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Armani reflects on fashion evolution, echoing classics, as 80th birthday nears

Models wear creations for Giorgio Armani men's Spring-Summer 2015 collection, part of the Milan Fashion Week, unveiled in Milan, Italy, Tuesday, June 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

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Models wear creations for Giorgio Armani men's Spring-Summer 2015 collection, part of the Milan Fashion Week, unveiled in Milan, Italy, Tuesday, June 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

MILAN - Milan designers are gently inviting men to add just a little derring-do to their dressing.

Feel secure in that double-breasted blazer? Why not snazz it up with a pair of silken shorts and thick-soled sneakers? Like the classic black and white, or red-white-and-blue combinations? Ok, but let's brighten things up sometimes with colour — purple, aqua blue, salmon pink.

It was a big regroup during the four days of fashion previews for next summer's menswear that ended Tuesday.

Miuccia Prada warned it was not the time for craziness and Giorgio Armani discussed the need of fashion to be "serious" and not pull consumers' legs with outlandishly styled shirts that create a fashion media stir and cost 350 euros (nearly $500) a pop.

Designers seemed united in their desire to simplify things — returning to lines as a graphic form, adding stripes, gingham and checks to menswear but foregoing, for the most part, florals and ethnic prints.

The silhouette was relaxed and easy to wear, with jackets worn open and crew-necks or inventive tops favoured over the traditional white or blue shirts. Trousers were roomy, pleated and often cuffed, but also straight and cropped. The preferred short was the Bermuda. Ties were replaced by foulards knotted snuggly on the neck or scarves tucked inside coats.

There was little denim — except on the Prada runway where there was almost nothing else. Distressed garments got a new life, as if to honour a man's self-conscious nature about dressing well.

ARMANI REINVENTS CLASSIC PAST AS HE NEARS 80

Perhaps Giorgio Armani is growing reflective as he nears his 80th birthday in July.

He titled his menswear collection "Armani echoes," and created sober and classic looks with that twist of ingenuity which has won him a dedicated following in the last four decades — and which demonstrated that the collection was by no means a retrospective.

Armani presented completely updated versions of shirts, from cotton pullovers with shawl collars to a silky pajama-style top, and a jersey top with sloping shoulders that turn into gingham cotton shirt-sleeves. Pants were roomy, a bit short and cuffed, showing off sneakers and leather tie-up Oxfords.

Echoing the Emporio Armani collection, his main line incorporated stripes, checks, gingham and even polka dots. There was more colour, always on the subdued side, from blue greys to power blues and dusty reds.

"Today I presented what clients have been asking us for: soft jackets for men that highlight their bodies and dress themselves with personality," the designer said.

CAVALLI, ITALIAN PLAY BOY

Roberto Cavalli parked a 1970s Ferrari Daytona on the runway to set the mood for a collection celebrating the Miami playboy of the 1970s. A playboy, but also a romantic.

"In the 1970s, I was in St. Tropez," Cavalli said. But rather than reproducing his youth, he transported the collection "because Miami gives me more chance to use palms and big flowers."

Cavalli's playboy wears a silky shirt opened to the waist with black-on-white prints of tropical foliage. It's worn with matching loose-fitting trousers and a light-weight python jacket.

When set on seduction, he wears silk caftans with Cavalli's favourite animal prints embroidered in gold.

AEROSMITH AT HOME WITH CAVALLI

A day after gracing the front row of Emporio Armani, Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Joe Perry dropped by Cavalli, which is a bit more the rockers' style.

While Armani told reporters the rockers deserved their due as "strange characters who have marked the world of eccentricity," Cavalli emoted, "Tyler is great. He has the same taste. We adore beautiful girls."

Aerosmith plays Milan on Wednesday.

THE IRONY OF FLUORESCENT CAMOFLAUGE

On the zanier, youth-driven end of the Milan fashion spectrum, the Canadian twins behind the DSquared2 label presented a raucous fluorescent collection paying tribute to 1980s pop culture.

Designers Dean and Dan Caten created bright green, pink and yellow coats, bathing trunks, jackets and trousers, some covered with a graffiti tribute to the era that seem to have been sprawled by the late artist Keith Haring.

These guys are urban globe-trotters, with bright sandals and sneakers, multiple bags and trolley suitcases.

The whole look was summarized in the ironic neon camouflage blazers — where can you hide in that? — which the twins themselves donned to salute their public.

____

Paola Masera contributed to this report.

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