The adoption of sportswear by traditional Italian brands has made for interesting viewing this season in Milan. Gucci's surprisingly athletic collection preceded Fendi's equally active showcase by just a few hours - two pillars of luxury championing activewear with such vigour, a striking symbol of the changing nature of the menswear market if ever there was one.
Fendi's ode to fitness focused on the desert explorer. The unforgiving conditions of the outdoors were used as a springboard to think about utility, so, as with the house's A/W offering, Silvia Fendi dressed her man to be protected from everything the elements could throw at him, hence the parkas and sturdy lace-ups. Despite its reputation for opulence and extravagance - fur is Fendi and Fendi is fur, remember - the house has a knack for functionality when it wants to, see its large totes that can hold a baguette bag in an outside pocket, shown recently on the womenswear catwalk. On the menswear runway, we were offered adaptable clothing, from reversible blazers to jackets with detachable sleeves. Fendi stopped short of showing a pair of Millets-esque trousers that could be zipped off into shorts, but the message that practicality and ease can be beautiful and desirable was clear.
Other than backing up the trend for luxury houses muscling in on the burgeoning sportswear market, the collection also reinforced what are to be the two key hues of this season - ochre and deep terracotta. They're the two colours that featured in varying shades on Prada's 'flick-book' invite, and they shone again today against that desert sand.