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Milan Menswear

Katherine Rushton

James Bond and Don Draper inspired a wealth of sharp tailoring on the catwalks

Tailoring was the watchword at Milan Fashion Week, where the menswear catwalks were dominated by sharper, more glamorous and assertively masculine styles than in previous seasons. At least half the shows made references to Don Draper of US TV show Mad Men, old-school James Bond and gentlemanly living, which was manifested in elegant suiting and luxe fabrications. More than one designer featured a velvet lounge suit.

Luxury fabrics and furs were also applied liberally across outerwear. Feature lapels were made of mohair, ostrich skin, Mongolian lamb and beaver fur - a trend that will come as a boon for brands and retailers looking for reasons to justify significant price hikes, and will help make product sufficiently stand out to drive sales. Those labels that served up more brutal or minimalist looks also embraced stand-out detailing such as textured or sculpted fabrics.

There was a dichotomy when it came to silhouettes, however, with lean, tapered legs and skinny-fit jackets on the one hand and boxy, oversized shapes on the other. The likes of Burberry Prorsum served up hulking great overcoats made of sculpted wool which will spawn a slew of references and copycats on the high street, while Neil Barrett veered far in the other direction with a menswear take on the jegging trend: pieced leather and neoprene “meggings”. They are unlikely to catch fire on the high street any time soon, but the lean-legged silhouettes at Neil Barrett, Prada, Jil Sander and DSquared almost certainly will.

The emphasis on suiting was reminiscent of Gucci circa 1950, but outside that there were retro references to the 1960s and 1970s at many of the shows. Some of the fabric and colour combinations were a touch too kitsch to imagine many men buying into at the moment, but the 1970s trend in spring 11 womenswear is likely to move tastes in that direction and prepare male shoppers to give these retro touches a warmer reception come autumn.

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