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Spring’s ‘In’ Guy Will Need to Change Clothes

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Italian designers who previewed next summer’s menswear on the Milan runway this week are asking a lot of their male fashion followers.

Basically, to be “in” next season requires an entire wardrobe change, from classic tailoring to loose-fitting garments and from bland black and gray to bold color.

Giorgio Armani, particularly upbeat this season, sees this change as liberating.

“The Armani man seeks total freedom in new cuts, original colors and innovative use of fabrics,” the designer wrote in his fashion notes.

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His show Thursday was the high point of the last day of the five-day showings, and one of the liveliest moments of this round of “moda Milanese.”

In a big change for the staid designer, male models danced down the runway in brightly colored slippers, wearing the easygoing outfits that mark his new collection.

The new Armani suit is fashioned in light and often shimmering techno fabric. The classic jacket has a single button, and the trousers are loose. A softer shirt jacket complete with slanted pockets offers a more casual approach to office wear.

In his younger Emporio line, Armani suggests short tunic shirts that hug the chest and free the neckline to be worn with over-sized bermudas, or under a perfectly baggy linen suit.

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Color doesn’t come easy to Armani, but he is slowly working it into his fashion world, here a purple sweater, there a pair of green buckskin shoes.

The good mood that permeated the collection is partly due to the exhibit the Guggenheim Museum in New York is dedicating this fall to the man responsible for putting the “moda Milanese” on the international fashion map.

Earlier in the week, American designer Calvin Klein, who shows his menswear in Italy, where it is manufactured, surprised the fashion crowd by shedding his black cocoon and bursting into color.

His bright summer palette ranged from cherry red to sky blue, from lime green to lemon yellow. The change earned him sustained applause after his Wednesday evening show.

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Gold played an important role in this round of Italian menswear, appearing as fabric, embroidery and jewelry. Shunned by both Armani and Calvin Klein, gold medallions, chains, bracelets and belts showed up almost everywhere else.

For the less ostentatious, Valentino offered a polka-dot bandanna wrapped around the neck, and Tom Ford for Gucci presented a black leather wristband. But Ford also splashed gold on his luxuriously printed karate pants.

Sequins, beads and other forms of glittery decoration are another sign that menswear is taking on a flashier look.

A simple T-shirt when studded with rhinestones becomes a glam garment, while a few jewels work wonders on a pair of tattered jeans. Best at this rags-to-riches look was Dolce & Gabbana.

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The party pooper in all of this fun was the Miuccia Prada man, who on Wednesday appeared as a snob in rimmed glasses who shuns bright colors and wouldn’t be caught dead in anything glittery.

The silhouette of the spring-summer 2001 look is in keeping with its lighthearted spirit. Ultra-light fabrics fall loosely on the body. Jackets are short but not snug, pants are at times tapered but never tight. Some collections such as Donatella Versace harked back to the rock-star glamour of the 1970s.

In beachwear, there are lots of coordinates with cotton shirts and matching shorts. Gucci showed bikini briefs under transparent bermudas, but most designers opted for sporty swim trunks.


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