- Associated Press - Friday, September 21, 2012

MILAN (AP) - It’s not all black and white in Milan this season.

Women’s collections coming off the runway for next year’s warmer weather are all about the pastoral _ relaxing looks in both silhouette and color, with flowing styles and floral patterns that blend with the prevailing pastel palette.

Flowers are the repeating motif for the 2013 season. Some are essential and graphic, take the Prada origami flower. Others are as delicate as a Japanese water color, as in Etro’s chiffon gowns. And yet others are jungle wild, as in the Max Mara safari prints.

Versace didn’t go floral, but she embraced the easy feel, even while keeping her sexy edge.

The pretty prints don’t need a lot of makeup or jewelry, although it’s always welcome and can even be ostentatious.

To go with this dreamy fashion landscape, hairstyles are simple, with hair left long and often wavy. For a wilder look, there’s the teased version.

In recent years, the collections have tended to blur the seasons. As many labels have added separate lines for resort wear, beachwear and the like, season- and activity-specific pieces have disappeared from the main collections.

Eveningwear, at the same time, is gaining prominence, becoming an all-day affair. Knitwear is not only for the chillier seasons, showing up on the summer runway allowing more wardrobe flexibility.

There was as much buzz off the runway as on with three vying for fashionista’s attention. Sharon Stone was in town to celebrate the new Just Cavalli flagship store opening Friday. Soul singer Beth Ditto was performing during Donatella Versace’s Versus show. The fashion world also was on hand for an exclusive tour of an exhibit of masterpieces from the Picasso Museum in Paris on display at the Palazzo Reale.

VERSACE

Donatella Versace created a couture feel for her preview show Friday night, replacing benches with gilded chairs and decorating two courtyard trees with faux white flowers.

The setting emphasized the neat tailoring in the collection for next summer, but don’t be fooled. Versace gave the look a lingerie edge, keeping it sexy by combining lace, leather and silk. The look came in mini slip dresses in crushed silk. Others were slashed and laced back together.

Versace said the look was for a woman who is both `’strong and fragile.”

Whether intentional or not, there was a Stevie Nicks spirit about the show, reflected in the long flowing gowns — and a cover version of `’Dreams” played as the models strode down the illuminated runway. Versace may well have been paying tribute in her designs to the Nicks’ song `’Leather and Lace.”

The normally Baroque iconic Medusa made an appearance in tie-dyed prints, hinting at a hippie vibe, which also came through in the long flowing dresses __ especially a blue gown with elaborate geometric studding that was split up the front and laced together enticingly over the bodice.

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