Milan Fashion Week
Dolce & Gabbana
Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce introduced their inspiration with a video, Pigiama Barocco. True to theme, silky men's pajamas were re-imagined as evening suits, shorts sets and wrap tops. Decadent prints were mixed with Victoriana: puffed sleeves, brooches and severe Emily Dickinson center parts. For after dark, the designers dreamed up lingerie-inspired merry widow's weeds, which were accessorized with demure veils.
For Spring 2009, Karl Lagerfeld brought pretty into the space age with sheer bell-shaped silhouettes blanketed in rosettes. Models drifted down the runway in deconstructed beehive hairdos wearing layered dresses cinched at the waists with peek-a-boo belts. Special effect textiles included oversized eyelet, laser-cut lace and mod-style embroidery.
Valentine's Day came early to Milan with a sweetheart of a collection from Donatella Versace. Ingenious zippered dresses were topped with heart-shaped embellishments in shades of lipstick pink and white. For date night, the silhouette was long and goddessy in psychedelic prints.
Matthew Williamson took Pucci to Miami for the Spring 2009 season. The body was brought into focus with hourglass-inducing mini-suits and peek-a-boo dresses in signature brights. Aside from the classic Pucci patterns, Williamson added vibrancy with pieced designs in juicy tropical shades.
The designers at Max Mara played with pattern, sending out crisp suits and coatdresses in gingham and vibrant florals. Silky suits with low-slung trousers and defined shoulders recalled the best of 80's sportswear, while loose silk shirtdresses were work-wardrobe ready in shades of cobalt, fuchsia and pewter.
Dan and Dean Caten looked back to the 70's with their Charlie's Angels-themed Spring 2009 collection. High-waisted jeans were worn with checked shirts and Farrah Fawcett hair, while three-piece suits were rendered in all white and denim. Eveningwear was pure Studio 54, with jersey dresses and jumpsuits accessorized with piles of gold chains.
This season, Frida Giannini produced a tropical punch of low-slung suits and leg-baring mini-caftans. A succession of flak jackets and drawstring separates were a tip of the panama hat to Yves Saint Laurent's safari collection. And the uber-cool zippered coatdresses had to be of interest to the good girl gone bad in the front row, Rihanna.
Consuelo Castiglioni produced a Commedia dell'Arte of a collection, alive with prints, color and riotous accessories. Oversized lace was layered under vibrant chiffons and paired with breastplate necklaces and signature balloon bags. Eveningwear was no less restrained, with a circus of prints rendered in paillettes.
Moschino Cheap and Chic
Rosella Jardini produced a shiny, happy version of grunge for Moschino Cheap and Chic. Rolled satin shorts were paired with mini trenches in a mix of florals and sandals were worn with sheer tie-dyed socks or extra-long leggings. Ladylike cardigans got a thrift-score makeover when accessorized with cheeky open-crown hats, evidence that the label has kept its sense of humor along with its teen spirit.
Harlequin met hipster at Rosella Jardini's latest collection for Moschino. Models with candy-floss beehives donned graphic designs accented with oversized ruffles, buttons and bows. Eveningwear got a downtown spin with vests worn over voluminous tiered dresses and mongo pearls.
Designer Raf Simmon’s opened his Spring show with a projection of Kiki de Montparnasse by photographer Man Ray-a subtle nod to this season's muse. The minimalist designer presented a streamlined, modern collection inspired by the 1920s and African tribal adornment, which was carried out through the use of fringe and earrings reminiscent of tribal body decoration. The latter is the big news for the label-a first-ever jewelry line in collaboration with the diamond experts at Damiani.
Master of maximalism Roberto Cavalli and co-designer Eva Cavalli welcomed Milan Fashion Week to the dollhouse with a collection of precious pastel dresses and body-baring suits. Sheer print dresses had hippie flavor, while a set of Baroque minidresses recalled Marie Antoinette. For the red carpet, Cavalli turned out textured tulle confections perfect for the dolly girl after dark.
Designer Christopher Bailey presented a somber collection inspired by a rainy London springtime-an appropriate nod the brand’s trademark trench coats. Slouchy, wearable clothes in muted shades of ochre, brown, steel gray and gold were casually styled with belted cardigans, bucket hats, oversized bangles and bold statement necklaces-the perfect lineup for rainy-day chic.
At Giorgio Armani, easy elegance was the order of the day. Petal-light, draped suits were shown with youthful, undone hair, perfectly embodying what Mr. Armani called in his program notes: “beautiful clothes designed to meet the demands of everyday life.” Eveningwear was equally nonchalant-flowing chiffon gowns and butterfly-inspired lace sheaths are sure to make the best-dressed lists the world over, perhaps even on front-row attendee Cate Blanchett.
Has Mad Men made it to Milan? Miucca Prada showed a Spring 2009 collection that could have come from the closets of the show's sexy secretaries. Knee-length pencil skirts, clingy knits and curve-hugging day dresses were on display, and sometimes stripped away, exposing vintage-inspired lingerie and bare midriffs. Even the platform heels and chignon hairstyles had early 60's sex appeal.
Ahoy, spring! For their latest D&G collection, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana went nautical with maritime striped bathing costumes and high-waisted jeans worn with patent bags and platforms, multi-hued sunglasses and semaphore scarves. For evening, the design duo mixed sailor-friendly patterns with 30's lamÃ© in shapes that suggested both Pierrot and Poiret.
This season, Anna Molinari's modern mermaids donned Madame Gres minis cinched with coral and driftwood belts. Spangled cardigans were worn with tapered trousers cropped to show off rosette-studded sandals. For evening, chiffon went under the sea in the form of dripping, draped multi-hued confections.
For Spring 2009, the Alberta Ferretti girl was an updated Art Nouveau muse. Embellished crop tops were paired with paper bag-waist pants and major bangles, while after-dark dresses were fringed or Fortuny-pleated, then slashed and embroidered for extra texture.
Tomas Maier showed his mastery of restrained luxury with a collection of sculptural leather separates and classic bags in shades of pumpkin, chocolate, burnt umber and butter yellow. "In this collection, we wanted to explore volume as it relates to material," says Maier. "The aim was to make clothing with a gentle architecture that flows and gives with the body." The series of double-breasted coatdresses will be effortless for the office, while evening was all about textured chiffon in shades of gold. Says Maier, "Our ultimate goal is always the same...to make exceptional pieces that are to keep forever."
For her Spring 2009 collection, Angela Missoni made an artist-friendly mix of sorbet-hued designs cinched with wide obi belts. Slouchy silhouettes and kimono sleeves contributed to her understated Asian theme. Nighttime shimmer came in the form of studded cocktail dresses and iridescent evening jumpsuits.
16-year-old wunderkind designer Kira Plastinina designed her latest collection far afield from her Russian homeland. "I was inspired by my stay in Malibu," Plastinina says. "All the colors of the summer." Girly rosette-studded dresses were accessorized with floppy hats and surfboards. Says Plastinina, "I especially love the casual, cool vibe of beach culture."