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Milan Fashion Week: Gucci extends news cycle with Rocket Man

Associated Press

Green has been declared the color of Milan Fashion Week, with the fashion chamber promoting sustainability in the trend-driven world of ready-to-wear.

Eleven awards will be handed out Sunday evening to honor Italian designers, fashion houses and suppliers that "champion community and social justice, traditional craftsmanship, responsible supply chain management and innovation and technological transformation."

Milan Fashion Week previews for womenswear looks for next spring and summer, the highlight of the annual fashion calendar, feature 159 collections. The weeklong fashion celebration kicked off with Gucci, No. 21 and Fausto Puglisi.

Some highlights from Wednesday's shows:

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GREEN FASHION AWARDS

Livia Firth, the wife of actor Colin Firth, is presiding over the first Green Fashion Awards, fittingly dubbed the Fashion Oscars, later in the week at the La Scala opera house. Asked what consumers can do to promote sustainability in fashion, she candidly said: "Buy less," short for eschew fast-fashion for quality.

Fashion Chamber president Carlo Capasa has been promoting sustainability, urging fashion houses to adopt a code that addresses such issues as water use and green investments.

He acknowledged that the industry in general is "not at all" sustainable at the moment. "That is why we are promoting this," he said.

The uphill image battle was evident at a protest outside the city's main Duomo Cathedral, where animal rights activists demonstrated against the use of animal fur in Milan collections.

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GUCCI'S ROCKET MAN

In a news cycle dominated by U.S. President Donald Trump's threats against North Korea and references to its leader as "Rocket Man," it was certainly prescient that Alessandro Michele not only included a suit fitting of a rocket man for his latest Gucci collection but dedicated a capsule collection to Elton John, whose hits include the pop song of the same name.

For the rocket man, there were oversized teardrop-shaped shoulders on a pink jumpsuit with yellow stars.

Since his Gucci solo debut in 2015, Michele has maintained a profile as the Milan fashion world's darling and innovator. The brand's towering CEO Marco Bizzarri said backstage that "Alessandro has the capacity to evolve while always maintaining a very clear line."

"There is a lot of joy. A lot of energy. That is the best part," he said.

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MICHELE'S 'DISSENTING SPIRIT'

Michele's collections have had in common a growing element of self-consciousness. The designer inserts alienating elements in the same way that the German poet and playwright Bertolt Brecht sought to remind audiences that they were witnessing a stage production and not be swept away by fantasy.

Judging by the crowd in attendance, the philosophy is winning not just fans but adherents. One male fashionista wore a golden mask echoing a previous season's masked alien.

The collection, combining both men's and women's looks, was shown under strobe lights and amid copies of classic statuary including from ancient Egypt, the Mayans and the Greeks. Michele says he wanted to underline that his view of the contemporary derives from myriad stories of the past.

The strobe lights helped narrowed the focus to shapes and sparkles: A disco-inspired handkerchief skirt with a golden and silvery sequin top, and red-white-and-blue satiny jumpsuit that could help power an Evel Knievel-wannabe

It's a collection, as the notes assert, for "the dissenting spirit."

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