Milan Fashion Week started out spectacularly, showcasing Italy's most talented designers from 21-27 September. What I like about this fashion week is the diversity of the collections, each designer has such a unique vision and signature style. These are some of my favourite ranges thus far. Click on the pictures for a closer view.
Sexy slip dresses wrapped in silk were at the forefront of Alberta Ferretti's Spring 2011 range. The tropical theme was conveyed by palm-leaf prints and floaty gowns in a rainforest of colours. Sheer linear cut-outs and satin-block panels kept the simple sheaths from being monotonous. Crochet knits and intaglio printing added a bit of texture. Models sported natural sun kissed make-up, tousled beach waves and stunning strappy sandals.
Gucci provided a modern twist to a roaring 20's styled collection. A handful of bold tones coloured in strong lines - green, gold, black and white made up a sophisticated range; inspired by the architectural lines of New York's Chrysler Building. Masculine suits were glamorized with high-waisted pants, and gold-trimmed collarless coats. Fringed flapper dresses with drop-waists glimmered with bugle beadwork. Each look is individually striking, and all together it forms a compelling range that we can be sure to see on many celebrities next Spring.
The younger and more cosmopolitan D&G brand will merge with it's founding label, Dolce and Gabbana after this final Spring 2012 showing. Models were whirled in a sea of what looked like Hermés scarves, in a potpourri of prints. Even wedge-heel sandals were wrapped with printed scarves. There was a multitude of long, billowing gowns, fit for an exotic seaside vacation. Polychromatic prints covered everything - denim shirts, luxurious satin suits, clutch bags, jackets and mini dresses. D&G's swan song was a cheery farewell to a well-loved brand, one that will be pleasantly remembered.
I've never seen a cartoon car print on a designer dress before, but Prada does so with unusual elegance. Miuccia's 50's style silhouettes that were edged with exhaust flames made for interesting viewing. The automative masculine theme was toned down by soft pastel pleated dresses in sweet pink, mint green, sky blue and lemonade. Leather skirts echoed the interior of a car. Fern green, brick-red and navy floral appliqués were crocheted onto oversized felt coats. The little-boy-pajama-print may not be to everyone's liking, but this will surely be one of the most recognizable collections of the forthcoming season.
It was all about the bare midriff at Emilio Pucci's Spring 2012 showcase. Designer Peter Dundas introduces the enigmatic gypsy girl - decked in paisley printed peasant tops, lacey circle skirts and floaty bohemian gowns. On the casual side, wide-leg trousers and shorts were paired with printed blouses, making use of scarves as belts. The lingerie-inspired aspect was visible through the delicate bustier tops, sheer skirts and gentle frills. Models wore sultry smokey eyes and loose hair with a side swept fringe.
Aimed a more youthful market, Blumarine's trendier line, Blugirl, presented a sweet dose of femininity for Spring 2012. Endearing candy coloured dresses were coated in flowers, bows and frills. Wafty, sheer printed gowns resembled a beautiful spring garden. Charming cardigans accompanied flirty little dresses, slim bowed belts nipped in waists and flowery necklaces adorned necks. Colour-blocked heels and clutch bags supplemented the spritely ensembles. I like the variety in this collection - theres stylish workwear, dreamy day dresses and alluring cocktail frocks.
The most fun, witty and whimsical collection I've seen all Fashion Week is by Frankie Morello. His 'Souvenir of Italy' Spring range takes you on a Vespa ride through the country's most iconic landmarks - The Tower of Pisa, ancient buildings of Rome, the statue of David, Venetian gondolas, the Trompe-l'oeil, Amalfi Coast and streets of Milan. The tourist-influenced pieces are accessorized with camera necklaces and topped off with outlandish head pieces. Models with a sense of adventure carried backpacks instead of predictable clutch bags. Cycling shorts peeked from under flaired mini skirts, printed pleated fans decorated strapless tops and catchphrase t-shirts are worn with long glossy skirts. It may all be satirical, but you have to admit it is cute.