With motifs of winter roses, illuminated Madonnas and baroque embossing, the 2014 winter menswear collection previewed Saturday during Milan Fashion Week evokes Sicily, a tip to the designers' roots. And to drive home the point, the designing duo chose ordinary Sicilians as their models, as they have done in the past, filling the runway with men who were more muscular, with more pronounced features and often shorter than those usually seen in fashion.
The pace of the show, with models crisscrossing on the runway to orchestral flourishes, was one of a busy turn-of-last-century street as imagined, perhaps, by a 20th Century filmmaker. Fittingly, the music was Nina Rota's composition for Federico Fellini's 1954 film "La Strada."
The collection maintained its simplicity even in the face of great detail. Cinched high-waist pleated pants strongly suggested a bygone era. Trouser lengths varied from calf to ankle, straight or cuffed, while jacket, coats and vests ranged from short waist cuts to long overcoats.
In its most basic iteration, the collection featured black pants paired with white blousons or dark ribbed sweaters — the clothes of a craftsman, a fisherman, a labourer. Detailing like an overlay of white lace on the blousons elevated the look far above mere utility.
And there were also garments fitting of the merchant class — rich brocade jackets and thick furry overcoats and velvet suits. These more formal clothes, including a dark suit jacket overlayed with white lace and finished with velvet trim, could be worn for business, a personal celebration or to Sunday Mass.
A southern Italian sentimentality was conveyed in tiny golden lockets worn on chains or pinned to shirts, while devotion was writ large on shirts bearing oversized or repeated images of Madonna, often haloed. Some variations were adorned with golden embroidery and jeweled accents fitting of ecclesiastical vestments.
Church bells rang for the grand finale, a clutch of models in loose Madonna-adorned shirts followed by another group in velvet suits accented by floral scarves.