MILAN — Financial crisis or not, Milan brought sexy and powerful back to women’s wear for fall.

“These are difficult and uncertain times, and designers have been literal in the fact that women will need strong shoulders to carry us through [them],” said Sarah Rutson, fashion director at Lane Crawford, Hong Kong.

While retailers were surprised by the glut of party clothes at the shows, which wound up Tuesday, they liked what they saw — although that doesn’t mean they’re not cutting their budgets and asking fashion houses to do deals.

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