Prada treks the globe, Westwood launches Assange appeal

AP News
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Posted: Jun 19, 2016 4:31 PM
Prada treks the globe, Westwood launches Assange appeal

MILAN (AP) — Strict tailoring is giving way to looser, relaxed looks during the second day of menswear previews for next spring and summer on Sunday during Milan Fashion Week.

The prevalent silhouette was boxy on top with athletic cut trousers as designers courted the Millennial audience, eager to mix comfort with style. Shoes were comfortable sandals with grip soles and bags were travel-ready.

Androgyny remained a theme as designers presented looks meant to be worn by men and women -- some more easily than others. Vivienne Westwood's collection contained equal parts looks for men and women, while Prada continued her tradition of mixing in women's looks with the menswear. Ermanno Scervino, who opted for a presentation instead of a runway show, said he would mix his men's and women's collections during the September fashion week.

Some highlights from Sunday's shows:

GLOBETROTTING MILLENNIALS

The Prada man dresses for comfort on his long global trek, but packs for a night out.

The focal point of the collection was active wear: drawstring active trousers or athletic leggings with contrast stitching for him, or walking skirts with corresponding drawstring hems for her. Colorfully strapped sandals ensure sure-footedness, while big backpacks adorned with drinking flasks and dress shoes give the air of adventure and self-sufficiency.

The must-have garment for next season: technical raincoats with satellite images of the Earth, pretty florals or a whimsical traveler's print.

The designer said backstage that while recent collections were looks back in time, this one is set firmly in the now —with all its question marks.

"The past is over. I want to take care of the present," she said. "The goal is to share with other people, other cultures, other mentalities."

She has given her man, and woman, the option to carry everything on their backs in big utilitarian backpacks, because you never know. But she's an optimist: pointy men's dress shoes hang from the backpacks and women's heels in celebratory cotton candy pink dangle from a handbag.

"In case you want to have an evening out. That was fun," she said.

#FREEASSANGENOW

Vivienne Westwood opened her show with a video message to the British prime minister urging him to allow WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London without the threat of arrest.

"Whatever you do, you are not going to stop him from telling the truth," the designer intoned.

The ever-political Westwood continues to push the envelope also in her runway collections. The designer who came up in the punk era champions androgyny with thin knit dresses that can function as tunics as well as Arab-inspired dresses.

The collection recalled some of rock 'n' roll's greats, from Jimi Hendrix with fringe on jackets and military embellishments to Marianne Faithful with fishnet details and toga dresses and Brian Jones overdone velvet jackets.

Many of her looks were emblazoned with IOU, which wasn't completely obvious but given Westwood's environmental leanings is likely a reference to the debt we owe the planet.

Westwood walked the runway with a T-shirt emblazoned: "I am Julian Assange."

Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012. He faces rape allegations in Sweden and an active investigation in the United States involving espionage, conspiracy and computer fraud.

CAT EYES

Ermanno Scervino's menswear collection for spring-summer 2017 is intensely personal.

Cat-eye motifs on sweaters were inspired by his beloved country cat, Mimmo. And the elegant silhouette with sporty touches recalls his own youthful wardrobe.

"When I was 18 years old, I lived in New York, and I dressed like this," the designer said during a walkthrough of the collection in his Milan showroom.

The collection contrasts materials like pajama prints and gobelin florals in tailored jackets with striped sweaters and sweat pants. Scervino indicated the moccasins, a long-time favorite of his.

Scervino said he plans to show menswear alongside womenswear during the September round of runway shows.

"You never see what I want to be in the menswear shows. This way I can get close," he said.

STREET WEAR

The Salvatore Ferragamo silhouette has loosened up considerably. The fashion house is transitioning to a new designer, still to be named, after the recent departure of Massimiliano Giornetti, and the runway looks presented by the in-house design team marked a decisive departure from sophisticated tailoring of recent collections.

The new look is epitomized by a soft shirt on top tucked into high-waist pleated pants accented with a double-belt. The collection also featured military and safari jackets worn with primitive print neck scarves. Ferragamo's leather craftsman sewed together 100,000 small triangles to create a mosaic-effect jacket.

Bags included canvas or leather backpacks with big pockets that were replayed on the jackets and shirts. Ferragamo's Tramezza show combines leather and elastic shielding for a sneaker effect.

GUATEMALAN GAUCHO

Missoni's looks for next summer were inspired by Guatemala, from its hand-woven fabrics and deep color palette of brown, red and orange offset by indigo, green and papaya.

Designer Angela Missoni knotted scarves at the waist for a sarong effect over baggy Bermuda shorts or flared cropped trousers. The collection also referenced the South American gaucho with arched embroidery on the front of cowboy shirts, worn with Japanese denim.

The colorful quetzal became a motif on sweaters and prints, while the Missoni looms wove an unprecedented 83 colors to mimic the harmonious mood of Guatemala.

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Colleen Barry is on Twitter at www.twitter.com/collbarry.