MILAN - The summer suit makes a huge comeback for next year's warmer months, in more shapes, fabrics and colours than ever before.
Once a lightweight copy of the classic winter style, the 2014 summer suit, which dominates the runway on the third day of menswear preview showings as it has throughout Milan Fashion Week, has a life all its own.
The most avant-garde suit comes with a fitted jacket paired with Bermuda shorts, a look a few daring fashion followers attending the current shows have already embraced.
Other versions include a single- or double-breasted jacket worn with slim, cropped or baggy pants, a bomber jacket with matching trouser, or a sleeveless jacket to be paired with a trouser of your choice.
In many cases the suit jacket has a pushed or rolled up sleeve.
Colours and fabrics also define the new suit. Along with the staple grey, beige, blue and lots of white, the suit can come in floral or geometric prints, or such glaring colours as lobster red and fluorescent green. There are also plenty of two-tone versions with cranberry and teal the favourite combination.
Extra lightness, as well as a contemporary shine is achieved through techno fabrics and the use of lasers for intricate detailing.
The suits are all worn without ties, and in many outfits the T-shirt replaces the classic shirt.
When it comes to style, Giorgio Armani never disappoints.
The new Emporio collection, Armani's second line, presented is more about research than about shape.
Presenting an elegant wardrobe titled "Digital," Armani takes classic menswear favourites — suits, jackets, shirts, slacks and pullovers — and makes them contemporary through the use of techno fabrics and laser techniques.
Shapes become extra light, linings disappear and zippers and press studs replace buttons. Heat welding gets rid of seams as in the rough cut light wool jacket or the straight-legged trouser with pleated waist for extra comfort.
Colours range from Armani blue to teal green, to putty beige and ice white, all made more luminous by high tech mingling of cotton and yarns. Punctures are laser etched into super soft leather, creating a digital effect.
The Gucci menswear collection for next summer is short and very sweet.
When after only 10 minutes the models returned to the runway for the finale parade, the fashion crowd still had their notebooks open waiting for more of creative director Frida Giannini's romantic take on next summer.
Flowers show up everywhere from embroidery on the cotton knit sweaters to the floral prints that tinge pants, T-shirts, suits and a reinvented Mackintosh raincoat. Floral prints are also used for a silk jumpsuit and the latest Gucci jacket, in the style of a shirt, a popular look on the current Milan runway.
The prints are mostly gleaned from the Gucci archives, but the March 2 birth of Greta could also be responsible for mamma Giannini's romantic mood.
Silvia Venturini Fendi and Karl Lagerfeld, the creative director and designer for Fendi, say in their show notes that they want to prepare men for the summer elements — heat, drying, cracking, and especially sand.
The latter was emphasized by the yellow sand piled on the runway of their latest collection presented Monday during menswear fashion week and inspired by a desert heat wave.
Expanding on the desert theme, Fendi offered utilitarian jackets either reversible or with detachable sleeves and taped on pockets. Leather is worked to have a previously cracked surface whose lines can only get deeper with exposure.
Lace-up shoes are colorless, so that fading is not an issue.
The summer palette sticks to the environmental, mixing accents of terracotta, ochre, chalk and coal. Pixilated prints add a contemporary touch.
Etro created noble looks inspired by the Mexican hero Zorro, replete with masks, sombreros and pointy boots, for next summer.
Etro's emblazoned the iconic paisley on masks, belts, shirts and worn leather jackets. Designer Kean Etro's latest prints also included horses and western branding.
Zorro comes as a march cowboy in brown leather jackets and slim pants, with a bandelero bag slung over his shoulder. For evening, he dons a black tuxedo jacket with an elaborate silver clasp and leather trousers — no tie, but a large black-and-white printed scarf instead. And there are white and tan riding trousers for day, with a bright pink shirt, accessorized with a leather bullet belt.