January 16, 2016 3:57 pm

David Bowie’s unique attire honoured at Milan Fashion Week

A model jumps during a photo shooting, in Milan, Italy, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016. Men's fashion week starts today and will run until Tuesday, Jan. 19.

AP Photo/Luca Bruno

MILAN – Milan designers paid tribute to music and fashion icon David Bowie as Milan Fashion Week menswear previews for next fall and winter continued on Saturday.

Costume National designer Ennio Capasa and Roberto Cavalli’s Peter Dundas both said that the musician had often been a font of inspiration, apparent also in these collections previewing just a week after Bowie’s death.

Some highlights from Saturday’s shows, including collections from Dolce&Gabbana, Marni, Versace, Jil Sander and Philipp Plein.

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Under Pressure

Costume National creator Ennio Capasa titled his menswear preview for the next cold weather season “Under Pressure,” for the Bowie hymn, for the state of the world amid repeated violent attacks and for the condition of a fashion industry being consumed by fast-fashion.

The collection featured feminine touches for men that embodied early Bowie, from silken scarves tied loosely below the neck, to concentric silver beading on jackets and deep scoop necklines on soft velour tops. Yet at the same time, Capasa underlined the converse, the adaptability of men’s fashion for women. A red velvety three-piece suit was worn in turn by both a male, then a female, model. Booties finished all the looks.

Capasa said breaking gender barriers is an idea that drew him into fashion in the 1990s “and I think it is coming back.”

Bowie, he said, has always been one of his icons. On Capasa’s story board backstage was a Costume National photograph of Bowie from the early 2000s flanked by two wild wolves, looking, said the designer “like a Roman emperor. Even the wolves are subdued.”

“The magic beside the incredible talent of his music is that everything he touched became an icon. That is the meaning of a true artist,” Capasa said.

Capasa said he is fighting to protect his own creations against the “vampires” of fast-fashion that copy innovation, losing one battle against a copycat’s powerful lawyers. “The only defence I have is creativity,” he said.

Sicilian spaghetti western

The invitation to the Dolce&Gabbana show came with its own soundtrack, playing Ennio Morricone’s “A Fistful of Dollars” theme when opened, clearly foreshadowing that the designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana had applied their Sicilian lens to the Spaghetti Western.

The cinematically styled collection, titled “Sicilian Western” and inspired by Sergio Leone’s popular 1960s films, had flashes of both of whimsy and danger. Light-hearted repeating motifs of cacti, crossed revolvers, a mustachioed cowboy and a saloon dancer were embroidered or printed on sweaters and shirts, as well as tailored jackets and suits, three-piece and double-breasted.

A bit more backcountry, a big furry brown coat recalled Leonardo DiCaprio clad in the skin of the bear that mauled him in “The Revenant.” There were also bushy lambs-wool pants, worn with scoop-neck sweaters or thermal tops. Embroidery is emerging as an early trend in Milan, and the designers featured needlework on denim jeans, jackets and shirts.

Some models filmed the runway and fashion front-row as they displayed their wears, as the designers again upped their social media engagement by streaming the films.

Models in silken pyjamas swarmed the runway for the finale, bringing sleepwear out of the bedroom and onto the street. Silken trousers were worn with thick-knit sweaters and pajama tops were tucked into straight trousers, completed with a bandanna knotted around the neck.

Rock ‘n roll femininity

Peter Dundas’ menswear debut at Roberto Cavalli embraced feminine touches in ways familiarized by Bowie, tempered with masculine features. Sheer shirts adorned with silver beading were paired with a tweed jacket, or silken floral scarves knotted below the neck with an open front polka-dotted shirt and suede jacket, and even embroidered black velour jacket over corduroy flairs.

Winter was a parade of luxury, from oversized animal-print furs worn over Norwegian-patterned scarves and sweaters, to rich reptile-skin coats and jackets in contrasting stripes of colour worn with jeans.

A long, sweeping coat draped casually cool over the shoulders, flowing down into open-slit arms, both evoked superstars of 1960s and ’70s rock and contrasted pointedly with the crystal chandeliers and Canaletto originals in the Napoleon-era Crespi Palace where the show took place. Discordantly fitting, sneakers finished the looks.

Easy intimacy

Marni creative director Consuelo Castiglioni provided a carefree, easy menswear silhouette for next winter.

Big overcoats had deep slits on the sides to create movement, while others were so wide they recall ponchos. Painter’s shirts provided whimsy with their gathered necklines, unfinished hems, and button-down backs, left open to reveal layers, and worn with wide pants that narrow at the ankle. Pinstripes clashed with each other, thick over thin on coats and shirts.

Castiglioni used casual necklines, favouring V-necks. A castorino fur stole provided serious closure to a suit.

Winter colours included calming blues, military greens, burgundy and mustard. Shoes were neat leather high-top or low-top sneakers with pronounced treads in contrasting red and go-anywhere tan.

© 2016 The Associated Press

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