Milan fashion meets global crises with lightness

Associated Press

The Milan fashion world is responding to global crises with transparency and lightness.

Designers are choosing diaphanous textiles to create airy looks, often layering sheer trench coats and anoraks over form-fitting knit dresses or jumpsuits for contrast. It's about comfort, being nimble and joyous in times of uncertainty.

Milan Fashion Week womenswear previews for next spring and summer continued for the second day on Thursday with shows by Fendi, Max Mara, Prada and Moschino. Here are some highlights:

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PRADA REVOLT

Miuccia Prada wants to inspire, if not incite, women to claim their own power. Her medium is, of course, clothing.

Backstage, the designer said her message is "for women to be strong, because there is still so much against us. And so we need a lot of cleverness, intelligence and strength."

Her collection was literally drawn on a white canvass on which she constructed the new manifesto, inspired by female graphic artists from the 1940s and 1960s who helped the designer realize "that through these comics, who can tell in a light way so much more than if you are serious."

On these white garments, she printed panels comics by and about women, just one of the devices she used to recall and provoke female action.

An overcoat is a reconstructed men's overcoat, worn backward, with a new opening up front. It is hers now. She dresses in no-nonsense black trousers and a blue-and-white striped shirt, then, claiming her femininity, her childhood sense of freedom, she wears over it a brocade dress or bustier.

Jacket panels were covered with studs, her toughness. Or with pins, her memories. Or with animal prints, her rebellion.

She's a rebel, she's a punk, she's a rocker, she's a campfire girl, and her wardrobe represents a collage of her life. She is writing her own story.

Prada acknowledges a sense of anger underlining the collection.

"I feel we really should start combatting. I am really encouraging strength. Particularly now."

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INNOCENCE LOST AT MOSCHINO

It all ended in a floral flourish. Jeremy Scott's latest collection for Moschino celebrated the confluence of strength and femininity, mixing biker elements with dancer's tutus, studs contrasting with ostrich feathers.

The tone changed and there was a literal deflowering as a model attired as a tulip let her petals flutter into the fashion crowd. And so followed a bouquet of looks inspired by flowers, from an orchid to a floral bouquet to a bunch of roses.

The collection also included a capsule collection available immediately featuring "My Little Pony," including a jersey and lurex bomber, a biker bag, backpack and T-shirts decorated with bows, stars, rainbows and butterflies.

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FENDI FUTURISM

Backgammon in the tropics anyone? Karl Lagerfeld's Fendi collection proposes futuristic looks with nods to yesteryear.

Plaids and skewed stripes give the collection an underlying order and discipline that also was reflected in the disciplined shoulders and cinched waistlines.

Shoulders often were left bare, courtesy of peek-a-boo cut-outs and asymmetrical ruching. Men's bowling shirts and rugby polos inspired sheer tops that tucked prettily into diaphanous skirts.

"It is a very light collection, with an airy breeze that goes through the clothes," the brand's creative director, Silvia Venturini Fendi, said backstage.

Seafoam green, coral and sand dominated the color palette, "the colors of summer landscape," Fendi said.

Pretty detailing — tropical leaf cutouts and trailing grosgrain ribbons on hemlines and necklines adorned several designs. Materials included light cotton, nylon and netting, along with leather and the fashion house's trademark fur, some bearing the double F logo.

The celebrity model trio of Gigi Hadid, sister Bella Hadid, and Kendall Jenner took turns on the Fendi runway. Gigi indulged fashion fans backstage with a few selfies as she left wearing a hot-pink plaid suit and wire frame sunglasses.

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MAX MARA EVOLUTION

Max Mara designs were an evolution of the brand's trademark monochromes, logo plays and garden florals in pretty silhouette-revealing shapes.

The light-and-airy complemented the form-fitting, as in the sheer trench worn belted over a tight, ribbed knit dress. Creative director Ian Griffiths took a step toward deconstruction, cuffing slim dress trousers to the knee. Longer skirts featured trailing strips of cloth that resembled pleats freed from their usual geometry.

The collection segued into a new Max Mara logo spelling out the brand in floating letters and then into florals shown on suit, skirt and trench combos and long billowing dresses worn over trousers.

The shoe of choice is a T-shaped high-heeled sandal, often in matching prints and shades. Bags were worn strapped on the back, with the reverse fanny-pack a definite trend.

As with last season's show, Max Mara featured model Halima Aden wearing a Muslim hijab, part of the fashion world's embrace of inclusivity and the Mideast market.

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