Milan Fashion Week Exorcises Economic Gloom


Associated Press

Tuesday September 27, 2011

MILAN (AP) - Milan designers are in denial.

Or it could just be an act of collective will to dispel the growing economic gloom.

Because when they look into their crystal ball for next summer, they see the tropics. They see parties. They see fun, a return to the Roaring '20s, the carefree '50s.

Let's hope they are right.

In any case, women are being encouraged to show their under garments, slips sticking beneath hemlines and sheer dresses requiring coordinated lingerie. Dresses are shoulder-baring. Colors are often bold. Gold and silver lame shine throughout the collections.



Tossing the current global bad news to the wind, the designing duo Dolce&Gabbana turned the runway into an Italian summer fair, complete with traditional multicolored lights and open air market goodies.

Inspiration for the spring-summer 2012 collection shown Sunday was actress Sophia Loren at her sexiest when she danced the mambo in a 1955 Italian film.

Front-row guest American actress Scarlett Johansson, the face for Dolce&Gabbana's cosmetic line, wore a beige body-hugging gown from the maison and followed the show with particular interest.

To the beat of "Ehi Mambo," the models swung their hips down the runway in halter sun dress with full skirt and small waist or bra tops paired with shorts, all worn with fetching high heeled sandals. Many of these outfits were cheerfully printed with riches from the Italian south, from oranges and lemons to red peppers, eggplant and onions.

"It was hard to make onions look sexy," Stefano Gabbana joked with reporters before the show.

Not only did the duo print fabric with fruits, vegetables, and different shapes of pasta, but they managed to turn garlic cloves into earrings and macaroni pasta into a handle on a raffia bag.



Missoni evoked warm weather destinations from Spain to the Caribbean in the womenswear collection for next spring and summer.

Angela Missoni created the mood in both cut - asymmetrical shapes, off-shoulder looks - and color - ultramarine with emerald, bold magenta, purple, yellow and chocolate - in the collection previewed Sunday during Milan Fashion Week.

A Spanish flamenco dancer was suggested in off-shoulder top with ruffled asymmetrical skirts creating a swishing motion that invites the wearer to swirl around in dance.

The Caribbean was recalled in jungle prints, layers of ruffles and the pleasing combination of yellow and chocolate bringing to mind a plantation.

Missoni's trademark knitwear was the mainstay of the collection, but Missoni also wove together leather for a more textured look and mixed in softer fabrics like silk, chiffon and rayon.

The collection was on the racy side with lots of sheer fabrics - a look hot on Milan runways this round - requiring matching undergarments to complete the style. And Missoni also allowed necklines to plunge.

In a nod to modesty, she offered fringe, on necklaces and on finely knit shawls.


In any case, women are being encouraged to show their under garments, slips sticking beneath hemlines and sheer dresses.


"Your slip is showing," used to be mom's warning before you went out the door.

Thanks to Consuelo Castiglioni, creative designer and owner of the Marni brand, it's no longer a problem.

Her latest women's collection for spring-summer 2012, shown Sunday, features a flesh-colored sheer organza slip which hangs down below the hem of a short skirt or mini-dress.

The slips came with matching beige ankle socks worn with pumps or high-heeled sandals.

Overall, the new Marni silhouette is beguilingly innocent, A-line and with a nipped waist. Jackets tend to be long, worn over a short skirt with the new slip hemline. Trousers have little space in the Marni closet.

The palette is young, ranging from aqua and pink to spurts of yellow, white, brown and rust. There is a lot of embroidery in the collection which mixes plastic and sequins, raffia and crystals to create a three-dimensional effect for floral or geometric prints.



Ferragamo's latest look packs easily for the tropics. Or the red carpet.

Lucky the girl who gets to do both.

Ferragamo designer Massimiliano Giornetti was decidedly fantasy-driven in the collection previewed Sunday during Milan Fashion Week - mostly leaving the workaday city behind.

For an exotic getaway, the Ferragamo woman wears chic dresses in chiffon and silk that drape the body elegantly. The dresses sometimes are halters, or knotted to create a sexy bandeau top that wraps sensually around the neck. Colors are bold reds and purples, prints straight out of the tropics.

Sticking to Ferragamo's classic roots, Giornetti sometimes topped the dresses with men's jackets.

For awards season, Ferragamo created gowns that would trigger flashbulbs on any red carpet. Try a gold lame leopard print featuring layers of chiffon, a leg-baring slit, and a final flourish: a silk scarf over a bare shoulder.

For the party after, there was a fun and flirty flapper-style dress - a period oft evoked during Milan Fashion Week - with red and purple strings of beads that dance in the light.

Shoes were high-heeled strappy sandals featuring a grooved heel from Ferragamo's archives, circa 1935. Colorful clutches and bucket bags were made of plaited leather.



Designer Laura Biagiotti, who has traveled the world with her fashion suitcase - she was the first Italian designer to show in China in 1988, and seven years later the first to show in Russia - stays closer to home this round, presenting a summer collection inspired by Venice, one of her first loves.

Not only is the show presented Sunday full of Venetian references from the brocade and jeweled embroidery to the rich pastel palette, to the one-shouldered embroidered lace dress dedicated to the city's film festival and to the pop-glam sunglasses worn by American art collector and longtime Venice resident Peggy Guggenheim.

The "queen of cashmere," as Biagiotti is known, dedicates a large part of the collection to knitwear, this round combining silk, cashmere and linen yarns enriched by gold and silver threads.

To further honor the city she "adores," Biagiotti brings back her popular Venezia fragrance, first launched in the 1990s.

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