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Milan Fashion Week Autumn 09

Dark colours, short hemlines and luxe fabrics infused the commercial collections in Milan with a sexy swagger

No fashion week is safe from the cloud of economic distress. But while Milan’s catwalks were rife with recession-proof commercial looks for autumn 09, a darker, more rebellious streak also permeated the Italian shows, with daring hemlines, moody palettes and a subversive sexiness infusing the smartly tailored collections.

This feminine swagger was exemplified by Gucci. Its rock ‘n’ roll-inspired collection was
strong on tailoring, with sheeny trouser suits, shrunken blazers and skinny leather
trousers. Elsewhere, the proliferation of black and inky blue suggested a more night-owl undercurrent to designer Frida Giannini’s offering.

At Versace, designer Donatella Versace fused the brand’s signature sexiness with punk references, as slashed-and-slit detail dresses in either liquid satins or curveenhancing
fabrics were sliced and repinned with safety-pin effects or left to plunge suggestively to the waist. Versace’s was the most colourful of all of the Milanese catwalks, with turquoise, lipstick red, hot pink and silver all taking their turn.

Prada traded spring’s goth feminine lace for a tougher, more structured autumn look.
Belted leathers and boiled wool threequarter length coats sat stiffly on the body,
and medieval slashed effects on leather dresses further nodded towards a harsher aesthetic, but their juxtaposition with louche velvet dresses made for a slightly confusing mix.

The penchant for ultra-luxe fabrics already spotted during this season’s fashion weeks was in evidence again in Milan, where fur, leather and velvet took centre stage. Surface texture remained important, with encrusted sequins, silver beading and feathers adding interest.

Knitwear was more textural than in past seasons, with Pringle’s cable styles providing
a tonal patchwork effect, while looped tassels veered from oversized on slouchy cardigans to micro versions on metallic shift dresses, helping to create extra volume.

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