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Slideshow: Milan designers consider menswear for the next decade

MILAN — Milan fashion designers were taking a step back as they consider the import of presenting their first collections of the 2020s.

The last decade marked a blurring in gender roles and also the rise of high-end streetwear.

Anyone looking back at past decades will see how they softly blur one into the other. As seen on runways this season, Milan designers seem to be solidifying the gender-bending trend while maintaining a strong line of masculinity. Streetwear might not fare so well. While high-end sweatshirts, leisure trousers and sneakers did much draw the attention of younger generations, many established designers see it as an assault on luxury that must be held at bay.

As designers explore new trends, there was considerable role-playing on runways previewing mostly menswear for Fall/Winter 2020/21.

Highlights from Sunday’s shows:

PRADA’S EVERYDAY HEROES

To a fashion crowd in arena seating above surreal piazza featuring a cut-out 3-D equestrian statue, Miuccia Prada presented workmanlike looks in clean neutrals with just a flash of color for her first collection of the new decade.

Prada said she wanted to give a message to young people in an era of confusion “that the only thing that makes me calm, relaxed and optimistic is to give value to work.” And, she said, to give value to things that are durable.

Durability has become a political statement in an era when sustainability is becoming an everyday word in the luxury industry. “It is incredible that in one year it became kind of a normal thing,” to ask if a collection is sustainable, Prada said. This one included sustainable nylon and cotton, she said, promising more.

The collection fit the overall Milan trend toward formal wear, with Prada’s targeting the working man as an ideal of an everyday hero. It featured overcoats cut just a little broadly, slightly cropped or car-coat length. Geometric patterns on silk scarves peeked out of necklines.

The graphics, echoed in the geometry of the show space, burst out on knitwear with a Nordic flair. Tailored trousers were anchored under shoes with straps or tucked into knee-high leather waders.

Neckties gave another flash of color, often in red. The collection featured few adornments, and bags were functional attaches or overnight bags.

The runway show ended with the models converging across the center of the piazza in apparent chaos, before neatly dissipating. Prada was reluctant to offer a forecast for the coming decade, expressing hope that the world is not “on the abyss of war.”

SUNNEI’S 1990s REVIVAL

Simone Rizzo and Loris Messina invited the fashion crowd to the studios of the regional television station Telelombardia in Milan’s periphery to inject a note of realism to the runway show. Guests passed the control room with its array of screens on the way to the studio show space, with risers arranged in the square as if around a boxing ring.

Flashing lights offered just a glimpse of the looks with a focus on silhouettes, from big A-line coats to slim-fitting ribbed knitwear for her and oversized suits with short pants for him. When the runway show was over, models stopped to over a closer look at the garments: Beautifully detailed hand-crocheted coats with a vintage feel, a shimmering emerald green satiny tunic with golden button details, and a minty olive blouse with ruffles and pearl detailing.

“The collection is the maximum expression of our last intense months,” said Rizzo, who with his partner Messina founded the brand in 2015. He said the tensions are the result of the struggle to thrive as an independent brand, while keeping alive other projects, including an upcoming collaboration with Valextra and the artistic direction of an outdoor gallery beneath a disused overpass where they showed in June.

“There is a rollercoaster of color, volumes and shapes,” Rizzo said.

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