MILAN (Reuters) - Italy's high-end tailor Ermenegildo Zegna launched Milan's menswear fashion show on Friday with a relaxed yet sophisticated collection inspired by classical looks from the 1940s and 1950s.
From Cashmere suits to vegetable-leather overcoats, Zegna's 'Crafting Modernity' collection blends exquisite tailoring with the fast-paced needs of the modern globetrotter, while the influence of sportswear brings a new look to formality.
The show is the first of just under 40 catwalk runs in the Italian fashion capital that will showcase designs for autumn and winter 2017/2018.
But some top brands including Kering's Gucci and Bottega Veneta and Calvin Klein will be missing, shunning the men's shows and opting instead to present combined collections at the more high profile women's week.
Also off the calendar is Italian fashion group Roberto Cavalli, whose creative director Peter Dundas left in October and has not yet been replaced.
Zegna presented the first full season by Alessandro Sartori, who returned to the family-owned firm as artistic director in June.
The fashion house has moved away from three distinct brands - Z sportswear, classic Ermenegildo Zegna, and couture - opting for a single brand with three lines sharing colour palette, styles and shapes, but keeping their own label.
"Our clients can mix pieces from the different lines more easily and freely," Sartori told reporters ahead of the show.
He said his clothes transcended generations and were for the consumer with an "interesting personality".
Models on Friday evening walked through 'The Seven Heavenly Palaces' installation of German painter and sculptor Anselm Kiefer in a section of the Pirelli HangarBicocca, a former locomotive factory, on the outskirts of Milan.
The models wore over 250 new pieces, in 46 different full outfits, many of which inspired by the shapes, styles and details of the post-war years.
They wore Casentino coats, reinterpreted in alpaca cashmere, and suit ensembles made in cashmere jersey. Formal 2-button jackets were downplayed by padded sleeves and classical-cut trousers were made more sporty by cuffed hems.
Derbys were reinterpreted with light-weight materials to make them look like sneakers and brogue shoes made sturdier with silicone soles.
Outfits were prevalently in wool white, melange grey and vicuna beige, dotted with browns, greys, petrol blue a pond green.
Milan's menswear shows close on Tuesday with veteran designer Giorgio Armani.
Editing by Richard Lough