Luca Bruno, Associated Press
MILAN — Milan fashion designers are sticking to the traditional and familiar in their menswear collection for next winter.
The mood reflects the austerity all around, but it's not all gloom. There are flashes of color and glamour to lighten spirits.
"When you talk about austerity, I don't think it needs to be down in the dumps or dismal," Burberry chief creative officers Christopher Bailey said backstage after his Prorsum menswear collection preview on Saturday.
Coats, from trenches to double-breasted overcoats to fur- or velvet-lapeled evening coats, were the centerpiece of many of the collections previewed the first day of the four-day menswear Milan Fashion Week.
While elegant black and some white are the winter favorites, designers also reached for colors, usually deep purples, teals and midnight blues. Golden details — from brocade underwear to fanciful animal head umbrella handles — celebrate luxury and fun.
Dolce & Gabbana cast a spell of luxury over their latest menswear collection, adorning every outfit — even humble underwear — with opulent gold embroidery.
Set in a make-believe opera house complete with chandeliers, sumptuous red velvet upholstery, and famous Verdi arias sung by the late Luciano Pavarotti, the extravagant menswear collection was a perfect antidote to the current crisis gloom.
Somewhere between Dorian Gray and the Gattopardo's Sicilian prince, the winter 2013 collection by the designing wizards Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, is an ode to noble dressing from the fur-trimmed evening coats and capes, to the gold brocade jackets, to the gold embroidered breeches.
Never forgetting their penchant for sportswear, the designing duo decorated distressed fabric with gilded fringes and lavish embroidery to create a dandy/grunge effect. The gilded grandpa wooly underwear also fit into the latter category.
"In order to sell well today, a collection has to have the whiff of an old-fashioned trunk," Stefano Gabbana said chatting with reporters before the show.
For their curtain call, the duo sent out 70 models dressed in every imaginable cut of yesteryear's elegant overcoat — all in "de rigeur" black.
Ah, the life of a Burberry gentleman, toing and froing from town and country and back again, with just the right look for whatever the moment.
The tailored suit and heritage trench are at the heart of the Burberry Prorsum collection for next fall and winter. So is the umbrella, which features duck and hound animal head handles.
"I wanted the attitude to be polite. I wanted it to feel charming," Burberry's chief creative officer Christopher Bailey said backstage after the show.
In the city, a tailored gray suit with black polka-dotted tie is topped with herringbone patterned tweed cap and a classic Burberry trench thrown over the shoulders. Besides the ubiquitous umbrella, the city persona carries a leather patchwork document case.
In the country, the suit — fabrics ranging from corduroy to velvet — may be worn with a quilted and cropped bomber jacket or an oversized down-filled car coat.
Perhaps inspired buy the English hunt, Bailey incorporates into some garments images of foxes, big, here's-looking-at-you shrewd fox.
"I think it is important to smile. I think that is what fashion is also about, making you think and making you smile. You don't always have to be serious," Bailey said.
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