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Milan menswear Spring 09

There was plenty of new looks to inspire menswear as the Italian runways were all about projecting confidence and luxury.

What to do when the credit crunch bites? Forget the wannabes and appeal to the truly rich. That was the message from Milan last week as all sorts of opulence radiated from the catwalks. As well as a deluge of glitteringly confident shiny tailoring fabrics, the overall mood was one of truly luxurious lounging as soft-touch fabrics and light layers swaddled models.

It is a louche look that says “I don’t need to work”, and it was apparent at plenty of designers’ shows including Dolce & Gabbana’s where a parade of silky pyjamas and tailoring almost blurred into each other, so unstructured was the luxe-look.

This soft shouldered feel took a cosier turn at Burberry Prorsum where Christopher Bailey created a long-legged and wide-necked look with heaps of dishabille charm. His lightweight layers spoke of a seasonless appeal, which was also the mood at Prada, Versace and Antonio Marras, all of whom also created summer coats in techy fabrics. It was an easy look that segues nicely into the week’s other theme – the relaxing of proportions which was largely taken up across Milan with Bottega Veneta and Giorgio Armani offering strong examples on tailoring while knitwear on the other hand was far more body-con at Burberry Prorsum, Jil Sander and Versace – but always soft-to-touch and nearly sheer.

In all, It is a relaxed appeal that works across age groups and smacks of the romantic mood that is so prevalent in womenswear this season – a theme that was apparent in the poet shirts and floral embellishments at Antonio Marras, Roberto Cavalli and at Gucci where Frida Giannini continued the rock and roll look of last season and successfully injected some youthful zest into the week.

And while, yes, there was grey aplenty across the Milanese runways, the other big story from Milan was a return to colour. Neon splashes were used at Calvin Klein, Costume National Homme and Alexander McQueen while say-it-loud bright blues came through at Jil Sander and Bottega Veneta while the use of light nylons at DSquared incorporated more colour and tied it in with a sporty look.

The week represented a leap forward for Milan, where shows have hesitated to move on from the purely classical in recent seasons but with trading looking tough designers have discovered a more innovative – and potentially – lucrative streak, which will provide plenty of inspiration for brands and alike. 

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