Context, in a fashion show, is crucial. The imperial grandeur of the Sale Napoleoniche at Palazzo Serbelloni offered a precious backdrop for the No. 21 show today, making an interesting contrast with clothes that were wildly tactile and had an athletic dynamism.

“I mixed forms and motifs taken from sportswear with luxurious fabrics, working mainly with knit,” said creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua. Knitwear dressing is emerging as a key proposition in Milan these days. “Men want clothes that are comfortable and easy, and this is what you get with a tricot coat, a thick jumper, a pair of heavy jersey trousers,” Dell’Acqua said.

If you are familiar with the designer’s method, you would hardly be surprised at one of his shows. He twists and turns staples of the masculine wardrobe, from the pale blue shirt to the Crombie coat, keeping forms to an almost basic simplicity while amplifying textures. Dell’Acqua uses incongruous surfaces—brocade or brushed mohair, for instance—and works with intarsia; lace, that most unmasculine of fabrics, is a favorite. With its pervasive mix of blues and blacks, this collection was somber—stark, even, despite the sporty white stripes that ran on the sides of jumpers, trousers, and fluffy socks worn with velvet or fake-fur slides. The out-of-place touch is another Dell’Acqua signature, but this time it only partially worked, despite said footwear being appealing, for indoor use at least. With members of the audience already sporting similar looks, and Céline having preempted the agenda, it was a bit of a faux pas.

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