MILAN (Reuters) - Milan's menswear shows kicked off on Saturday with major Italian designer names Dolce & Gabbana turning to a film about Sicily as inspiration and Giorgio Armani looking to geometry and urban grey for next winter's fashion.
Their shows were some of the first of just under 40 catwalk runs taking place during Milan's autumn/winter 2010/2011 menswear fashion week, which runs until Tuesday and comes amid hopes for a recovery in the crisis-hit luxury sector.
Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana said they were inspired by "Baaria," a big-budget, sentimental sweep through 20th century Sicily -- also Dolce's birthplace -- taking in fascism, war, communism and the Mafia.
They presented a mainly black, white and grey line, sending out models wearing knits over trousers that narrowed at the bottom, against a screen backdrop showing scenes of "Baaria."
Vests were tucked into black washed-out jeans or long-john type trousers and shorts. White shirts were sleek and tucked into jeans or black trousers. They accessorized the look with black caps and boots.
Screens also showed the scene backstage. The duo have been sharing their show preparations via their online magazine Swide, at www.swide.com.
Giorgio Armani turned to geometry for his Emporio Armani line which was streamed on the brand's website -- live.emporioarmani.com -- and the group's Facebook page.
He played with shapes -- squares, triangles and circles -- as patterns and put zips on gilets and overcoats, presenting a structured silhouette with slim trousers worn under jackets with defined shoulders and accessorized with boots.
His line was mainly in different shades of grey, which he called a "recurrent reference to the urban mood, the landscape of the big city" with odd flashes of fluorescent colors.
The designer also presented a new line of sportshoes -- a collaboration between his sportsline EA7 and Reebok.
British house Burberry, which also streamed its show on live.burberry.com, paid tribute to its heritage with trench coats, parkas, aviator-style jackets, all worn over slim trousers that were tucked into boots.
A military theme emerged with cropped military jackets, shirts, military-style belts and boots. The line was a mix of military green, khaki, indigo, black and mustard.
"I wanted us to have a point of view. I think there is such chaos in the world and I feel that it is the moment for brands, companies, designers to have integrity and stand for something," Chief Creative Officer Christopher Bailey told Reuters.
Milan is renowned for its men's tailored suits and leather shoes, made by world-famous names such as Armani and Ermenegildo Zegna. The latter presented a mainly dark blue, green and grey line of suits, duvet-like coats and knit-collared polo necks.
The menswear market has not been spared by the economic turmoil and with the financial sector hit hard, suit and tie sales have suffered. Turnover for Italian menswear is seen falling nearly 10 percent to 8.3 billion euros in 2009, according to industry body Sistema Moda Italia (SMI).
Editing by Noah Barkin