MILAN -- Milan Fashion Week took a formal turn on the third day of previews for next fall and winter.
Mindful of the price point, designers were not churning out looks that could be tossed into a suitcase for a fanciful journey, but rather pieces that could hang in the closet for years to come, even left alone for a period only to re-emerge as relevant as the day they were purchased.
The old debate continued about whether to get items to the store quickly to satisfy the consumer accustomed to instant gratification. But while some designers were quick to get out capsule collections, from Moschino to Ermanno Scervino, the overriding Milan mindset retained its commitment to luxury craftsmanship and materials, which cannot be rushed.
Some highlights from Saturday's shows, including Bottega Veneta, Missoni, Scervino and Jil Sander.
HOLLYWOOD'S GOLDEN ERA AT BOTTEGA VENETA
Bottega Veneta's looks for next season exuded a 1940s Hollywood glamour, with a strictly formal collection for men and women.
The female silhouette befitted any Hollywood diva: broad shoulders, rounded hips and tailored at the waist with long continuous lines. Creative director Tomas Maier said the shape conveys "the pencil mark on a sketch."
Sweeping metallic-thread evening dresses created a liquid effect and had distinctive detailing, with one tying demurely on the derriere. Riding trousers were the staple for daywear, worn with tucked-sweaters and knee-high boots. Contemporary touches included multi-directional pleats on the daytime dresses - a technique achieved with a mostly polyester base to keep the shape - and a disciplined deployment of sequins and elegant studs. Big furry coats were from goats, a purposefully sustainable choice.
Glamorous accessories finished the looks: sheer black hose with polka dots, suede and nappa wedge footwear and crystal combs sweeping the hair into place. Colors included bright ochre and tangerine for the day and ice blue and desert rose for the evening.
Bottega Veneta's menswear also started with formal wear, with both smoking jackets that nipped in the waist and bombers paired with bow ties. Maier said the two clothing lines were conceived together, sharing materials and ideas.
DESIGNING FOR A WORLD OF WOMEN
Despite the collection's strong point of view on Saturday, Bottega Veneta's creative director, Tomas Maier, said he had no specific muse in mind.
"I never think about one single woman. I grew up in a home with a lot of women, a lot of sisters, my mother and aunts. Everyone very different, everyone with their own personality and their own problems," Maier said backstage. "That really took me off the road of having a dream woman."
Instead, he deliberately seeks to create looks that work for women of different shapes, skin tones and hair colors.
"It is on our minds at all times," he said.
BIRD OF PARADISE FOR VIONNET
The French brand Vionnet made its Milan runway debut Friday evening in the 15th-century Casa degli Atellani palace, recreating a salon atmosphere amid carved wooden panels and centuries-old frescoes.
"We are Made-in-Italy, and this is why we are here in Milan today," said creative director Goga Ashkenazi, who took over the historic brand in 2012. "There may be a time when we go back to Paris, but for us, it is the same. We feel very at home here."
The collection was inspired by the exotic bird-of-paradise, which Ashkenazi compared to "women of modernity" like Yoko Ono and Imam.
"They belong to the world, and they are amazingly self-confident, each one a character," she said.
Avian references appeared in encyclopedic prints on silken fabrics, while the bird-of-paradise's colorful plumage also inspired flashes of colors, including turquoise, green and pinks, which contrasted with taupe and black.
Ashkenazi captured the fluidity of the brand founded in 1912 with light chiffon and crepe de chine silks that conveyed classical Greco-Roman styles. But she kept it modern with contrasting bias-cut denim, including flowing bell bottoms, and twists on dresses that had an industrial touch, inspired by the drill. Even the shearlings hung on the body in a fluid manner.
"That was the intention, the break in styles," she said. "We are respecting our beautiful history of course, but we are giving it a twist."
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