Armani evolves the 3-piece suit

MILAN (AP) — Giorgio Armani has evolved the three-piece suit for next winter.

The Milan fashion powerhouse sprang to prominence with his 1970s deconstructed jacket with big shoulders. For next winter's menswear collection, previewed Tuesday on the last day of Milan Fashion Week, Armani has reworked that jacket, taking structural cues from cardigans.

The result is a look that maintains the emblematic Armani tailoring while at the same time being relaxed with gently sloping shoulders. But then Armani does something else: he inverts his look, and beneath the easy jacket, which is almost always unbuttoned, he puts a very button-down vest, double-breasted with or without a slotted lapel.

Pants were mostly straight, often with a neat raised crease running down the front. Though Armani loosened up the silhouette, also with baggy pants for some more athletic and Bohemian looks, the mood of the collection was sober and elegant. Colors were dark hues, blue, brown and grays, with white shirts providing contrast. Fabrics included velvet and corduroy.

For outwear, there were cropped pea coats and biker jackets, one with a quilted effect, as well rich-looking short gray fur coats with contrasting black collars. Most of the coats had a double-breasted option.

The crowd-pleaser was a big, double-belted overcoat in a muted slate blue weave, which received an appreciative round of applause. The looks were finished with leather gloves, the season's heavy-soled shoes and a range of satchels, cross-body messenger bags and clutch-able document cases.

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