Gucci

Frida Giannini cited art deco, Louise Brooks, Nancy Cunard, William Van Alen's Chrysler building and Blade Runner as the primary influences on her Spring collection. But we had another one to add to the mix: the gilded days of Dynasty. Though the shoulders had nothing on Joan Collins, the stiff, metallic jacquard cropped jackets in green, gold and black, the gold buttons, the gold chains and the black pleat-front pants were unmistakable throwbacks to 1980s power dressing. Giannini's proposal for evening did have something of a deco influence, with hard metal embroidery on drop-waist dresses that gave off a million watt shine, but this was fashion not art.

Gucci


Gucci

Gucci

Gucci

Max Mara

There was a lot to like in Max Mara's sporty, sleek Spring collection but the models's Rastafarian hair, which dangled like golden dreadlocks down their backs, was definitely a highlight. Also noteworthy were the blouson jackets - a 1980s relic perfectly updated with draped backs and cinched waists. Pants were either super fluid or skin tight, such as the cropped capri long underwear version. The latter peeked out from metal-stitched dresses fashioned from a patchworked mix of double faced fabrics, techno cottons and paper thin leathers

Max Mara

Max Mara

Max Mara

Max Mara

Fendi

Backstage, Karl Lagerfeld said 'the Milanese Woman out of no particular period' was his inspiration for the Fendi show. But there was much more than a 'donna perbene' floating about the runway. This was a show about featherweight fabrics treated in a deceptively complex way. What looked like candy stripes on cotton poplin dresses and airy skirts, for example, was actually sliver-like strips of paper-thin leather. Just as innovative were the weightless sleeveless coats made from mink intarsia and strips of fox to appear like peacock feathers. Meanwhile, pastel tinted frameless shades and tin foil eyeshadow gave these Milanese ladies an otherworldly air

Fendi

Fendi

Fendi

Fendi

Prada

Can you imagine Miuccia Prada in her knee-length pleat skirt sliding into the bucket seat of a hot rod? The thought did come to mind at last night's Prada show, where a wonderful mash-up of 1950s cartoon print cotton shirts, prim plisse skirts and boxy jackets played fashion chicken with bad-boy flames, airbrushed car prints and fireball winged shoes. The dichotomy between the perfect lady and her naughty alter ego was coolly expressed with 1950s bathing suits, bandeau tops worn with curvy pencil skirts and plenty of swiss lace mixed with all the hot flame graphics. It was all very Mrs Prada - that is, if she happened to have recently purchased a purring Corvette

Prada

Prada

Prada

Prada

Versace

Versace's bedazzled glamazons of yore were pulled out of the closet and dusted off for a brand new runway outing this season.  All of the signature accoutrements of Gianni Versace's own golden age were on display, from the molded bustier bras and leather bondage straps, to white leather biker jackets and sassy mini toga dresses.  Miles of gold studding - from a micro glitter version all the way to have heavy metal rock version - brought out the glitz factor and gave Versace a much needed kick in the hot pants

Versace

Versace

Versace

Versace

Trussardi

Umit Benan's debut as the womenswear creative director at Trussardi could not have occurred at a more auspicious moment. The brand just so happens to be celebrating its 100th birthday - not the sort of thing that could be easily swept under the carpet. Rising to the challenge, the Turkish-born Milan-based designer proved he's not only got the confidence and a sure enough hand to give this venerable leather goods house a style shakeup, but can do it elegantly enough for a major exhibition like last night's at Castello Sforzesco. Benan's background is razor sharp men's tailoring, a skill he wove nicely into the breezy, air-blown women's looks. The trousers and jackets all had plenty of volume but were crisply tailored, while each model was accessorised to the max with Trussardi's famous leather goods: from hard case luggage to weekenders, clutches and backpacks

Trussardi

Trussardi

Trussardi

Bottega Veneta

Bottega Veneta

Bottega Veneta

Bottega Veneta

Bottega Veneta

Emporio Armani

The bold black outlines that Giorgio Armani used in his Emporio Armani show gave the impression of a book of fashion sketches coming alive. Indeed, the thin black borders that traced everything, from skirt and dress hems down to the wedges on his new monster sandals, all had a hand-drawn, almost squiggly quality to them. The same artsy approach was taken on Mr. Armani's dressier segment where the flipped hems of sequinned dresses appeared to have been inserted with a curved hula-hoop. It was all good, light fashion fun, just like the straw panama hats lined with thick black ribbon stripe.  The compressed alligator bags, meanwhile, elevated the show to a more luxe level

Emporio Armani

Emporio Armani

Emporio Armani

Emporio Armani

Sportmax

Sportmax said it could have titled its spring collection 'Reflections on the Water'  and we're not exactly sure why they didn't. This was a runway dedicated to all forms of shimmering, iridescent materials, from the glimmering pointy-toed stiletto shoes and oil slick trousers and dresses, to the metallic inner flaps of trench-coats. The challenge with iridescent fabrics is how not to make clothes that look like disco balls. Sportmax overcame this hurdle by layering in plenty of menswear staples, like cotton shirts and pocket details, and mixing in stiffened pastel cotton pieces, scuba belts and a great floral print which looked best as a two-piece sleeveless top and Bermuda shorts combo in featherweight fabric

