His and hers -- for him

Times Staff Writer

Fellas, get ready to step back -- and step out -- in time. It's that '70s show (flared pants, tight shirts) for several menswear designers who presented their fall-winter 2003-04 collections during Milan's five days of preview shows that ended Thursday.

But the retro look didn't stop there; nods went to the '60s British mod swinging styles as well as '80s sportswear references -- and combat looks were in the air with baggy parachute pants and deconstructed military bomber jackets. Those not thinking about taking cover in a foxhole might well be looking foxy in diamond crosses, opulent watches and pointy crocodile shoes worn with a classic business suit and shiny tie. You know, that girlie-man banker's look.

Some designers are hoping you'll go for the feminization of their collections with softer silhouettes, scarves, sheer fabrics and, well, pretty colors. Which brings us back to our retro analysis: Next season's clothes have one foot in the past and the other maybe in a stiletto.

In case anyone missed all the ladylike touches, designer Vivienne Westwood even had her male model put on a breast prosthesis and fill out a bra in a tight turtleneck. On another guy, she put a beret, pleated skirt and knee-high socks.

Miuccia Prada likes her man in skinny ties, psychedelic print shirts and peg-leg pants three inches above the ankles. Tom Ford revisited the '70s with a Gucci collection that included hip-hugging flared trousers. Dolce & Gabbana sent out their men in warrior chic fatigues. And the design duo Viktor & Rolf used themselves as models to show off their playful top-hat printed jackets and slacks.

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