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Milan Fashion Week: Military meets melancholy at Alexander McQueen

January 20, 2011 |  6:30 am


The heavy focus of the Milan menswear collections this season has been on outerwear (Burberry's stormy-weather collection is top of mind), and the Alexander McQueen collection was in lock step trend-wise, with a razor-sharp collection inspired by regimental military dress and grounded in a palette of navy blue, black and gray with pops of red and gold.

The emphasis was on great coats, shearling bomber jackets, tartan ponchos and voluminous capes that seemed to trail behind the models, crisply frozen in mid-billow (a look accomplished by bonding felted wool to leather and velvet).

These crisp outerwear pieces were layered over outfits that combined casual pieces (drawstring sweat pants, ribbed turtlenecks) with more formal-looking but equally soft and unstructured garments rendered in chalk stripes, Prince of Wales checks and gray flannels.

A contrast stripe of red along the asymmetrical button placket of a black shirt created the effect of a regimental sash draped diagonally across the chest, and a zippered track jacket bore the ghostly image of a military medal surrounded by the swirling mercurial patterns that are a recurring motif at the label.

For some reason the collection made me think of Roger Waters' live (and currently touring) performance of Pink Floyd's rock opera "The Wall," and as I stepped out of the Alexander McQueen show into the cold, foggy Milan night, that peculiar blend of military and melancholy that both manage to evoke wrapped itself around me like a billowing cape.

Alexander McQueen photo gallery

-- Adam Tschorn in Milan, Italy

Photos: Looks from the Alexander McQueen fall and winter 2011 men's runway collection shown during Milan Fashion Week. Credit: Jonas Gustavsson & Peter Stigter / For The Times