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Fashion season continues with Prada, Gucci and others in Milan

By Ellie Hudd
On February 20, 2014

The fashion community has moved on to Milan as of this Wednesday, and the Italian arm of the industry offers some of the most well-recognized luxury labels. The first few days of Milan have been packed with established brands and well-known models, and overall, the first Italian collections of the season have offered consistent visual intrigue and interesting takes on fall wear.
The first half of the Prada collection emphasized dresses with sheer black panels at the bottom half and large, heavy wool coats for winter. Fur accents in bright purples, reds and yellows were another popular theme. The collection also featured a lot of knotted detail at the neck, on both dresses and scarves. Bright lips and slicked-back, center-parted hair (on the girls, that is; Prada presented women's clothing and menswear in the same show) complemented the mod aesthetic invoked by a number of red and black color schemes, stripes and patterns, and intriguing lines. Drapey striped sweaters, invoking a 70s prep vibe, also appeared in multiple colors. Prada cast several models who haven't done much runway work since their peak years, most notably Natasha Poly and Ginta Lapina, which made for a refreshing change from some of the most-used models this season.
Gucci seemed to operate in extremes -- on the one hand, many of their fur-based coats seemed out of place on a modern runway, looking as though they belonged in the 70s. Some of the other pieces, however, were not only extremely wearable, but highly covetable. Snake-print boots in dusty marigold, rose pink and pastel turquoise looked incredible paired with modern coats and dresses in black or a single bright tone. Gucci also cast some of the most popular runway models from recent previous seasons, including Daria Strokous, Sigrid Agren and Kasia Struss.









Alberta Ferretti presented a stunning show, largely comprised of beautiful dresses that were set off nicely by a dark backdrop. The first half of the collection invoked a connectedness with nature, a theme Ferretti has shown a fondness for in the past; the highlight of this section was a moss-green lace dress with exquisite detailing worn by model Sasha Luss. The second half of the collection, however, brought arguably the most striking dresses of the season so far, which featured lavender bodices with dustings of black and sparkling gold that looked almost brushed onto the fabric.
Fendi, for whom Chanel's Karl Lagerfeld serves as artistic director, was a definite miss. While earlier Fendi winter collections have shined, Lagerfeld's recent interest in bizarre, random patches of fur doesn't do the label justice. In both Fendi and Chanel, which presented its haute couture line just a few weeks ago, Lagerfeld is quickly losing touch with the current aesthetic. There were a few well-done pieces, however. Select skirts added natural tones in silk to this season's recurring theme of maxi skirts with major body and movement, and the use of bright pink tones in some of the final looks was a very fresh aesthetic for fall.
Finally, No. 21 preferred breezy silhouettes in tan and black accented by glitzy florals. While some of the silhouettes definitely crossed the border into frumpy territory, many of the individual pieces offered an interesting but wearable take on fall neutrals.
The fashion community remains in Milan throughout this weekend for many more collections from some of the biggest names in fashion. The Paris shows start next week and will continue into the first few days of March.

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