Wed, Feb 29, 2012 - Page 13 News List

Milan Fashion Week takes opulence to new level

Fur, lavish velvet, crocodile skin and golden embroidery took center stage at Italy’s premier fashion showcase

By Colleen Barry and Daniela Petroff  /  AP, MILAN

A model presents a creation by Armani at Milan Fashion Week.

Photo: AFP

Even as the fashion world showed signs of upheaval, designers in Milan presented some of the most composed winter collections in many a season.

The looks in six days of Milan Fashion Week, which ended yesterday, were opulent — lavish velvet and brocade fabrics made even richer by beading, sequins, brooches and golden embroidery.

Many of the fall-winter previews had the over-the-top feel of costumes, conveyed in detailing like feathers, fur trimming and silver mesh.

Military looks were the most prevalent, with nearly every designer featuring garments with golden buttons, epaulets and double-breasted styles. That was finished off with military caps and equestrian boots.

There was lots of bare skin, but plenty of ways to cover it in layers. That included big fur collars, gauntlet gloves, thigh-high boots and shawl wraps of every style imaginable.

The basics for the season are cropped pants, shorts, the pant suit and dresses topped with jackets. Hats made a comeback with plenty of styles: Gaucho hats, mod leather caps, fedoras, flapper cloches and furry Cossack headgear.

Many designers showed their wears in spectacular baroque settings, either in actual historic palaces or settings recreated on the runway, which only enhanced the richness of the clothing.

Brooches and other ornaments were stitched onto garments, evoking a theatrical feel.

The palette was mainly black, offset by deep reds, blues, and the return of purple. A few designers preferred a contrast with soft pastels, white and beige.

Next winter’s bag is average size, and usually carried by the handle. For night, the looks favored tiny clutches.

Booties — military or Victorian — were a favorite. Heels were high, but not incredibly so, with the Mary Jane the prevalent style. Flourishes were added to shoes: sparkles, bows, buttons and golden accents.

Several top fashion jobs were in flux. Raf Simons presented his final collection for the Jil Sander label, making way for the namesake designer to return to the fashion house she founded in the 1960s. Simons’ triumphant farewell collection contrasted with the opulence of many of the runways: it was soft, feminine and minimalist.

Yves Saint Laurent announced that designer Stefano Pilati would be leaving after his final show next week in Paris, while Dior is still looking for a new designer after last year’s disgraceful exit of John Galliano.

So the fashion world moves on to Paris amid speculation of where all the talent will land.

ARMANI

All it takes to be Armani stylish next winter is a pair of Bermudas. Chic iron-creased shorts were the centerpiece of the latest collection of the man who put “moda Milanese” on the fashion map more than 30 years ago.

Worn on their own under a super-feminine blouse in a brightly colored print, paired with a tailored Armani jacket, or peeking out of the hem of a silk taffeta cocktail dress in coral and pink, they claimed the runway.

The new Armani jacket, often styled in woven fabric, has no lapel and caresses the neckline. In addition to the Bermudas, it can be worn with a pair of tapered slacks.

Flat shoes with sparkling tops and a Fedora hat with wide slanted brim spiff up the androgynous and yet feminine look.

The Bermuda shorts, but now in luxurious silk, also claimed the evening, coupled with shimmering sequined evening jackets, or worn with a silk sheath with a bare back and an intricate obi sash waistline.

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