Stapled dresses and lace: old meets new in Milan

MILAN, Feb 20, 2008 (AFP) -Salvatore Ferragamo's winter range for women showcased funky dresses and coats held together by staples while others went for profusions of frothy lace lining blouses, jackets and skirts.

The venerable Italian house of


A model displays a creation by Italian designer Miuccia Prada - Photo : Giuseppe Cacace/AFP
Ferragamo, founded more than 80 years ago, threw out cunningly stapled trenches, cocktail dresses, and gowns evoking Gianni Versace's landmark safety pin gown famously worn by British actress Liz Hurley.

Other Ferragamo twists ranged from a gold and black shirt mimicking chain-mail to a backless top with a plunging neckline strung by spidery straps, and faux snake blouses with deep slits from the collarbone to the navel.

Bolero jackets had diaphanous but effortlessly falling folds on the back and sides, and coat lapels were intricate and often asymmetrical with one side layered or criss-crossed and the other plain.

Time-tested elegance came in the form of a black decollete strapless gown with a plunging tulip shaped neckline that seemed to have jumped out from the wardrobe of a screen goddess from yesteryear.

Miuccia Prada pulled out all the stops to achieve A-grade glam with black lace lining skirts that fell just below the knee as well as on the necks of shirts buttoned right up to the collar.

La Perla also explored the same path, notably with a shirt of peekaboo lace.

Inspiration for other designers at Milan's fashion week Tuesday ranged from a famous Parisian street to the "noir comics" of the 60s, to Morocco and veteran British actress Julie Christie.

Blumarine sought to capture the atmosphere of "street of fashion" Avenue Montaigne in Paris with flowing pink dresses culminating in lacy hems, A-line coats with fur cuffs, and collars topped with uber chic fur toques.

Delicate dresses with overlapping petal-shaped chiffon ribbons abounded, interspersed with shirts and dresses festooned with rosebuds and shirts with multi-layered lace cuffs recapturing another era and chocolate boxy prettiness.

But footwear and arm candy bordered on the eccentric, with court shoes in gold laminated leather and boots in leopard print pony skin with fur trims and duffel bags in gold printed python.

Albino meanwhile opted for dark mystery and the atmosphere of the "noir" comics with dollops of rock glam: micro-studded jackets, feathered embroidery and crinoline cylinders illuminated by smoky fume crystals.

Extravagant ruffles and trumpet sleeved blouses were teamed with close-fitting masculine trousers to achieve that perfect balance of yin and yang.

The house of Bally, better known for its shoes, handbags and gloves, unveiled a line of jackets, tunics and trousers with delicate paisley patterns in pale shades of orange, green, acquamarine and burnt orange.

The inspiration came from an old Moroccan dress, the reverse of a Persian carpet, "ethnic embroideries and old photographs of Julie Christie," designer Brian Atwood told AFP.

"There is a lot of fur and fringe," he said. "This is a cool girl look and a modern collection for a modern woman who can mix it in her own personal style.

A host of big local names yet have to show their collections at Milan, the second most important event in the global fashion calendar after Paris, including Moschino, Trussardi, Fendi, Krizia and Emilio Pucci.by Abhik Kumar Chanda

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