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You could have stayed at home to watch horrific, bloody scenes of human misery unfold on TV. Or you could have jetted over to Milan, where the espresso is better and this week's menswear shows have been all about death and violence. Before you go and ask whether some members of the fashion industry are a little out of touch with what's going on in the world—is it really appropriate to send models down the runway covered in fake blood when every news network is broadcasting images of bloody survivors of the earthquake in Haiti?—keep in mind that war and other forms of human tragedy are actually good for the fashion biz. After all, they stimulate creativity! As Guy Trebay of the Times explains it:

War is evil, but historically it has also been the engine of innovation, a fact most obviously true of technology although not necessarily less so when it comes to fashion.

The flaming gunpowder arrows ("flying fire") that Song dynasty warriors loosed on invading Mongols were early versions of the Pentagon's drones. The trench coats, Eisenhower jackets and jumpsuits produced to outfit soldiers in different wars and divergent eras are still very much with us—or they were throughout the last four days, when designers showing men's wear for fall seemed to have war on their subconscious minds.

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It wasn't the devastation in Haiti that inspired yesterday's runway show yesterday by DSquared, the line by Dean and Dan Caten (left), the insufferable designing duo and judges on Bravo's Launch My Line. It wasn't even the war in Iraq or Afghanistan. (It was hockey-related violence, apparently. Go figure.) But there were plenty of other designers to pick up the slack, like as Giorgio Armani, whose show was all about "military romanticism," according to his design team.

Thanks to the buckets of fake blood, though, the Catens probably deserve first prize for creating the most awkward images to come out of the fashion world this week. (A few of them are below.) It actually would have been worse, though, if the Catens had gotten their way. Although they'd really, really wanted singer (and Rihanna-beater) Chris Brown to attend the gore-fest yesterday, he "prudently declined a fitting and an appearance," reports Vanity Fair's Michael Roberts.


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At Milan's Fall Shows, the Clothes Go Marching On [NYT]
Our Man in Milan [VF]