Les Hommes' Tom Notte and Bart Vandebosch had a mission statement for their new collection: increase the elegance. They arrived at their destination via The Damned, Visconti's epic treatment of a family's decline and fall set against the rise of the Third Reich. "Berlin in the thirties was a clash between creativity, elegance, and militarism," they said after the show. Plus, they added, "We love velvet."

Velvet, surprisingly or not, has been spotted all over on Milan's opening day. So have the longer, more slithery suits the Hommes put forward: double-breasted and wasp-waisted, though theirs were distinguished by long, wide trousers below. That can be a challenging proportion, but Notte and Vandebosch insisted that a customer is waiting. "In Europe, it's definitely a winner."

They're far from the first to look to thirties Germany for an infusion of doom-haunted glamour. Why or wherefrom duster-length capes, a puffa bolero, or a half-plisséd ball skirt wandered into the mix was anyone's guess. On balance, the elegance decreased.