Isaac Hindin Miller reports from Italy's style capital on the latest in winter menswear fashions.
The top five things you didn't know about a Giorgio Armani show:
1. The crowd erupts into spontaneous applause at entirely random intervals throughout the show. Why? I can't for the life of me figure it out, though it could just be that their appreciation of a charcoal suit is extraordinarily high.
2. By fashion industry standards, the male models used in the show are a little on the cheesy side. By world standards, it's one of the few shows that features men who actually look like men: manly, virile - able to grow facial hair - men.
3. Most designers put one, sometimes two models on the catwalk at any given time. Giorgio Armani throws seven out there at once. This serves two purposes: the audience constantly has a whole bunch of things to look at and thus never gets bored; and Mr Armani is able to show two or three times the amount of outfits in a far shorter time frame. Everybody wins!
4. It's no mean feat coming up with 50 different suits, full stop. But coming up with 50 different suits in various shades of one colour requires some serious thought. From silver to charcoal, there was a multitude of grey shown at Armani this week. When a designer makes a point that strongly, he's either crazy, obsessive or right. Or more likely, all three.
5. The mensroom at Casa Armani features a real life waterfall flowing the length of an entire wall. And that's just the urinal. Imagine what the bedrooms are like!
6. When Giorgio Armani takes his bow, you really can see why he is the fourth-richest man in Italy. Besides his knack for setting worldwide trends, the guy has presence like a rockstar. And that's something that money can't buy.
Workwear, in its many incarnations, is the basis of every male wardrobe: A suit and shirt for the white collar worker; sturdy outerwear for the blue collar guy; and a daily uniform for the military man or public servant.
Z Zegna's autumn 2011 offering celebrated workwear with a classic exaggerated twist. After all, why settle for minimalism when you can have more?
Recalling power suits of the 80s, the trousers were wide at the hip, but tapered and narrow at the ankle. The shoulders followed suit - padded up and out, they created the ideal male torso; an inverted triangle.
Enormous coats were constructed from thick neoprene buttoned and belted like a trench. In camel, they gave the impression of a jacket an American road worker might wear while labouring outside in the biting winter cold.
That neoprene showed up again and again, but most intriguingly, forming the fused underbelly of a series of leather coats and jackets. In olive green, they looked at once robotic and cartoonish, reminiscent of heroic wartime characters.
Every aspect of the collection screamed to be noticed, from the caramel suits with two jackets to the double-breasted check suit with two different sized patterns. A section of petrol blue suits and knitwear was just plain loud.
As the final major show of the week, Z Zegna has the added responsibility of having to close Milan menswear on a high note. The last few seasons have been major success stories for the brand, and this collection was another win.
There's nothing like an exaggerated proportion or two to keep things fresh, and nothing like a bit of extra volume to give the rougher sex a bit of a boost.
Trite as it may sound, what they say is true - clothes do make the man.
* For more from Isaac, see isaaclikes.com.