MILAN - Casual and colorful is the message sent out by designers of menswear for summer 2013.
After four days of preview shows ending Tuesday, it is clear that the Italian designers — and others showing in Milan — want to project good vibes for next summer, despite European economic gloom.
The current round of menswear had a happy feel to it, whether it was offering suits with Bermuda shorts for the office or a fuchsia summer raincoat to outshine even the darkest cloud.
The myriad of big and brightly colored weekend bags, in materials ranging from simple canvas to precious crocodile, and the abundance of loafers, sneakers and running shoes, show that the designers are into the good life.
Shorts-short as well as knee length are the stars of the season, moving between resort and workplace with incredible ease.
The blazer also makes a huge comeback, cut close to the body, colorful and worn with a pair of shorts or a trouser cropped at the ankle. Lightweight coats are another summer favourite.
Although some designers threw in a tie for old times sake, the more popular piece to go under a suit was a white open-collared shirt or a classic polo shirt.
This round, designers used organza and other see-through materials-usually relegated to womenswear for special transparency on pullovers and patterned jackets.
But no matter what the style, summer 2013 is all about colour, from red to green to yellow to deep blue. Different colours may appear in the same outfit, such as a green lapel on a yellow jacket or blue pockets on a red coat.
Even minimalist designer Jil Sander chose to mark her return to the eponymous label she left eight years ago with a collection dipped in colour. And that should say it all.
For next summer, Giorgio Armani is back to doing what he does best — tailoring gorgeous jackets.
Indeed, it all started with a jacket for the Milanese designer who turns 79 next month. The first was lining-less, but it wasn't long before an Armani suit was a wardrobe must and an Armani tuxedo a red carpet favourite.
The Armani show on Tuesday was an ode to the jacket, from soft cardigan cuts to blazers and more structured city jackets, all in super-refined lightweight fabrics.
The overall look was of a well put-together man whose cut of clothes is casual. A cardigan jacket could be worn with a pair of pleated trousers, while a navy suit had Bermuda shorts but also a shirt and tie.
The season's silhouette is comfy and slightly elongated. The jacket has four or six buttons and the shoulder is unpadded. The pleated trousers are soft around the hips and brush the ankle.
The latest leather jacket — either bomber or blazer — is made of leather worked to look like seersucker, a tribute to Italian craftsmanship.
Armani is not in the habit of following the pack. While most of Milan is screaming colour, Armani quietly stuck to his longtime favourites: sandy beige, pebble grey, coffee brown and ink blue.
The Dsquared2 man is a creature of the night.
Even after dark he wears his "easy rider" shades, and his style is strictly black.
The transgressive 2013 summer menswear collection presented Tuesday by the fun-loving Canadian designing twins Dean and Dan Caten came as a surprise after four days of preview showings characterized by a sporty but conservative look.
High-top animal print shoes with black soles and metal tongues as large as shin guards, abundant use of metal chains and tight-fitting leather scuba jackets all contributed to a very dark look. The only bright light in the collection was a series of white embroidered or studded shirts.
Like many designers showing their summer collections during this round of menswear, the Cates paired Bermuda shorts with jackets for a contemporary suit look. But the DSquared version has a panel across the front, making it the only wraparound Bermuda for men seen to date, and not only in Milan.