Bermuda shorts are hot for next summer

Shorts might be the last thing on the minds of most men shivering through a chilly Australian winter, but the classic Bermuda short was the hottest item when Milan Fashion Week kicked off over the weekend.

The runways of Milan were packed with menswear looks built around Bermudas, baggy or tailored, but always above the knee. The shorts are proving versatile. They go with jackets, ample overcoats, or for the truly buff, nothing at all.

The bare leg offers resplendent choices for footwear, from sturdy sandals to buckskin or woven leather shoes. Designers have gravitated toward dark socks for summer - no longer taboo. The formula reverses with long pants: then it's no socks.

Men won't have to wait for casual Fridays to wear shorts to the office. These are highly tailored and completely suitable.

This edition of Milan Fashion Week features 78 designers - more than in recent seasons - with a concerted effort to highlight young talent. Four young designers - two Italians, a German and a Chinese - are making their runway debuts this week.

Stefano Pilati's inaugural collection for Ermenegildo Zegna invites men to roll up their sleeves.

Pilati, who arrived at Zegna from Yves Saint Laurent, inventively fit contrasting scrunchy, crumpled cuffs, at times suggestive of armbands, on tailored jackets, coats and fine sweaters.

In another twist, shirt cuffs were folded over elbow-length sleeves on finely knit sweaters, layered again with a longer scrunched-up sleeve.

The collection was full of rich detail. Voluminous overcoats were worn over suits, while more fitted coats were cinched at the waist.

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For more casual moments, there were shorts, some with the appearance of silk boxers peeking out.

Jil Sander's menswear collection for spring/summer 2014 has Bermudas so wide and loose they resemble culottes, while slim-cropped trousers accentuate the looseness of the ultra-light overcoats.

Extra-wide cuffs on Bermudas and jackets lend an oversize effect to the entire collection.

In the shoe department, white buckskins worn with short black socks contribute to the yesteryear feel of the summer look.

Sander embraces what from the start of the week seems to be a strong summer trend on the Milan runway: the summer suit with a snug jacket paired with Bermuda shorts.

Adding a little hot weather flare, she fashions her new suit in such daring colours - especially for the no-nonsense designer - as apricot, fuchsia and cranberry.

Against a soundtrack of romantic orchestral music and the backdrop of a twisted old olive tree, the Dolce & Gabbana collection presented on Saturday referenced Sicily's architectural wonders, natural beauty and native fauna.

The designing duo Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana stamped their creations with images of ancient Greek temples and pastoral countryside scenes, imprinted across three-piece suits and loose top-and-shorts combinations.

Donatella Versace's latest menswear collection was based on athletic themes from boxing to swimming to colourful muscle patches like those worn by tennis players.

In fact the muscle patch was the leitmotif of the Versace spring/summer 2014 collection, with models wearing more than one in fluorescent shades on their arms and legs for a tattoo effect.

The patch patterns were repeated on t-shirts, shorts, jackets, and pants.

British designer Neil Barrett's look for next summer works with shape and colour blocks.

The colour palate is simple, black and white, a milky shade, and then reds, and muted monochrome greys, olives and khakis that he mixes and matches.

Suits come with Bermuda shorts and loose open jackets, or a more fitted look with a red checked coat over slim black pants.

Andrea Pompilio mixes Italian tailoring with American casual for his first Milan runway collection.

The 39-year-old Italian is one of four young designers showing runway shows in Milan for the first time.

AP