MILAN (AFP) ― Fearless musketeers and seductive water nymphs sashayed down the catwalk at the Gucci show on Wednesday, kicking off Milan Fashion Week with a stunning array of velvet capes and see-through dresses.
“This is modern-day romanticism. A dramatic sensuality, a dark glamour. With subtle tones of provocative intellect,” designer Frida Giannini said.
And dark it was: models wearing a deep plum lipstick that was almost black stalked down the runway to pulsating beats, shooting looks to kill, in black leather capes and dresses in exotic animal prints and dark feathers.
The show opened with military-style jackets and equestrian-inspired trousers worn with flat riding boots and a bag closed with a stirrup clasp, before moving on to fur coats, mink-and-chiffon numbers and splendid flowing capes.
A model wears a creation part of the Gucci women’s Fall-Winter 2012-2013 collection that was presented in Milan,Feb. 22, 2012.(AP-Yonhap News)
Bejewelled tassels and large bows hung from the neckline and waists of soft printed silk and velvet playsuits reminiscent of pyjamas and cut in masculine lines, as Gucci moved from “fearless femininity” to “dandy indulgence”.
The tone changed as Giannini unveiled her evening wear, with a stream of long flowing dresses in see-through wrinkled tulle and adorned with patches of tapestry and floral prints in black, forest green and plum.
A three-piece collection in blue and green feathers ― a dress, skirt and jacket ― sparked applause from front-row critics and the soft saddlebags in black crocodile looked like they would be a fast favourite.
Dark feathers and tulle were central themes in Alberta Ferretti’s show later on Wednesday, but they took a far subtler tone, and were gently scattered on top of black mesh tops or whisped out from skirts.
Like Giannini’s seductresses, Ferretti’s collection mixed power with romance by inserting leather panels into a velvet coat, pairing pinstripes with delicate heels or stitching wool inserts onto a luxurious fur body warmer.
Models floated down the runway to haunting music in blue and red gowns that swept the floor, decorated with light panelling in velvet, and with the arms, neck or back exposed, or with sheer, see-through material across the chest.
“It is the stuff of fairy tales. The collection is elegant and graceful, but also very strong and chic. I love doing this show!” Tanya, a 20-year-old Belarussian model who has been modelling for Ferretti for six years, said backstage.
The collection was predominantly black, setting off the few vibrant monochrome pieces which stunned the crowd. There were murmurs of appreciation for an electric blue knee-length coat, tied in with a belt at the waist.
A sleeveless version in purple followed, worn with black leather gloves up to the shoulder. A white suit was set off with a clutch bag with a gold chain, while a black leather skirt was paired with a crocodile handbag.
Despite similarities in concepts and some of the materials, Ferretti’s creations were much more structured than Giannini’s, with crafted necklines or bodices worn above skirts that had a hint of a bell structure.
The highlight had to be the last evening dress to emerge ― a sleeveless white dress with a shell-like structured bodice and layers of silky material draped over themselves in the full-bodied skirt, which trailed out behind.
Gucci and Ferretti kicked off the autumn-winter 2012 collections which will see 72 Italian and international brands take to the runways in a week of dazzling shows and parties attended by the elite of the fashion world.