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MILAN FASHION PHOTOS: Armani casts an arresting gaze on Milan runway, Zegna accumulates cashmere

MILAN (AP) — Milan Fashion Week of menswear previews for the next cold weather season closed on Monday with Armani and Zegna, the A-to-Z of Italian men’s fashion.

The relatively light calendar reflected the choice of some brands to favor coed shows during the womenswear week, scheduled for next month.

Some scenes from Monday’s menswear preview shows for fall-winter 2024-25:

UNDER ARMANI’S WATCHFUL EYE

An arresting photograph of one of Giorgio Armani’s penetrating blue nearly 90-year-old eyes served as a backdrop to Monday’s runway show. Its intensity underlined Armani’s singular role as the guiding force behind his fashion empire for nearly a half-century.

The Giorgio Armani collection featured the designer’s signature relaxed tailoring, accented by geometric patterns and rich textures in a dreamy mélange of soft neutrals. Herringbone and checks dominated, not just as patterns, but also as textures in knitwear that suggested an off-hours demeanor.

Armani leaned heavily into ski and snowboard wear, with baggy snow pants with an iridescent sheen paired with parkas for the slopes, and bulky knitwear for apres-ski. As with his Emporio Armani line, helmets, goggles and gloves completed the gear.

For evening, velvet suits were set off by bright pink or blue vests or turtlenecks. Velvet ties added a richness to business suits invariably paired white shirts, the ties slightly arching out of the suit jacket, smartly unsettling the silhouette. Quilted bags maintained the collection’s softness. A stunning dark leather midi coat with furry leopard print liner would turn heads even in tony Cortina or Aspen.

“These are all things you know of Armani,” said Armani, who turns 90 in July.

”I don't think that men need to be stunned every time by some strained element," he told Italian journalists backstage.

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ZEGNA CREATES A CASHMERE OASIS

Orangey tufts of precious raw wool floated down from the ceiling, accumulating like a humungous pile of fall leaves in the center of the Zegna runway.

Cashmere was the centerpiece of artistic director Alessandro Sartori’s Zegna collection for fall-winter 2024-25, which highlighted the versatility of the fiber that can change surface, shape and texture.

The Zegna silhouette was relaxed and carefree, easily layered, in a palette of natural monochromes or amalgamated blends of mustard, granite, ink blue, autumnal brown, opaque black and white.

Boxy knitwear with three-quarter sleeves layered over mohair trousers in a heathery blue-brown blend.

Knit trousers were seamed at the crease for a put-together look. Pullovers became scarves wrapped around soft suits layered over cardigans. Collarless jackets featured blocks of texture for a contemporary feel.

Sartori said the collection focuses on the brand’s work at its Oasi wool mills and archives in Italy’s Piedmont region, where he said they work on “reshaping materials, and re-mattering shapes.”

“I am building new classics, but they should be generous, effortless, durable, garments that you wear in many different types of styling. But most of all very chic,’’ Sartori said after the show.