Sicilian fairy tale, nomadic spirit infuse Milan


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MILAN (AP) - Hilary Swank, Eva Herzigova and Monica Bellucci gave Milan Fashion Week a burst of star power on Sunday, the fifth day of Milan Fashion Week that featured womenswear previews for next fall and winter by Dolce&Gabbana, Missoni, Marni and Ferragamo. And one young designer found his pot of gold.

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ENCHANTED SICILY

Romance flourishes in Dolce&Gabbana's Sicilian fairy tale, inhabited, according to the designers' fanciful notes, by elves, fireflies, fairies and knights.

Never has little Red Riding Hood been so fashionable, in a luxurious red fur with matching hood, and then a romantically flowing sheer red organza dress in a floral print, worn with a pointed red hood with black undertones.

And who better than Domenco Dolce and Stefano Gabbana to design the perfect wench dress, a sheer number that wraps fetchingly around the curves with snug lace-up bodice, in burgundy, green and crimson.

The duo also sent some relatively unadorned outfits down the runway, emphasizing the tailoring of the underlying collection without the distraction of appliques and accents.

Their final flourish: a battalion of models dressed in bejeweled and sequined mini-dresses, at times with crocheted and sequined helms _ perfect for a "k-night" out.

Eva Herzigova and Monica Bellucci were on hand for the fairy tale collection, set in a magical forest of knotty olive trees.

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MISSONI PASTELS

The Missoni woman is free and relaxed, comfortable enough to wear oversized men's jackets over soft, form-fitting dresses, easy sportswear or swinging skirt.

The collection is for "a free-spirited woman," designer Angela Missoni said. She wants to be comfortable with masculine outerwear like parkas, a hunting jacket or gilet, but the "the silhouette underneath is close to the body," Missoni said.

The knit-work was bold and graphic, rather than the traditional tight Missoni zigzag, and the colors were soothing pastels contrasted by flashes of turquoise, mustard and orange. Colored booties, and sometimes berets with a crochet lining, finished the looks.

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A FAMILY AFFAIR

Rosita Missoni watched her daughter Angela's creations from a bench near the runway entrance accompanied by her grandchildren. She said she felt "the pride of having created a business, a job, which my children enjoy to continue. I think this is a privilege."

The presence of three Missoni generations was a touching show of familial strength, following the death of CEO Vittorio Missoni, Angela's brother, in a plane crash in January 2013 followed four months later by the death of family patriarch and company co-founder Ottavio Missoni at age of 92.(backslash)

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SWANKY FERRAGAMO

The Salvatore Ferragamo silhouette for next winter is graceful and gamine, like the smoky plaid cape coat with a funnel collar, elegantly playful, as in the black dress that rips into ribbons, and alluring, a wet-look ribbed turtleneck with long pleated skirt. Sensual and feminine, there are no pants.

Hemlines fall to the knees and below, and the look are finished with talk boots and high crocodile leather heeled shoes. Handbags have metallic handles.

Hilary Swank sat smiling in the front row during the show, wearing a clingy ivory satin gown that wraps to a buckle at the waist and cascades to partial pleats.

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FLORENTINE HOPES

Infrastructure improvements _ that's what Salvatore Ferragamo CEO Michele Norsa said he'd like to see from the new Italian government of Matteo Renzi. And more foreign trade missions to promote Italian fashion.

"A new airport in Florence could change the history of the city, its potential," Norsa told reporters before the Ferragamo fashion preview. No telling if the fact that Renzi was Florence mayor until becoming premier will help Norsa's cause.

Norsa said adding new airlines to Florence, where Ferragamo is based, `'would have an immediate effect" and that he'd like to see improvements to the general infrastructure in Italy.

Trade missions, he said, are also `'fundamental for our sector, and also for the country." Rapid changes in governments in recent years have led to a lack of continuity.

Norsa said he has met and "appreciates" Renzi. `'We all hope he has a long term and can do what is important for our sector," Norsa said.

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POT OF GOLD

Milan designer Marco de Vincenzo's new looks culminated with pretty cocktail and day dresses in a copper rainbow effect.

The designer already found the pot of gold: French conglomerate LVMH confirmed to Women's Wear Daily before the runway show Sunday that it is making "a significant" investment in the brand.

Turns out industry insiders have known for months about the deal, which was thanks in some part to de Vincenzo's relationship with Silvia Venturini Fendi, whose fashion house already falls under LVMH.

De Vincenzo, 35, designed accessories at Fendi right out of fashion school, and launched his own line in Paris before moving to Milan in 2009 _ when he won Italian Vogue's emerging designer award.

De Vincenzo's autumn-winter collection is a feat of optical illusions fused with inventive classic styles. The looks include leather coats with concentric strips of waving colors, plaid skirts with pleats that reveal a rainbow of contrasting metallic shades and multi-color dresses with wavy micro-pleats. The palate was neutrals in black, camel and grays, lit by flashes of "metallic strawberry, electric blue and bronze."

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TRIBAL AESTHETIC

The Nomad spirit has seized Marni: Feathers festoon wool coats and skirt fronts, and some dresses have an exotic grass skirt effect.

The underlying architecture of the looks is pure Marni: ample cuts, ruffles, sloping sleeves, long hemlines and roomy trousers. And there are the classic Marini florals and patterns. In this collection for next fall and winter, the patterns are taken from German artist Mangus Plessen's works, part of Marni's ongoing collaboration with artists.

Designer Consuelo Castiglioni took the looks and layered one on top of each for a cocooning effect _ a word bandied about Milan this season. In one look, a vibrant blue fur is wrapped over a sweater and bustier with a peplum embellishment that gives way to the aforementioned grass skirt, prettied up with iridescent blue and maroon feathers. The model's hair is matted, an almost seaweed effect speaks of wildness.

On the simpler side, Castiglioni also incorporates sporty looks from her men's line, with athletic style pants or skirts with drawstrings at the hem, worn with zip jackets and matching sweatshirts. There were a series of easy to wear, neoprene outfits featuring oversized ruffles, and to which this statement from the designer's notes certainly applies: "The body is barely touched."


(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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