Classic styles with a relaxed feel permeated the Milan runways Sunday, the second day of menswear previews for next spring and summer.
Bottega Veneta, Ferragamo and Emporio Armani showed updated versions of the well-tailored summer silhouette, easy to wear and easy to pack.
Bottega Veneta and Armani both played with layers and ultralight fabrics. Ferragamo trotted out well-worn raffia hats and derby shoes, echoing a 1930s artistic look, and high-waisted trousers that are emerging as a trend for next summer.
Less beholden to tradition were Prada and Vivienne Westwood.
Minimalist Prada allowed herself to have fun, seeking inspiration in golf, of all things. What emerges is a colorful, upbeat pastiche that works on and off the golf course.
Britain's Vivienne Westwood, thinking ahead to the 2012 Olympic Games in London, presented whacky T-shirts printed with Olympic icons, fanciful laurel wreaths and golden Greek sandals.
Golf inspired Prada's offbeat, whimsical menswear collection for next spring and summer.
"I was using golf as an excuse to make it eccentric. Even if I hate golf and don't play, it is completely international," designer Miuccia Prada said back stage after the preview menswear show Sunday evening.
The motif, she said, allowed her to merge ideas and cultures, although the basic theme of the spring-summer 2012 collection was "Americana."
Prada laid artificial turf for the show inside a cavernous industrial space in central Milan, just the thing for the riveted soles of the fringed golf shoes worn by the models _ or were they caddies? Several carried floral printed or studded golf bags, with Prada-branded golf clubs.
Sporting cocky golf hats, the models seemed to enjoy themselves as they snaked down the grassy runway, to a lively remix of Cole Porter's "Summertime."
The collection was perfectly balanced, featuring whimsical comic book figures on shirts, trousers and jackets. A rodeo-style shirt with studded yolk featured cowboys on bucking broncos, teepees and dancing couples. Some trousers showed a miniature golfing tableau. A jacket was printed with musical figures, including a Rockabilly guitarist and a conductor in boxer shorts.
The backbone of the collection came in the well-tailored jackets, trousers and sweaters in neutral colors, from tan to black, that became the blank canvas for Prada's whimsy.
Sometimes an obsession is a good thing. At least if your name is Massimiliano Giornetti and you design clothes for the steeped-in-tradition Ferragamo label.
"I am obsessed with elegance and beauty," said the new creative director of the Florentine brand famous for its shoes and scarves, after a much-applauded show.
His goal is to reinvent the classic Ferragamo silhouette and give it a fresh modern energy "step by step."
The designer is certainly headed in the right direction with his spring-summer 2012 menswear collection unveiled Sunday.
Inspired by the compelling nonchalance of a 1930s artist _ Pablo Picasso fits the picture _ Giornetti creates a wardrobe which is elegant but never stuffy.
His summer man sports a double-breasted suit with a shirt in the same material and high-waisted trousers with pleats. He strolls through life wearing a frayed raffia hat, vintage shades, and classic Derby shoes that allow him to escape into his romantic world.
Styles flow one into the other. A jacket resembles a shirt, a dressing gown morfs into a loose-knit cardigan, and a pair of canvas shoes double as slippers.
Materials range from hemp to washed fabrics with a sun-bleached effect. Colors are quiet beige and ivory, pastel grays, and eclectic navy blue.
Though dressed in rumpled suits and clutching soft colorful leather bags, the Bottega Veneta man is no slouch.
The collection previewed Sunday for next spring and summer contained pattern upon pattern in light, easy-to-wear fabrics that give the impression of endless possibilities, including business meeting, pool-side party, or a seaside dash. Colors were deep tourmaline blue, chocolate and indigo, set off by pewter or beige.
The line of the Bottega Veneta suit is nearly unbroken. Deep blue patterned jackets flow into matching tapered pants that give a full view of lace-up shoes, sometimes in the same pattern. Only a zebra/coffee striped shirt, buttoned high, interrupts the flow.
For more formal wear, designer Tomas Maier preferred deep monochromatic gabardine suits in arresting peridot, espresso jolt and dive-deep turquoise. He broke up the line with an off-color waistline _ for instance, turquoise on peridot.
Suits with mandarin collars and short waistbands give the appearance of a single piece, in another era a jump suit. Think airplane mechanic, first class.
"I've always liked the idea of a coverall or jumpsuit, of one single piece of clothing that works for a man the way a dress does for a woman," Maier said in notes on the collection. "But a tailored jumpsuit is impractical. So we started with the idea of an all-in-one and related it to a suit."
The Emporio Armani menswear collection for next spring and summer was titled "Lightness." It could just as aptly have been called "Motion."
The collection previewed Sunday was a study in quiet motion. From the double-darted trousers, to the thin ties, the long loopy belts, the lightweight T-shirts and the long, open jackets, everything flowed in a gentle whisper.
Suits were layered with loose-knit cardigans, emphasizing the lightness of it all, on top of ultra-light T-shirts. Loose long jackets were nearly see-through, revealing the shape of the man. The color scheme was sober and neutral in grays, putty and blue.
Digital prints were busy electrical currents or tiny synapses of light on sheer button-down blousons paired with matching T-shirts, or on the suits themselves.
In contrast to the lightness of the fabrics, shoes were either thickly soled or ankle-high boots, worn without socks.
The finale featured a cascade of barefoot boys wearing ankle-baring pleated pants cinched at the waist by thin tied leather belts and air-catching jackets over pale blue T-shirts.
Missing from the runway: shorts.
They say good things come in small packages, and so it was for Pringle who put on a snappy eight-minute show filled with wooly delights.
Known for its iconic argyle prints favored by British royalty, the Scottish knitwear company founded in the early 19th century, became a "must-have" label for women in the 1950s when it recreated the sporty twinset by weaving it in cashmere and pairing it with single string of pearls. Think Grace Kelly in her Hollywood heyday.
The scope of the company's new design director, Briton Alistair Carr, who presented his first menswear collection Sunday, will reinvent the brand for the 21st century.
"I want to strike the balance between respecting and reinterpreting the Pringle of Scotland heritage," the designer said in the fashion notes that accompanied the show.
The new knitwear comes in lightweight ribbed cashmere and cottons resembling corrugated stone, while the new argyle features extra large intarsias. Favorite colors are granite, navy, khaki and black with new age touches of acid green and industrial yellow.
Overall next year's spring summer look is classic with an edge featuring high buttoned jackets, worn with pants or shorts, sleeveless sweaters with incorporated collars, and the latest jodhpur boot in trendy white and red.
Britain's Vivienne Westwood is gearing up for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
T-shirts were emblazoned with gold-embossed Olympic torches, iconic Greek athletic figures and printed Olympic medals draped around the neckline. They were worn with shorts, in pinstripes or Union Jack red, white and blue, with golden Greco-style sandals or bright red penny-loafers accompanied by knee-socks.
Westwood's opinion of the Games is up for grabs: Olympic head wreaths were fashioned out of playing cards, and Olympic medals out of Coca-Cola cans.
The collection was not just about funky merchandizing. There also were outfits suggested for the events themselves.
Each has its own eclectic touch: One suit mixes and matches gray and tan plaids, a pair of trousers features an exceedingly convenient kangaroo-style pouch, and a shirt has the bodice of a T-shirt.
For a twist on eveningwear, tuxedos with an asymmetrical slant are worn with multiple strapped Mary Jane-style shoes or ballet shoes topped with bows.
For those who need time planning their wardrobes, the Games will be held from July 27 to Aug. 12, 2012.
AP Fashion Writer Daniela Petroff contributed to this report.