updated 4 Mar 2011, 17:48
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Milan fashion tiptoes into future
by Antonella Ciancio

MILAN - Waterproof rubber coats, Plexiglas heels and metallic embroidery took Milan fashion week into futuristic territory as designers get bold in the wake of the global luxury rebound.

Catwalk bigs Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo, Dolce & Gabbana and Roberto Cavalli reinvented 1970s and 80s archives for women interested in changing their look without forsaking tradition.

"We wanted to push the boundaries, to experiment with technique and craftsmanship to an extreme degree," Bottega Veneta's Creative Director Tomas Maier said in a statement.

Maier used fuzzy woven wool, waxed leather and hand-painted python for a minimalist, refined silhouette.

Waterproof coats in double-rubberised nubuk with cashmere details and sweaters in spandex were the highlights of Anna Molinari's Blumarine collection, which invited "chic women to embrace change."

Where textures dared, some lines showed restraint, with trendsetter Miuccia Prada dressing schoolgirls.

Prada, planning to strut its stuff on the Hong Kong stock exchange this year, created mermaid-like dresses covered with oversized plastic petals.

Giorgio Armani mixed classic with new, proposing long skirts with a wide harmonic hem and trousers cut off at the ankle. His peep toe shoes had shaped Plexiglas heels.

Designer Frida Giannini wanted a dandy lady for Gucci, with'70s-inspired extra-wide trousers and pant-skirts.

Masculine versus feminine was the leitmotiv at Dolce & Gabbana, where slim-cut tailored jackets were worn with lower-rise, calf-length pants in a tribute to the 1980s.


Going over similar territory, Ferragamo's designer Massimiliano Giornetti showed masculine trenches with large shoulders and jackets in Prince of Wales and pinstripe patterns.

Metallic embroidery was key at Roberto Cavalli, who sculpted"armors of light" for his precious collection.

"My woman for next winter could become the ideal host who accompanies us on a shuttle," Cavalli said in a statement.

For the evening, crystals and embroidery magnificently worked shone on Milan catwalks, from Ferre to Versace.

The glitz sparked mixed reactions among bloggers.

"My Chinese friends say the last thing they want to wear is a swarovski-studded, sable-trimmed, beaded, embroidered cheong sam etc," fashion blogger Bryan Boy said on Twitter.

Accessories included platform-free shoes with high heels, socks-like knee-high boots and clutches with shoulder straps.

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