Younger designers excite Milan fashion

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Younger designers excite Milan fashion

MILAN - The Milan masters displayed their customary discipline, but it was the fresh perspectives of up-and-coming young designers that energized this round of Milan Fashion Week: Uma Wang’s hauntingly fresh looks, Fausto Puglisi’s vibrant edgy couture and Marco de Vincenzo’s romantic optical illusions.

Milan designers - fierce defenders of their own creative independence - are finding common cause in backing newcomers: Fresh energy is also good for the collective. Giorgio Armani lent his space to Italian-Haitian designer Stella Jean and Dolce&Gabbana have given retail exposure to Puglisi, who hails from their beloved Sicily.

“It’s the week of youth,” Milan Fashion Chamber President Mario Boselli said ahead of Wang’s show Monday, the last day of Milan Fashion Week. “Youth brings a certain energy.”

Milan may have made its name with body-hugging tailoring, but the main design language this round was more relaxed, about draping the body in soft materials that subtly reveal the shape.

Despite the predominance of the brassiere top, these were not vamped-up collections. It came in studded leather, ironic pop-art cartoon renderings or luxurious python bandeaus, which were almost always veiled beneath sheer fabrics or worn beneath peek-a-boo tops that stood away from the body. A belt often defined the silhouette.

Silky chiffon and organza shimmered with metallic accents in Milan, often woven into the materials to create the effect of the summer sun reflecting off the water. The softness was also expressed through next season’s palette of bleached pastels. Black, white and bold jewel tones also made appearances for contrast.

The fashion in Milan this season was very much a battle between minimalists and non-minimalists. While some designers hued to the clean lines, many employed ruffles, bustles and pleats for flair. And there was no shortage of sequins, beads or metallic studs.

Even the most feminine collections had sporty references: athletic stripes, visors, tube socks, jogging shorts, tank tops and trekking shoes. The 1950s swimsuit, ostensibly modest, left the poolside and headed for the street.

After several seasons of high-rise footwear, shoes came down to Earth. Most of the looks were sandals, and elaborately decorated trekking styles were also a favorite.

Bags - bread-and-butter items for most of these fashion houses - came in every shape and size, although the fold-over purse was a favorite. AP
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