Milan designers propose assertive winter looks

MILAN (AP) - Milan designers have proposed assertive and even aggressive looks for next year, as if to fill a power vacuum felt keenly in Italy in the face of political uncertainty and a resigning pope.

The looks presented during six days of fashion previews that ended Monday were structured and solid, inspired by architecture and design and employing sturdy fabrics to create fresh shapes.

In many ways, it was technology-driven fashion. Designers continued to experiment with and create new materials. There was a lot of leather and fur worked in new ways. Mohair was worked as a fur substitute. Spandex was used as a contrast to soften the looks, and cashmere, lace and revealing transparencies maintained a feminine air.

The use of technology was also reflected in patterns, which at times were based on distorted digital photos or a pixilated effect.

The silhouette was wide at the shoulder, cinched at the waist and often flared at the bottom. The most obvious reference was to the hourglass. Hemlines were mostly a proper, below-the-knee length _ although there were also super-short and long versions.

The looks were rarely mannish, although at times androgynous.

It was a big season for big coats _ and big furs. There were many fur accessories, like shawls and stoles, and all-out coats tended to be fashioned out of dyed fur in bold yellows, reds and pinks _ and even fake animal prints.

The color palette was urban darks with flashes of bright contrast.

The revelation of the season for footwear was the thigh-high boot that appeared to be tights. The latest bags were a large shopper, even larger backpacks _ but mostly small ladylike handbags.

The fashion caravan moves on to Paris, leaving Italy to contemplate a new government and welcome a new pope.

ARMANI

Giorgio Armani had the last word at Milan Fashion Week, and not only where the clothes were concerned.

Speaking to reporters between his two shows on Monday, the closing day of preview shows for the fall-winter 2013-2014 season, the designer lashed out at some colleagues who in his opinion are more interested in spectacles than sales.

“One thing is to put on a play, the other is to create fashion,” Armani said.

“It’s not about models wearing gold crowns, `’ Armani said, taking a jab at Sunday’s Dolce&Gabbana show with its Byzantine princess motif.” (It’s) about what you can find in the store.”

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