Prada, Moschino and Etro show winter 2012-2013 collections

ANSA, Saturday 25 Feb 2012

Milan, the centre of the influential Italian fashion world, shows off its local talent: Prada Moschino and Etro

Milan Fashion Week February 23 Reuters Stefano Rellandini

Milan, February 24 - Prada is covering up next winter - except for a few bare-midriffs and sleeveless combinations. After the last collection's hotrod-inspired, feminine, sexy cheer, the new collection, which showed Thursday at Milan Fashion Week, swung to another extreme.

Models looked a little ghoulish, with deep, black shadow engulfing their eyes, their brows powdered gold, and queerly-coloured extensions attached to their hair. The colour black, with giant appliqued jewels, dominated the much of the collection, while dizzying, clashing geometric patterns were deployed across the rest. Designer Miuccia Prada donned all models in long trousers ending above the ankle, and then layered jackets, long skirts or dresses and long wool coats over those. Some pants suits looked rather 1960's, especially with high-waisted jackets and colourful centre clasps. But most ensembles seemed like a cold-weather, European riff on dress-and-pants combos of the Indian salwar kameez, though a few bared midriffs or arms. Two buttoned waistlines and vertically arranged chunky jewel applique' echoed the decorative motifs from early last century. But shiny stones also made their way onto pant cuffs and even shoes, which were high-heeled Mary Janes partially covered in coloured rubber. The bright rubber overshoes even looked practical for braving ill weather in spike heels.

Moschino showed a sexy winter collection that juxtaposed tomboy and young-lady looks. Models topped in cowboy hats were decked in form-fitting skinny pants and toy-uniform-inspired jackets, while ladies in brightly coloured monochrome dress suits, cut above the knee, sported bouffant hair wrapped in big side bows.

The black cowboy hat was paired with dresses and skirts, too - of the bad-girl ilk - like black minis with gold side buttons or quilted black leather, a red mini-skirt suit with a multitude of zippers, and a skirt with Mondrian-like graphics. Skinny pants were tricoloured - red shin, white knees and black thighs and hips, for example. Colour combinations changed while the cut, for the most part, did not.

Exceptions were tight, black skinny pants in leather or stretch material.

Jackets and tops gave off a whiff of French officer, a dash of toreador, a bit of biker gang or something of a gunslinger.

Even with a black mink jacket, a pinch of bad girl spiced up looks with skinny pants.

In lady-like mode, hemlines for dresses and skirts all fell to mid-thigh. After a series of little wool suits and dresses - in yellow, red, black, cream and blue - a sapphire satin party dress with cap sleeves and blue ostrich-feather skirt broke a new leitmotif. A quilted blue satin dress with a regal, double-breasted cape followed, and a quilted black satin dress with gold and pearl military buttons and black flounce skirt.

Black and cream were combined in graphically complimentary ways, like a cream A-line minidress with black trim and gold buttons, or the cream-and-black-striped suit with pleated miniskirt. Turning back to evening, a confection of pink satin flounce and bows, and a flounce-trimmed black satin cape with gold and pearl military buttons paired with black mink bonnet turned channeled porcelain dolls into seductive flesh and blood.

Shoes were black patent leather or suede, platform ankle boots or Mary Janes, all with gold buttons punctuating the side.

Later on Friday Etro kept up yin and yang themes with looks befitting a gentlewoman or a curvy seductress with a collection entitled "Lady Paisley."

Etro's is known for paisley, of course, which designer Veronica Etro renewed with oversized dimensions and surprising applications, like the heart-shaped curve of single paisleys used to emphasize hips, or in a black velvet burnout pattern that made for a sizzling evening gown. The first model to hit the catwalk wore an hourglass-shaped tweed jacket topped with a lady-like grey astrakhan capelet. Paisley leggings were cut so long they draped over the arch of the foot.

Form-fitting, printed knit dresses with body-flattering, contrasting cutouts followed. Leather peplum belts accented hips, and one corset peplum belt reached up far enough to cup the breasts. Etro stuck to a classic autumnal palette.

Genteel, masculine undertones played through full-skirted, sharp-shouldered coats; a black pants suit with diamond-patterned deep-red smoking jacket; a brown pinstripe suit with criss-crossed foulard and boxy salmon overcoat. Evening looks were all about seduction, with body-hugging mermaid dresses that were as sophisticated and subtle as they were sexy.

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