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When musicians climb the pop charts, their dress styles usually also leap into the fashion spotlights. That happened this year with Bob Dylan, and last year with David Bowie.

The cover of Dylan's new album "Love And Theft" features the folkster in a gritty black and white photo. The image exudes rugged coolness with a kind of aged confidence that only a legend like Dylan can pull off.

At 60, Dylan, in contrast to his boyish looks of long ago, projects a hip-through-gauntness look with long disheveled hair and a thin mustache. The seasoned musician exudes masculinity with a certain retro-glamour. This look has excited raves by fashion editors all over the world to the point that Dylan is nearing fashion, as well as musical, icon status. And designers, of course, are wasting no time translating that phenomenon into their collections.

The Bob Dylan influence can be seen in the world's leading fashion powerhouses that define the look of men's fashion. Giorgio Armani, Gucci and Ermenegildo Zegna, to name three, are suggesting cool and relaxed clothes for fall guys.

Zegna, famous for its classic suits, recently presented its autumn/winter 2001 collection under the theme "The Cosmopolitan Man - Country Chic." The collection expresses aristocratic luxury and elegance while maintaining an experimental spirit, effecting a contrast between urban style and country warmth.

The first group of the Zegna collection, seeking a harmony of fashion and function, is called "Soft Line." The Zegna jacket lets the wearer make a fashion statement but is comfortable and durable: Its wool is processed with Teflon, which helps to repel stains. Also, Zegna's gabardine coats boast versatility with a detachable lining.

Zegna's other group, themed "Comfort," focuses on loose shapes, giving the body more room. The designer uses material blends incorporating Merino wool or stretchy camel hair as the main components. For the trendy set, the collection includes madras plaids and other patterns inspired by the British tradition. For that aged but comfortable look, the designer says corduroy jackets are the answer. In step with the comfort theme, the new line also introduces a new kind of fabric called Cashco, which is made from 50 percent cashmere and 50 percent cotton.

To pull off the masculine look this year, Zegna says don a long jacket or fur-lined coat, reaching just beyond the knee line, over distressed jeans. If you're aiming for Dylanesque coolness, try a gray turtleneck under a simple jacket.

Gucci this year is displaying a shift from streamlined minimalism to a more relaxed classic look. One of its fancy dinner jackets comes with loosely cut pants and is cut longer. The outfit can be down-dressed by throwing on a long scarf. For a casual day, Gucci says layer. Accessory must-haves in the Gucci world this fall are a shoulder bag with an extra-long strap, a driving cap, a wool scarf and a signature belt.

The Giorgio Armani Uomo fall/winter 2001 collection suggests a more formal look than the others. Most of the clothes are dark suits with a strong shoulder line. The shirts have a higher neckline, while the pants are slim and come with cuffs. Armani's preferred casual look features cardigan-style jackets in deep colors. Trendiness is effected with stripes and polka dots and military details in jackets and overcoats with four or six buttons. For comfort, fabrics like waterproof cashmere and pleated silks are used.

If you find this all too complicated, refer to the style guide for the ultimate fall guy.

by Ines Cho

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