MILAN — Milan fashion designers have travel on their minds for next summer.
Designs shown on the second day of menswear previews during Milan Fashion Week had an exotic flare -- even if Miuccia Prada in particular says she was rejecting the label.
African references were predominant. There were geometric patterns, ethnic shades, baggy pants, Kaftans, shell-detailing and sandals.
The tropics also got their due, with floral and animal prints, the colors of sunsets and stormy seas and Hawaiian girl motifs.
Bermudas remain a mainstay for season -- and often make up a suit paired with a narrow jacket, and are always worn with ankle socks.
Often the exotic shared the runway with more classic looks, fitted trousers, summer slacks and button-down shirts. Jackets more often than not are worn with the sleeves pushed or rolled up.
Shoes run the gamut from thick rubber-soles to fine leather booties and loafers.
Miuccia Prada questions the very meaning of summer and the exotic in her latest menswear designs.
Prada has delivered satin floral prints that are clearly associated with the Pacific, and pairs them not with the classic linen gin-and-tonic suit, but with a traditional double-breasted pin stripe.
Her reference point in the collection is clearly the 1940s. The designer has returned to the old-fashioned carry-on luggage — no trollies, please — with bold designs, including tropical florals and Hawaiian girls. The period references on the luggage were also backdrops to the runway: graphic prints of palm trees, postcard sunsets and images of water.
The looks were classics — with Prada updates. She seemed to have sports on her mind: There were satiny boxer shorts, light-weight shirts based on a baseball jacket and a retro bowling ball bag. The designer also layered short-sleeved knitwear over shirts, often with clashing patterns.
The color palette recalled stormy sea colors — gray to teal to black — and sunsets — yellow to terracotta to earthy brown and black.
For next summer Tomas Maier, the acclaimed creative director of luxury goods brand Bottega Veneta, is inviting customers to walk in his shoes.
Maier used the traditional Bottega leather weave for loafers, lace-ups and even sidewalk slippers. Usually, it's reserved for women's handbags.
According to his fashion notes, "contrast" was the theme of Maier's 2014 preview collection.
The show opened with a series of suits with a soft shouldered, wide sleeved jacket and narrow pants. Contrast came in the white lines stitched into the classic look referencing the chalk marks used for fittings in bespoke tailoring, creating imaginary lapels and pockets.