Indiana Jones style shows there's more to Fendi than fur

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The Independent Online

While Dolce and Gabbana's show at the Milan menswear collections for spring/summer 2005 incurred the wrath of animal rights protesters by featuring a live tiger cub, Fendi, the city's premier furrier, was a fur-free zone.

While Dolce and Gabbana's show at the Milan menswear collections for spring/summer 2005 incurred the wrath of animal rights protesters by featuring a live tiger cub, Fendi, the city's premier furrier, was a fur-free zone.

There were, however, wafer-thin tan and caramel leather unstructured jackets, plush python skins and glistening tan leather flak jackets embossed to look like tortoise and alligator.

"The inspiration was international geographic," says Silvia Fendi, creative director of menswear and accessories. "I wanted to handle the leathers like fabrics and emboss the silk and wool suiting to appear like animal hide."

The mood was rugged Indiana Jones explorer with a Saharan palette lifted with shocks of colour such as a turquoise waistband peeking out of pants and this season's fluorescent tangerine for bomber jackets and summer weight cotton pants.

Silvia Fendi is the third generation of the dynasty to design for the house her grandmother Adele founded. Nepotism has little to do with Fendi's position. The house is now 85 per cent owned by the French luxury goods monolith LVMH.

As the creator of Fendi's iconic "baguette", Silvia earned her spurs as well as millions of dollars for LVMH. Karl Lagerfeld continues to design the women's line but Silvia Fendi is making a great success not only of the men's line but also in proving there's so much more to Fendi than fur. Indiana Jones may be at odds with this season's trend towards Riviera chic, but Fendi wisely threw the odd jewel-bright cricketing sweater worn with silky shorts and jazzy shirt and tie into the mix.

Giorgio Armani, who showed his Emporio Armani collection yesterday, wrote the book about Riviera chic. He picked-up where Coco Chanel left off in the art of restrained, sporty elegance. "This is for those with a taste for a dandyish look," the Godfather of Milanese menswear declares, "men who like to wear a jacket even in the blistering heat".

Armani absolutely nailed down the backlash against techo sportswear and grimy urban street style. The most sophisticated pieces included glossy navy silk blazers and combat pants that were so crisp they could never be mistaken for vintage. In anticipation of the designer's 70th birthday this year, T-shirts were printed with Armani's zodiac signs, Scorpio and Cancer.

There's a playfulness this season to Armani that was introduced with the cheeky "Hernando's Hideaway" tango soundtrack. Armani said he had intentionally discarded "anything inspired by the gym and the obsessive desire for exercise". In provocative mood, Armani showed his best Emporio show for seasons. This evening he will present the Giorgio Armani mainline and I would bet my baby tiger that it's going to show the youngsters in Milan why Giorgio Armani is still king.

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