MILAN (AP) — A debate launched during New York and London fashion weeks on speeding the delivery of new fashions to sate an impatient public was on designers' minds as Milan Fashion Week went into its second day on Thursday.
Yet the notion of strutting runway creations straight into store windows and consumers' shopping bags, as some across the Atlantic Ocean and English Channel are contemplating, was finding some resistance in the Italian fashion system, where the focus is on creativity and craftsmanship.
Some highlights from Thursday's shows at Milan:
Corseted up, collar askew, it's bon voyage for Prada's vagabond. And the journey is life.
Miuccia Prada favored military style jackets over pretty skirts and dresses for next winter's looks. Corsets of every variety defined the silhouette, worn over jackets and dresses, or sewn into overcoats.
The looks, the designer said, were a collage representing all the different sides of a woman, including key moments of her life, "because I think we need to understand who we are now."
The collection plays with the sly joke about whether a woman is dressing up to be an object, or to be powerful, the designer said.
Outerwear, including trenches, capes and anoraks, was of a sturdy, military breed, mostly in olive green or navy blue, and worn with ample skirts, pleated or not, often in brocade, or tiny sheer mini dresses. Sometimes, there was no skirt at all, just argyle tights. As this collection was a meditation on a women's history, trousers just didn't fit in.
Little purses and sets of galley keys were worn as necklaces or fastened to the neck. As in menswear, looks were finished with sailor caps, these including shiny rain-resistant versions.
Footwear included lace-up boots and shoes to echo the corset and golden sandals to wear with golden lame, embroidered dresses that spoke to the Prada women's worth.
Prada's new military-inspired Pionniere and notebook-like Cahier bags were worn strapped across or dangling from the body. They go on sale immediately in boutiques in the fashion cities of Milan, London, Paris and New York, a marketing move that gives hungry consumers a taste of what they want NOW.
Karl Lagerfeld is creating waves with his latest collection for Fendi, which includes undulating garments, bags and even footwear.
Manifold ruffles in the Japan-inspired collection brought to mind the famed Hokusai prints of waves. Lagerfeld broke the surface with ruffles along the neckline or running down sleeves, stiff waves of leather decorating boots that rose to the knees or thighs, and the scalloped handles and edges of elaborate bags.
The optical effect of movement was prolonged by striped tops with puffy shoulders and gathered elbows, and longer, billowing dresses.
Fendi's trademark fur coats included a short blue cape-like construction that bore athletic black-and-white stripes along the bottom, and was worn with thigh-high leather boots.
The overall dark palette was brightened by aquamarine, coral, purple, mustard and turquoise. Bags were furry delights, or stiffer leather with colorful patterns, including one sunset.
Two special guests from Japan delighted Asian visitors at the show, two-meter (6-foot) tall Kigurumi mascots, one a pink female named Piro-chan and a blue boy called Bug-kun. Both are being reproduced in miniature as Fendi's coveted furry bag bug charms that adorn handbags.
In a nod to the siren call of fast fashion, the bag bugs are being sold immediately on the luxury brand's website -- but with a catch. There is a limited run of 80.
LAYERED ROMANTICISM AT COSTUME NATIONAL
Costume National creator Ennio Capasa says his goal for next winter's looks was to was create "timeless pieces" for a woman "who looks to slow fashion."
The silhouette was long and layered for comfort. Capasa underlined a notion of poetic romanticism by pairing a military overcoat with a dress composed of crisscrossing ruffles, creating a metallic dress for day and silken street-wear pajamas printed with photos of flowers snapped by the designer himself.
Capasa is known for his deconstructed looks, and the work here was subtle. Lapels repeated themselves down the front of jackets. Deep slits penetrated the backs of jackets and sleeves, conveying openness when the metallic buttons are left unfastened.
The centerpiece jacket with rounded lapels could be left partially unzipped at the waist, conveying ease.
In its most luxurious form, this partially deconstructed jacket was covered with tiny beaded polka dots. A wool crepe version was worn over a sheer black turtleneck that shimmered like the night sky and a satiny skirt that fell below the knee.
Tacked to Capasa's mood board backstage were pictures of Bjork and Yoko Ono, providing inspiration as "women who have a strong attitude and personality, while at the same time expressing strong emotion," the designer said.
Platform boots were the favored footwear, while the color palate was mostly dark with some jewel tones of emerald, ruby and sapphire.
Massimo Giorgetti hewed closely to the Pucci DNA in his second collection for the fashion house, drawing on its sporty heritage, free-flowing lines and sensual prints.
Sport grabbed the opening spotlight with oversized V-neck varsity sweaters, track suits with pants that zipped down the front of the legs, a snug bob-sledder's body-suit and ski parkas emblazoned with mountain silhouettes.
The athletic wear was harkened back to the days when fashion house's late founder, Emilio Pucci, a former Olympic skier, created looks worn by the international skiing set in the most exclusive mountain resorts.
Pucci's more sensual side came out in flowing dresses and skirts in florals and sheers, worn under ample men's overcoats and sweaters.
The looks had a strongly graphic feel, with bold color blocking in orange, royal blue, burgundy, black and white, with shades of pink and blue.
FASHION BURN OUT
Jeremy Scott seems to be saying that fashion is going up in flames.
The provocative Moschino creative director is Milan's master of the theatrical, and models paraded down an oriental-rug strewn runway suggestive of decadence gone wrong. The center was piled with smashed pianos and discarded furniture.
Scott's story line opened with devil-may-care biker chicks mixing leather duds with big jewel colored bows, like super-size-me big. Then the Moschino girl went all super-hero with billowing capes over bodysuits, followed by the party girl with cigarette earrings, cigarette pack backpacks and beer-can shoulder bags -- all sure to be hits with the anti-PC crowd.
Chains and strings of pearls fashioned on a black dress to give the appearance, from a distance, of a walking skeleton, had a real wow factor, but also foreshadowed doom to come.
Things didn't spin out of control until she got into evening wear, and then the tuxedo jackets were singed and the taffeta gowns had smoke billowing out of the underskirts.
Melodrama ensued with a model clad in a chandelier twinkling down the aisle, followed shortly after by what may well have been the devil herself in a bright red, burned-out dress.
Scott was a pioneer in bringing a capsule collection straight from the runway to stores, so it is fitting that his collection would use irony to poke fun at the state of fashion.