By DANIELA PETROFF and COLLEEN BARRY
MILAN - Milan fashion designers are offering an escape route for next winter.
Fantasy was the mood permeating runways on the third day of previews for the winter 2013 menswear collections.
Men, burdened by global worries, could become yesteryear dandies, or Victorian charmers. In more extreme cases, they might even take flight.
Though they went in decidedly different directions, all of the designers took many of the same cues, including double-breasted suits, evening tailcoats, ascots, velvet slippers, fur trimming, floral prints and brocade.
Next winter, feathers evoke freedom on a multitude of garments, allowing men to play peacock.
Next winter's Gucci guys are part rocker romantics, part dandy dreamers.
"Tormented poets," creative director Frida Giannini calls them in her show notes, men who have a passion for roses, and are committed to a quest for a personal style.
The overall look of the latest Gucci collection is by the designer's own description "Bohemian grunge."
This translates into lots of layering, oversized deconstructed coats, double-breasted blazers, collarless shirts, equestrian style trousers, and lace-up riding boots.
The rose theme appears throughout the collection from silk prints to woven jacquards, to real roses in the pocket of an evening jacket.
There is room for sportswear in this collection, albeit dandified, with ultra light sheepskin jackets with military detailing worn over lusciously soft turtleneck cable-knit sweaters, paired with pleated riding pants and crocodile boots.
Colors range from browns and grays to deep reds and blues, and the darkest of nighttime black.
By night the Gucci guy turns into a latter day Oscar Wilde in a black velvet tuxedo worn with the new collar-less shirt, peaking out of the jacket like a silk evening scarf.
In the accessory department, along with the luxurious riding boots, the contemporary Bohemian can renovate his shoe closet with the new patent leather or velvet slipper with a micro logo horsebit buckle.
Travel bags come in floral printed jacquard velvet or printed antique maps.
For those days our romantic is forced to go to work to be able to fulfill his dreams: Gucci hands him a flat computer size crocodile briefcase with a handle in real horn.
Etro's man dreams of taking flight.
Designer Kean Etro employed feathers from the tip of his fedora hats to the toe of his velvet slippers in the menswear collection for next winter.
Etro turned convention on its head, opening the show with evening wear, featuring such clever interpretations as tuxedo tails adorned with feathers. Jackets also appeared in velvet - a clear Milan trend for next winter - with feathered lapels.
As the collection moved into day wear, the use of feathers became even more bold. A jacket of golden and orange feathers evoked a sunrise. An eye-popping patchwork vest of pink, black and orange feathers could easily be worn beneath Joseph's amazing Technicolor dream coat. And a red tailcoat was feathered behind in orange, peacock blue and black.
Etro also used brocade to create striking black and white outerwear, including a long cape with three-quarter length fringed sleeves. Shearling coats are clearly de rigueur for next winter, and Etro distinguished his with brocade or patchwork panels.
Like other designers, Etro is offering a broad range of outerwear, including trenches, down vests and a paisley-printed explorer jacket with multitudes of outer pockets.
The overall look was heavy on the tribal, with patterns inspired by Native Americans appeared on the backs of jackets.
Etro also made effective use of scarves, light and oversized, creating layered looks seen all over Milan runways. Fringed scarves were worn under jackets. And in an unconventional look, a long scarf was tucked beneath a sweater stitched with feathers, to create the impression of a loin cloth, another tribal echo.
The show - which pulsated to such airborne classics as "Fly Like an Eagle," and "Volare" - ended with alternate Etro models wrapped in blankets bearing signature motifs, from an eagle, to paisley to an Aztec print.
Alexander McQueen's Sara Burton looked to the Victorian age for inspiration for wintertime menswear.
The period is most strongly evoked in what the Americans might call knickers, but the British fashion house founded by the late Alexander McQueen calls plus-fours, three quarter length pants often fastened at mid-calf with a button.
The plus-fours nicely show off shiny leather lace-up shoes, and look sporty with a jersey and knit jacket - exemplary of the 2013 winter collection's fusing of materials - or elegant in slate gray with a velvet shawl collar jacket.
Burton used a feather motif in the collection, pinning peacock feathers on to super soft overcoats and creating an electrified feather print suit in midnight and peacock blue, worn with a matching tie and shirt.
A floral red embroidery created a rich, sumptuous look on black a velvet waistcoat and matching V-neck.
Burton, who sprang to worldwide fame when her design was chosen for the wedding dress of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, took over the label after founder Alexander McQueen's death in 2010. Press-shy and highly sought-after, Burton chose to show her wears in presentations rather than a conventional runway show.
The latest victim of Moschino's proverbial fashion humor is the bespoke tailoring of London's Savile row, with basted formal evening wear, quilted biker jackets made up of patchwork tweeds and stripes, and unconventional graffiti-painted blazers.
For the first time, Moschino is taking it's Cheap&Chic women's winter collection to London, where it will be previewed during London fashion week in February.