooches.
Coats and capes played again the leading role at Dolce & Gabbana, who boiled, aged and painted traditional pinstripe and Prince of Wales fabrics for their sartorial suits.
Designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana said they used gold filigree threads for their Baroque-inspired evening suits, adding exclusivity to a collection that appeals to the wealthy.
Glitter also dominated at Versace, where denim-clad models wore golden studs and tuxedos encrusted with crystals.
Donatella Versace also pinned gold medals on jackets, giving a military allure also seen at Prada, while pinstriped suits came in new geometric patterns.
Gold also shone on gloves and leather bags at the more traditional Burberry Prorsum's show, where elegant country gentlemen carried umbrellas with owl-head handles.
English tweed returned at Giorgio Armani, who created four-dart trousers.
Soft velvet and wools dominated the collection of Salvatore Ferragamo, whose creative director Massimiliano Giornetti mixed coats and jackets in different lengths, often paired with oversized scarves.
Blue will be the main color next season, which will also play with contrasts and multi-layered clothes.
Large, soft bags were all the rage at the shows, while shoes ranged from evening slippers to high-heeled boots to satisfy all needs.
Reporting by Antonella Ciancio