Sportmax

Sportmax

Sportmax

Sportmax

Jil Sander

'The Picasso foundation was quite pleased, actually. Normally they get requests for beer cans.' So explained Raf Simons backstage at Jil Sander, on how he got  the rights to the black and white Picasso imagery he used for his Spring runway show. By the look of this smash hit collection, the foundation should be doing backflips. Simons started with long, lean silhouettes cut to the knee and below with plenty of ladylike references, from the 1950s veiled hats created by Stephen Jones to the prim hard case purses and giant rhinestone clips on earrings. The hair was straight out of Doris Day's rule book, while the cut of many of the full skirts and dresses had a distinctly debutant feel. But, as is Simon's increasingly deft way, none of these retro nods felt forced or clichéd. Indeed, his gauzy layers of cotton (inspired by unlimited variations on the man's shirt), the supremely minimal take on paisley (stencilled into an artsy reduction) and jazzy bolts of color kept this collection in the winner's circle 

Jil Sander

Jil Sander

Jil Sander

Jil Sander

Pucci

A sexy bohemian rhapsody - what could be better for springtime at Pucci? Designer Peter Dundas spends most of his summer days on a beach in Naxos so it's not surprising that he deftly dreamt up many pieces perfectly suited to glamorous seaside frolicking, from full length black net 'cover-ups' that doubled as evening dresses to kaftan-esque full-length print chiffon dresses. The latest news, however, came in the form of evening wear, where a lantern-sleeved cropped top was paired either with a matching puff skirt or slinky column.  They were divinely delicious, as were the very fresh printed blouses crusted with blingy jewels

Pucci

Pucci

Pucci

Pucci

Marni

A captivating layer story emerged at Marni's spring show, where sheaths of nude tulle provided a calming foil for the season's zany colours and prints. Designer Consuelo Castiglioni started slowly, using bright solids like lemon yellow and baby blue, then quickly amped things up to a rocking multicoloured daisy print and magnificent Christmas tinsel-covered floral brocade. The shapes were all retro: trapeze dresses, A-line skirts, ladylike waists. But the prim aspects of the 1960s contrasted with that era's subversive tendencies, which Castiglioni interpreted in a contemporary way. Enormous door-knocker earrings, pantyhose socks, two-toned brogue heels and collaged leather all brought the collection a present-day edge

Marni

Marni

Missoni

Fashion's school of minimalism has no professors at the House of Missoni, where the mantra 'more is more' builds with more urgency each season. Creative director Angela Missoni let things rip with as much gusto as last fall's pastel festival, but this time she worked a bolder colour palette, asymmetrical lines and plenty of frills and ruffles into her magical knits. The pattern was as zany as ever: stripes, zebra, patchwork. But this time it was overlaid with mountains of gold charm jewellery and curtains of coloured fringe, which gave the proceedings a certain Spanish flair. One could not have asked for a more excessive display of patterned knitwear. But at this venerable Italian house, isn't that the point?

Missoni

Missoni

Missoni

Salvatore Ferragamo

In his spring-summer collection for Ferragamo, Massimiliano Giornetti floored his fashion engine right to the very moment when the languid 1970s met the garish 1980s. His ode to that very specific slice in time was so literal that it's possible some items were pulled straight out of Joan Collins's own closet. We're talking, of course, about the draped-front, thigh-slit skirts; the heavily patterned strapless dresses, ruched at the bodice; and the abundance of see-me trouser suits in grape or cherry satin, paired with sequinned tops. Giornetti's go-to print was, naturally, a jungle variety, where tigers and leopards peeked out from palm fronds in an extraordinarily over-the-top palette of shrieking purple, orange and magenta

Salvatore Ferragamo

Salvatore Ferragamo

Salvatore Ferragamo

Salvatore Ferragamo

Versus

From the front of the runway, where pastel-coloured foul lines were drawn on a gymnasium floor, we should've been able to infer what was going on backstage at Palazzo Versace for Christopher Kane's Versus show: back to high school! Yet done in Kane's hand, something as silly as a cheerleader's skirt became an opportunity for something major – like the slashed-up panels of his miniskirts and dresses, which flapped to reveal their black undersides. Kane worked a few intriguing prints onto his short, lean silhouettes, including one whose sharp peaks and valleys recalled the contours made by a heart monitor

Versus

Versus

Versus

Versus

Giorgio Armani

With the amount of time Giorgio Armani spends on the Mediterranean, either camped out in his complex in Pantelleria or stationed aboard his megayacht, it's no wonder those emerald waters have seeped into his fashion pysche. The spring collection he delivered was dominated by fluid satins and glossy silks that skimmed the body like a second skin. The shimmer of the fabric recalled moonlight skipping across the sea, and delicate embroidery made the models look like glistening water babies. Best of all was the finale: a trio of mermaid-esque models in beautiful, strapless, iridescent-crystal columns

Giorgio Armani

Giorgio Armani

Giorgio Armani

Giorgio Armani

Gucci

Frida Giannini cited art deco, Louise Brooks, Nancy Cunard, William Van Alen's Chrysler building and Blade Runner as the primary influences on her Spring collection. But we had another one to add to the mix: the gilded days of Dynasty. Though the shoulders had nothing on Joan Collins, the stiff, metallic jacquard cropped jackets in green, gold and black, the gold buttons, the gold chains and the black pleat-front pants were unmistakable throwbacks to 1980s power dressing. Giannini's proposal for evening did have something of a deco influence, with hard metal embroidery on drop-waist dresses that gave off a million watt shine, but this was fashion not art.


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