MILAN (AP) — Milan designers looked to the sea and the forest for inspiration for warm weather looks being previewed during Milan Fashion Week.
After a drenching opening day, the sun came out for the second day of womenswear previews for next spring and summer on Thursday, lightening moods and allowing the fashion crowd again to show off its style prowess on the streets of Milan, after a day spent dashing from cabs and cars to umbrellas.
Some highlights from Thursday's shows:
Maid Marian wouldn't have needed Robin Hood to defend her in these threads and skins.
Karl Lagerfeld's new looks for Fendi projected both feminine strength — with braided leather mimicking bodice armor — and romanticism, with the flowing chiffony skirts and smocked fronts. She is a soft warrior, who only brings out her menacing side when warranted, striding through the forest in woven leather panties and a leather top with braided neckline, or more stealthily in a silken bubble mini-dress with blousy sleeves and a smocked bodice.
Silvia Venturini Fendi said the looks belonged in a "concrete forest," pointing to the angular sculpted trees decorating the showroom walls.
"It is childish in a way. Also the craftsmanship. The flowers, the smocking, and the braiding, the micro-stitching," Fendi said.
The colors were that of the forest, with olive greens approaching browns, while opposing shades of reds or blues were mixed together. Models wore a strong stripe of eye shadow at the brow, a pretty war paint. Shoes were mostly sculpted high heels in leather, at times multi-colored, and also satin.
Fendi being Fendi, there were also summer furs, good for the forest, but "good also in the air conditioning," quipped Fendi.
Miuccia Prada relaunches the suit for next season, a wardrobe convention to which she doesn't often return. So it only made sense that she deconstructed it.
Or in the words of her design director: "She got obsessed with it," said Fabio Zambernardi.
Once again, she played with the masculine and feminine, using traditional male tweeds and plaids. So, a loose boxy jacked was paired with a straight skirt of mix-matched patterns with an off-skew hemline.
It wasn't enough, it seems, to design a suit. But she also wanted to play with the absence of elements. So she went on to make the skirt out of transparent organza, a sort of The Emperor Has No Clothes moment.
"The sheer was almost like the memory of dresses. They were almost not finished. So there was only the top and not the bottom," Zambernardi said backstage.
As the progression continued, the looks evolved to have a tweed skirt beneath a sheer sheath, before finally finishing with full suits in patent leather stripes and then in tweed adorned with bejeweled flower appliques — the season's only motif.
Prada countered the seriousness of her suit study by sometimes adding big swaths of sequins and finishing the looks with big orb earrings, from the paper-light to the fuzzy to mini disco balls, and lacey neckwear that had a nearly tribal impact.
Shoes ranged from sling backs to high heeled sandals with triple ankle straps and shiny golden or silver boots.
The final touch: golden lipstick.
Massimo Giorgetti took cues from the natural world for his first collection as creative director at Pucci, sending a hint of the natural wonders to come with the invitation adorned with a colorful melange of feathers.
And there were feathers, and fur, and even a flash of a tropical print, but the dominant reference was the sea.
Models appeared to be playfully caught in net dresses, along with a catch of colorful fish adorning the frocks. In keeping with the theme, pearls accented the high-heeled and flat sandals, while big dangly earrings that resembled fish bones hung from one ear.
Giorgetti mixed materials and styles for his debut Pucci collection, layering strappy sequin dresses over long-sleeve lace or pleated sheaths. In one of his more inventive plays, the designer created a graphically inspired leather bodice worn, in one instance, over a peach pleated sheath.
He also played with volumes with sheer black or white tops with matching sheer pants, decoratively adorned with dramatic appliques of like-colored shells, which cleverly created modesty.
Fur softened slippers, a Milan trend in recent seasons. Feathers, rather than mere accents, appeared as a 2-D print.
"I worked a lot," Giorgetti told the Associated Press backstage. "I'm trying to translate the heritage of the brand in a new way, in a contemporary way, because I love the real clothes, because I love real fashion and I love when clothes will be desired. "
Max Mara looks for next summer are a little bit Long John Silver, Captain Ahab and saucy wench all thrown in together.
Max Mara reinterpreted nautical looks with a slightly off-kilter yet disciplined rendering of popular themes. There were stripes, sturdy chords and shiny buttons all in a row to be sure, but all deployed with whimsy.
Nautical rope was both a motif on silken printed dresses, and a material, forming chunky drawstrings on the hemline or the plunging back of a spicy top. The look was suggestive of a stylish sack the likes of which never saw the inside of a ship's hull.
Childlike motifs kept up the light-hearted spirit of the collection, with porpoises, seagulls and sails printed on leather sailor's duffels and the brand's flagship JBag.
The season's must-have T-shirt features a portal hole showing a sailing ship on calm seas. Stars branded sweaters and decorated suits with double-breasted jackets, deliberately unevenly buttoned, and wide-legged, high-waist trousers. Shirt sleeves were worn long, covering the hands. Shoes were chunky platforms, while the color palette stayed true to the theme with red, yellow and navy blue.
The ever-cheeky Jeremey Scott's made the open highway and all its trappings a running joke for his latest Moschino collection.
Scott employed every traffic, roadway and automotive fashion pun he could think of for the collection. The show dripped in irony, with signs flashing: "Traffic Chaos at Moschino," ''Expect Delays" and "Caution Dangerous Couture Ahead," as models emerged from a faux car wash and walked down a runway with a yellow stripe painted down the center.
There were stylish highway workers in an orange leather bubble skirt and short jacket, or sheath dresses made out of orange fabric resembling roadwork fencing. Back at the car wash, fringe dresses mimicked the big automated car wash brushes as well as those for the drying cycle. Finally, there was the Cadillac moment: big 1950s swing circle skirts with organza underlays and, what else, big plastic tail lights sewn in the back.
Each of the more than 60 looks evoked a chuckle in its own right. Some of the recurring themes included veiled hard hats, traffic signs as handbags, night-reflective striping accents, and yellow-and-black caution tape prints. But taken out of their ironic context, many of the outfits would work very prettily on their own.
Film noir informed Ennio Capasa's Costume National collection for next spring and summer, from the black-and-white color scheme to the sensuous lines.
The looks combined Capasa's graphic, minimalist fashion sensibility with a new, more feminine side. So alongside the more traditional Costume looks of a deconstructed suit jacket, he added a soft skirt, or paired trousers with a plunging V-neck top with asymmetrical ruffle. He also used more feminine fabrics, like sheers and jacquards.
"There is a mix of romantic and tailoring which I tried to play with. It is new for Costume because normally I am more neutral; I am more androgynous," he said before the show. "I like very much to feel the body which is why I like black and white. For me it is very important to feel the energy of the body" in the clothes.
As his models were being prepared for the runway, Capasa celebrated Lady Gaga's appearance in Costume National during New York Fashion Week.
"My experiment was recognized, let's say," he said.
Paola Masera contributed to this report.