MILAN (AP) — Light and transparent fabrics — from organza to lace to netting — dominated the shows Friday at Milan Fashion Week.
Milan womenswear designers experimented with all manner of sheer fabrics, creating decidedly feminine looks for next spring and summer that new materials gave a contemporary modern flair. Here are some highlights from Friday's shows:
Donatella Versace created spectacular camo-glam looks for next summer, deploying military accents and materials with flair and precision.
Versace's eye-catching animal prints mimicked camouflage, and with acid yellow, green and purple accents, they are best deployed in the urban jungle.
From the mishmash patterns in purple, green and gray, Versace created a collection that ranged from leather mini dresses and chiffon evening wear with a long trailing train. Others were tied over one shoulder and at the hemline for drama.
The collection also featured more button-down looks, such as the belted military jackets in sand and olive green as mini dresses and the jacket-short combos with a bandeau top. Accompanying star necklaces hint at rank.
Once again, Versace's placement of the Medusa logo is more restrained than in the past, branding military belt-buckles and the straps of platform heels like brass buttons. A utilitary jacket, which Versace dubbed the new daywear essential, had Versace scrawled down one arm — discreet placement in the Versace world considering the flurry of animal prints. Matching backpacks finished the look.
"This is a collection for the way women live their lives today, mixing tailoring with sportswear and effortless glamour," Versace said in show notes.
Giorgio Armani gave the crowd an opening and a closing wink during his Emporio Armani show, with a pink cropped T-shirt featuring a graphic emoticon smiley face with an "x'' for one eye.
Perhaps it was his way of signaling a shift to the fashion crowd.
The designer said in his notes he was done with the "classic interplay of masculine and feminine" and that the collection was moving toward "a subtle yet determined form of grace." It's a lofty ambition, even for the pillar of Milan fashion celebrating 40 years in the business, and in keeping there was a lot new on the runway.
The looks were pretty, feminine and light, evoking movement, thanks both to the textiles, featuring sheer organza, a Milan favorite this season, as well as the easy silhouette.
Tops, jackets and skirts were asymmetrically cut, projecting a sense of being on the go, while the new trouser fastened at the calf or ankle with leather straps, cinching up in the shorter version. He also amply deployed pleats and contrasted volumes in the silhouettes: for example, cigarette trousers with a boyfriend-cut duster coat.
The colors were mostly natural pastels — Armani favored a trinity of pink, blue and cinnamon — anchored by urban gray.
Parsimonious with accents, those he did add were inspired by the nature: flower, petal and stem appliques. Many looks were finished with a scarf knotted at the neck.
Armani paired the looks mostly with flats, from transparent ballerinas to open-toe boots.
MARCO DE VINCENZO
Marco De Vincenzo struck a balance between his love of the female form and easy-to-wear volumes for his latest collection.
De Vincenzo, who enjoys the backing of French conglomerate LVHM, created light, feathery looks out of crepe georgette, his team painstakingly laser-cutting strips and sewing countless rows onto each pleated garment.
The technique, devised by his team, created dresses in a fading wash of sunset colors that seemed to whisper as they moved. Big voluminous coats had the visual impact of fur but were literally feather-light.
"I think there is lightness everywhere and for me it is a new challenge," De Vincenzo said backstage. "It's important, when something is three-dimensional and very hypnotic, to work without losing the lightness."
Those looks contrasted with body-conscious dresses, with bra-top netting bodices on a lacey form-fitting dress.
De Vincenzo said he wanted to give women both sexy and relaxed looks. "I understand that women today like to mix it up, and wear something sexy or not, depending on the weather or the day," he said.
Giambattista Valli says his Giamba line's looks for next spring and summer are "post-pop."
The Giamba girl is both innocent and daring, caught between two worlds. She wears sheer white baby doll dresses over flashy red-white-and-blue sequined panties, chooses between floral appliques and lipstick prints, and wears sturdy black boots or pumps with zebra-striped ankle socks.
"This is an intimate party of girls who have done everything together. No boys," Giamba said, adding that his inspirations were the party scenes of the 1970s and '90s.
The clothes projected energy, from the red-white-and-blue sequined mini with upward pointing lace to the neckline, Alice in Wonderland style, to mod gowns with '70s pop art prints or tiered granny-style with dainty built-in capes. But even there, on the cusp of innocence, the lacey bodice is transparent, leaving Valli to strategically place stars and hearts to conceal nipples.
Valli, who shows his couture line in Paris and launched his youth-charged second line last year in Milan, sees himself as "one of the designers with the most complicity for women, whatever the age."
Shoes included woven satiny flats and feathery lifts.
Etro paid homage to the ballet in its latest collection, sending models down a wood-clad runway in a showroom decked out in mirrors to suggest a practice studio.
Etro, with its Bohemian flair, easily resisted the tutu, instead referencing the ballet world with a graceful plisse skirt falling at the knees, pairing a tiered print skirt with a dancer's wrap. Satin ribbons formed belts on lacy tops and chiffony dresses.
Designer Veronica Etro said it was a new challenge to work in lace and tulle.
"As a starting point, I was very much fascinated with elaborate turn-of-the-century details, such as fabrics like lace, tulle, ruching, scallops, ribbons, haberdashery," she said backstage.
Delicate florals dominated the brand's trademark prints this season, while the color palate was subdued. Shades of pink, taupe and apricot contrasted with deep blue and purple.
Sian Watson and Paola Masera contributed.