MILAN – Impish, boyish looks are permeating the Milan menswear runway this season, and the mood seems to be a search for a simpler past.
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Hooded parkas with contrasting color panels, straight trousers, boxy jackets and slightly oversized knitwear bely a nostalgia for the 1970s — a time when, more than one designer has recalled, there was more social protest and less social pressure.
Here are some highlights from Monday's menswear previews for next fall and winter on the third day of Milan Fashion Week.
PROTEST REVIVAL FOR NO. 21
While some designers embrace social media, Alessandro Dell'Acqua is using the latest collection for the No. 21 brand to issue a reminder that there is more to life.
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The Italian designer sought inspiration in the 1970s for a simpler approach to life, but also as an era when protest movements found their voice. Dell'Acqua is not alone in the fashion community for thinking such a moment is again upon us, as he considers the world's political landscape.
"I was inspired by images of marches and demonstrations of the 1970s. I was interested in the freedom of that era. That protest movement, which was very important then, has been lost today," Dell'Acqua said backstage.
Dressing, he said, was also more free-spirited.
He made that point with Nordic-style sweaters with the decorative trim left half finished, to underline that sometimes there are better things to do. He approached the collection through a free association. Pea coats closed with ribbons. Jackets mixed military camouflage patterns with more civilian stripes and checks, recalling the days when returning soldiers protested the Vietnam War.
Thick sweaters included panels from tailored shirts. Hoods underlined the youthful appeal.
"It is not that with this collection, I can change the world. But I think it is important that young people get the message and start to protest, and not just watch social networks," the designer said.
THE SKY IS THE LIMIT FOR ETRO
The Etro man is descending from a mountain after a long a mystical climb.
The fantastical collection shown Monday in Milan represented a transition into the spiritual world with rich velvety fabrics, deep meditative shades of purple, red and turquoise, and easy silhouettes from kimono coats to parachute pants to Highlander kilts.
The opening look was a rich printed velvet suit with an elongated jacket and loose trousers with elasticized ankles. It was finished off with eyewear that included a third lens for the inner eye.
The collection "is tied to the sacredness of nature and the dimensions of the mountains," designer Keane Etro said backstage.
The Etro motif of the season included a series of bears, wolves and bucks with psychedelic floral antlers that appeared on backs, pockets and interior linings.
Technical hiking boots with colorful accents and hiking backpacks with small chanting bells completed the looks. The collection finished with models carrying a series of paisley printed skis and snowboards.
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