MILAN (AP) — A calm is permeating many Milan runways, as designers tone down the colors and focus on form, creating quieter moments that nonetheless have much to contemplate.
As with any trend, it wasn't unanimous and there were some unbridled fashion moments.
Here are some highlights from the fifth day of Milan Fashion Week previews of womenswear looks for next spring and summer:
U.S. Open winner Flavia Pennetta got a spontaneous round of applause from the front row of Ferragamo on Sunday, the fifth day of Milan Fashion Week.
The all-Italian final game between Pennetta and fellow Puglia-native Roberta Vinci captivated the nation, and Pennetta, who has announced her retirement, is being feted as a national star.
Pennetta, wearing a red Ferragamo lace dress and knit shawl, fielded half a dozen TV interviews before the show, delaying slightly the start. Backstage, designer Massimiliano Giornetti gave her a big hug and laughed that he had heard the applause from behind the scenes. Giornetti said he is a long-time friend and fan of Pennetta's, and has dressed her for sporting events in the past.
"I was in Los Angeles when Flavia was playing the U.S Open. I was like texting every five minutes to Flavia because I am a big, super fan," Giornetti said.
Dolce&Gabbana's exuberant collection for next summer paid homage to their native Italy, from Palermo in the south to Verona in the north, giving the country a much-needed ego boost.
Some of the most eye-catching, spirited looks celebrated Italy's 1950s and 1960s heyday, when Audrey Heburn scooted around Rome in a scarf and Dean Martin crooned "That's amore." Designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana dubbed the collection "Italy is Love," a turn on the Martin phraseology, and while there were many nostalgic skirted sundresses and crocheted suits, they also created more contemporary looks.
The theater was set up to look like a market, and models casually overtook one other as if they were out for a stroll. Every once in a while, one stopped to take a selfie, as if to underline the of-the-moment nature of the collection. In the ultimate social media-fashion hookup, the pictures were immediately posted to Instagram and flashed on screens hanging in the theater.
Amid the romantic pageantry, there were sheer ruched silk dresses with built-in bra tops and body-hugging ruffled sundresses featuring black graphic strokes. With a wink to the past, the duo created high-waist polka dot bikinis, long lacy caftans with sequin appliques of long-ago seaside performers, and pretty 1950 sundresses.
Models wore turbans and tiaras, as well as profusely bejeweled sunglasses fit for any diva, even if only of her town's market, and carried Dolce&Gabbana shopping bags along with purses shaped like cameras or simple shopping baskets. The grand finale featured a parade of silken mini dresses with painted tributes to Italy's many great cities and sites, from Roma to Pisa and Portofino to Taormina — fashion postcards celebrating the best of a country that is beloved but still seeing its way out of economic doldrums.
Massimiliano Giornetti's collection for Salvatore Ferragamo is simplicity itself, an expression of quiet.
Giornetti took inspiration from timeless portraits of women in pensive, solitary moments, which hung backstage as a story board, and deduced from them the gently folded fabric, the soft ruffles and the draping that characterized the collection.
A white shirt was gathered gently along the neckline at with the same broad border at the short sleeves for a modern, structural look. It paired with a high-waist shiny black skirt. Big ruffles softened the silhouette of sundresses and tiered dresses were easy and laid-back. Prints were absent, with the color pallet bringing vibrancy to the looks, black-and-white, contrasted by rust, blue, pink and green.
While past Giornetti collections focused on Italian craftsmanship, the designer said this one explored a sense of lifestyle, and finding a balance between contrasts.
"It was what I was really looking for, a sense of lightness and a sense of simplicity," Giornetti said. "It is a collection much more about construction and less about surfaces."
The looks were finished with big dangling pearl earrings and matching pendant that swung gently with each step. Shoes were colorful and flat, including closed-toe sandals. Bags were mostly small shoulder bags.
AU JOUR LE JOUR
Splat! Ketchup on your cocktail dress? Ink on your trousers? Egg on your face?
Mirko Fontana and Diego Marquez, the designers behind the au jour le jour label, have designed the answer, and it lies in a pop image of the popular laundry detergent Dash, which they made the central motif of the collection.
Speaking backstage before the show, Fontana called it "democratic fashion. Dash is a brand of washing detergent very popular in Italy."
The media-savvy young designers, whose 5-year-old brand is known for its easy-to-share motifs, got the go-ahead from Procter & Gamble, owners of the Dash brand, to use the image in their collection.
It shows up on go-go boots paired with a jacket with faux ink-spots, as hand-stitched sequins logo on tank dresses and as jewelry. Many garments bear fake stains from coffee, ketchup and egg, that sometimes have a camouflage effect.
They pair insisted the product placement wasn't promotional. "It's inspiration. We used something used by real people, and added some value to the fashion," Fontana said.
Missoni went tribal for next summer, with bold stripes and zig-zags, veering from disciplined black-and-white to explosions of color.
Angela Missoni said before the show that the collection goes back to roots: "Missoni roots in graphics, and the root of humanity, so I went back to Africa."
She combined dark tones of browns and blacks with red, fuchsia together with pink, or yellows with blues and greens.
The silhouette expresses the freedom of the looks. The dresses were fluid, both A-line and straight, while the pants were wide suggesting skirts or slim cigarette trouser. They were often worn with long, trailing ribbed knitwear that was nearly transparent. Long scarves are criss-crossed over the front and tied in the back to create a shrug.
Missoni said that for her, the ideal Missoni woman is ageless.
"When I can manage to dress, not always, but when I can manage to dress my daughters and their girlfriends, my girlfriends and my mother's girlfriends, this makes me so happy and I think I have achieved," she said. "Missoni is not about age but about your spirit."
At Missoni, fashion is a family business and taking a front-row spot was Johnny, the family bulldog, who spent most of the show napping.
Marni's looks for next season are post-pop art graphic, featuring architectural shapes, big shapes and bold, contrasting monotones.
With its oversized structural silhouette, big polka dots and graphic prints, the collection would make a great coloring book — except then you'd miss all the textures: fur, satin, velvet and sequins.
Pants are super-wide with an added element, a sort of wing or fin down the outside seam, as if they were a 1950s Cadillac. They are worn with layered tops, like a canary yellow apron-top with black straps over a forest green T-shirt.
Dresses were layered, often in unorthodox color combinations and with bold cutouts: a royal blue dress was worn over a yellow-perforated tunic topping a final red layer. When long, sleeves hung exaggeratedly over the hands. Sometimes contrasting sequins peeked out of the hemline cutouts, creating a sculptural effect.
Handbags, in unusual shapes like a folded tulip, have chunky chains that can be wrapped around the wrist like bracelets. A big bow sits on the shoulder in larger cross-body models — integrated as part of the geometry. Square-toed shoes finish the looks.
Sian Watson contributed to this report.