Fashion gets a dressing down
Designers at Milan Fashion Week delivered lightweight and flowing dresses for the thrifty woman. Their timeless, always beautiful, looks should last more than a season in the age of austerity.
Sheer dresses in pastel colours dominated the 2013 spring/summer shows, which ended on Tuesday with a call for restraint on the catwalk from designer Giorgio Armani.
"Our work as designers is to suggest what people wear. What's the point of showing 30 pieces that don't go into the stores?" Armani asked reporters.
Armani stuck to an androgynous style for his collection, in which flowing trousers were cut above the ankle and masculine jackets were tailored to fit like a glove.
Trend-setter Miuccia Prada wowed her audience with a Japanese-inspired collection that confirmed the designer as one of the most independent creative minds in the industry.
Prada stitched white flowers on kimono-like dresses, and shoes were either impossibly high or replaced by leather socks.
Asked whether her bold creations were to be found in stores, Prada said everything she showed would be on sale.
Italian brands insisted on the value of craftsmanship, a quality for which Italy is famous. From Roberto Cavalli to Roccobarocco, designers elaborated embroideries difficult to copy by fast fashion chains. Gucci's creative head Frida Giannini proposed aristocratic looks in bright colours with matching shoes. Donatella Versace turned mini-dresses in lingerie pieces tie-dyed in pastel colours.
Almost every collection offered mixed lengths from mini shorts to flowing trousers in a wide appeal to differing body shapes and styles. Brands such as Gianfranco Ferre, Genny, Versace and Frankie Morello cut new shapes from trapezoidal to A-shaped dresses,
Although the clothes were linear, practical and the most dramatic catwalk excesses were toned down this season, handbags and shoes with gold and silver details stole into the limelight.