Artsy and Breezy in a Manly Way

From Times Wire Reports

With a flash of brocade and a swish of sheer silk, the spring 2002 fashion season kicked off this week with men's collections from made-in-Italy labels.

Jeans are in no danger of losing their cache, thanks to Gucci's Tom Ford. The designer's faded and frayed blue jeans, bright tropical-print shirts and pale, sheer cotton V-neck sweaters had an artsy, Venice (Beach that is) ease to them.

Jil Sander's breezy collection was in the same spirit: white straight pants paired with a V-neck T-shirt and belted Mackintosh, and low slung coral-colored pants accessorized with a wide brown leather belt that oozed California cool.

Donatella Versace can always be counted on to cater to the wilder at heart, with pastel-colored silk brocade jackets and flared pants, worn either with metallic duster coats or sheer silk-embroidered T-shirts, and yes, sashes. Dolce & Gabbana flexed their muscles, sending hunky models down the runway in silk boxer shorts, leather sweat pants and T-shirts with "Rocky" written across the chest.

British designer Vivienne Westwood revealed her penchant for the schoolboy--again--with oversized trousers and wraparound skirts.

But skirts for men are no surprise--they appear at nearly every show nowadays. No, the head-turners this week weren't on the runway, they were in the front row. As usual, it was Armani who upstaged his rival designers, luring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston, Ashley Judd and Samuel L. Jackson to his front row Thursday. With all the celebrity eye candy, who could even notice the tobacco-colored distressed leather suits?

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