Milan designers look to the future, past for contemporary looks

By Colleen Barry, AP

MILAN–Milan designers looked both to the future and the past to create contemporary looks for men next winter and fall.

The fashion world continued its heartfelt tributes to David Bowie, celebrated as an icon in the music, art and fashion worlds alike, the remembrances touching in their understated persistence. Giorgio Armani opened his Emporio Armani show with notes from the singer’s “Space Oddity,” while Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele created a jacket with “Bowie” printed boldly on the back that he said he intends to include in a film for the fall/winter 2016/2017 collection.

Some highlights from Monday’s shows, including looks from Gucci, Emporio Armani, Ermanno Scervino, Fendi and Canali. Fragmented Beauty Creative director Alessandro Michele created a dreamlike backdrop to unpack a chest full of 1970s memories for his latest Gucci menswear collection. The looks were presented under a reddish light in the freshly red-carpeted disused train depot that the designer, now in his second year at Gucci, has claimed as his theater.

“These are my aesthetic memories that in the end are completely different from yours, but it’s an idea to work after,” Michele said backstage after his menswear preview for next fall and winter.

His runway-realized memories speak of a happy boyhood, with a Sherlock Holmes-style detective cape and cap, this one with crocheted ear covers; Snoopy and Woodstock motifs on T-shirts, a theme that he elaborated later into a Charlie Brown sweater, and a crinkly Western cowboy shirt with boot-leg jeans.

But the boyhood lens also picked up on the adult world, and there was floral tapestry that became coats and suits, crocheted capes and hats that suggested a loving hand, and cozy pajamas with floral embroidery. Each memory was also elaborated: colorful totems were applied to the back of floral jackets; knitted hats had whimsical ears or fantastical monster faces; detective capes came in striking red, rich fur and classic plaid.

The looks were finished with a m?lange of rings, beaded necklaces, some with pendants, and headbands with a hand motif. Michele also reinterpreted classic 1970s Gucci. A golden handbag was realized with glittery Gucci red-and-green stripes. The Gucci trench was white, worn with a dramatic red hat.

Michele’s show notes were intimidatingly titled “Poetic Reactivation,” and cited three philosophers, one French, one German and one Russian. Backstage, he said the starting point for the collection was the idea of “fragmented beauty” that he took from the late Walter Albini, one of the pioneers of Italian ready-to-wear.

“I love the idea that there is an energy in every single thing you do, and every single piece that you put on the clothes. Everything is very precious,” Michele said.

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