Gucci wows Milan as Hollywood hits the catwalks


Roberto Cavalli fall-winter 2008/2009 - Photo : Alessandro Garofalo/Reuters
MILAN, Feb 21, 2008 (AFP) - Oscar-level costume drama gripped Milan as Gucci unveiled a decadently opulent winter line for women and Roberto Cavalli recreated the chateau at Versailles as a backdrop for his collection.

Sardinian Antonio Marras of Kenzo meanwhile staged a stunning show-biz catwalk finale with a model sporting a cream, long-trained gown gliding midair, held by a tuxedoed man suspended on a wire.

The Clark Kent-Lois Lane end capped a Broadway-style extravaganza featuring live chamber music and earning Marras the loudest and longest ovation thus far at Milan's ongoing fashion week.

But as clothes went, the star turn was clearly Gucci's, which put out a rich Byzantine spread inspired by the 1920s Jazz Age, the brocades and tapestries of eastern Europe, the hippie years, and present day bands.

The Gucci collection was inspired by "Bohemia past and present, from the 'annees folles' to performers like The Citizens Band today," creative director Frida Giannini said.

Close-fitting boots and booties sported long fringes at the side and sphere-like gold studs, a float-away silk dress was adorned with tiger heads while a brown leather bolero was punctuated with gold disks and had full-length fur sleeves.

The over-the-top feel spilt over to dresses with bling-bling accents on shoulders and hems, tops tipped with golden epaulettes, and drop-waisted flapper dresses contemporised by bold prints.

Low-waisted pants with grosgrain or passementerie piping came with cropped jackets and soft tops with rich embroidery using gold thread, disks, shiny tassels and intricate beading.

And the house did not scrimp on fur, laying out astrakan, mink, fox and coyote in jackets and full length coats and even in a miniature treasure chest evening bag.

Cavalli, who presented his second line earlier, swung from strapless satin evening gowns with Tanagra silhouettes to delicate crinolene dresses with tiny waists and full skirts.

There were vibrant embroidered coats with strips of fur running from shoulder to waist and a sly sheer back top worked with black sequins from the waist to mimic the New York skyline.

The flamboyant designer used trompe-l'oeil murals of France's palace at Versailles along the sides of the catwalk and the backdrop on stage said "Anno 1669".

Drama permeated too at Trussardi with young designer Gaia Trussardi liberally using leather, fur, suede and shearing with embroidery and cunning little chains to evoke Tolkien fantasy and a world of dark accents.

"This is a world of a woman seeking vengeance, a woman who is like a warrior or a Gothic princess," she told AFP.

The fantastic and the dramatic were key in today's fashion world, she said.

"Earlier, shows used to just be models walking along," she said. "But shows nowadays have to make people fantasise."

Kenzo designer Marras' show ranged from gray and khaki trenches and Marlene Dietrich-style pinstripe suits topped with fedoras and petal skirts.

He liberally sprinkled patchwork and embroidery in abstract designs on lumpy dresses, redeemed by the detail to give them a red carpet allure building up to culminate in the unforgettable "Superman" finale.

by Abhik Kumar Chanda

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