MILAN, Italy — The man on the move be it with a big backpack, an oversized shopper or the old-fashioned carry-on, was the key theme of high-end labels as they showcased their designs for next summer at Milan's Fashion Week, which wrapped up Tuesday.
Next summer's styles are more relaxed than formal, featuring looser jackets, often with the sleeves rolled or scrunched up, and frequently with Bermuda shorts.
The jacket is central to the season. Even shirts take the shape of bomber jackets, often made out of the lightest techno fabric or reworked silk and satin. Designers continued to search for new ways to work with fabrics, bonding instead of, laser cutting, giving a matte finish to a normally shiny fabric, and vice versa, and stamping prints on finished garments for a bespoke touch.
Trousers are pleated for an elegant look. The favorite look was slim and close to the body and hemmed at the ankle.
Pajamas are coming out of the bedroom, showing up as shirts with sartorial suits. There were lots of T-shirts, often with suits instead of shirts, and sweatshirts, often of mixed fabrics.
Colors are not your classic summer fare. They are often more sober and on the dark side. But designers have left room for brighter moments with pinks, yellow, teal and lighter blues.
White is making a return to serious fashion — with its old foil black providing contrast.
Prints — floral, animal or geometric, aren't just for accents — but are used for jackets and even entire suits.
The shoes befit the traveler: sturdy sandals, old-fashioned sneakers, lace-ups and loafers. Black socks often accompany the ubiquitous Bermuda, but are left in the bag for pants.
Giorgio Armani returns to his first love — the jacket — for next summer.
The lining-less blazer started Armani on the road to fashion fame in the mid-1970s, and ever since an Armani suit has been a VIP staple.
The new jacket is less formal than in past seasons, slim-fitting and with a sloped shoulder. It can have a small lapel or no lapel at all, replaced by a bellboy collar, and the number of buttons varies.
Techno materials and an unconventional palette help contemporize the look. Rather than light wool or linen, Armani fashions his new jacket in stretch jersey or pixilated leather. He dares to stray from conventional blues and grays (although they both appear in the new collection) to offer light pastels, whites, and even a flesh-colored pink.
The jackets are worn mainly with tapered almost tight pants. Footwear comes in a classic spectator lace-up or an old-fashioned sneaker.
Brioni has brought on English designer Brendan Mullane to bring a contemporary edge to the traditional Roman brand that has long specialized in handmade suits.
If Mullane's inaugural collection for Brioni, for fall/winter 2013 presented in January, explored more vivid colors, reds and blues, his first Brioni summer collection focuses on prints.
Mullane, who hails from the French fashion house Givenchy, says fabrics give the collection what he called "the DNA imprint."
He starts, for example, with a classic silk tie, and working with an artisan textile maker develops that into a silk blouson jacket with a matte finish, then into a woven panel on a leather travel bag, and yet another step into the belt. Each piece has the same intricate geometric pattern, with layers of color.
The look is based on Brioni's basic language: sartorial, based on the three-piece suit.
SOS, fashion emergency.
Not to worry, for next summer Dean and Dan Caten, the fun-loving brains behind the DSquared2 label, have put together a survival kit.
Staged on an imaginary tropical island complete with palm trees, real waterfall, live parrot and a papier-mâché plane wreck, the latest DSquared2 collection offers a complete wardrobe for the contemporary Robinson Crusoe.
The models who walked down the turf runway were a happy bunch, despite being stranded. Out of their oversized shoppers came everything but the kitchen sink: bathing trunks, Bermuda shorts, cropped jeans, cuffed pants, T-shirts, fancy shirts, formal jackets, sports jackets, leather jackets, studded belts, sporty sneakers, biker boots. Some models sported nothing more than their underwear.
Any missing items were created in loco, like the floral or sea-shell necklaces and the raffia skirts to wrap around a pair of jeans for a more extravagant look.
The Marni man can keep his hands free next summer. Garments in the 2013 spring/summer collection feature inventive pockets and layering.
A pair of smock shorts sums it up: The shorts have a snap-on-or-off flap with large square pockets useful for a map for a day of touring, or perhaps small tools for easy domestic projects.
The utility pocket makes an appearance on the back of sport coats. There are hidden zip pockets on the sleeves of cotton shirts — perfect for a credit card for a night out on the town. And there are slanted zipper pockets on boxer-style shorts with drawstrings and bomber-style jackets, and four big pockets on the front of a bonded rain poncho in yellow, Navy or plaid.
Classic shirts get an update through layering: A white panel over the front of a striped shirt, or vice versa. Though the layers doubled, the fabric is super light and easy to wear.
Marni's new oversized polka dot prints are stamped on — giving each piece a one-off look.