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Everything from rococo Cinderella numbers to simply luxurious cashmeres turned up on the runways as the Italian collections continued.
This story first appeared in the October 1, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Antonio Berardi: If a young Cinderella looking for her rocker Prince Charming is ever in need of a fashion consultant, she could turn to Antonio Berardi. The designer let loose with a labor-intensive spring collection filled with a ton of lace, crinolines, silk jacquards and lingerie references — all gussied up with layers, drapes and tucks. About the only thing missing was the glass slippers. Berardi also sent out a plethora of razor-sharp peplum jackets featuring ruffled borders and floral embroideries, worn over short pleated skirts or second-skin trumpet styles with hook closures down the back — all finished off with ornately decorated stilettos.
If those super-tight moments become a little too stuffy and constricting, the designer’s girls can ease into pastel floral-print dresses, abundantly tiered, ruffled and draped. The fairy-pretty makeup, long tousled hair and the soft color palette were antidotes to the sex factor and wackiness that marked the rest of the show.
Piazza Sempione: Easy, breezy, unpretentious — that’s what summer is all about for designer Marisa Guerrizio. This season, more than ever, the collection takes on a casual attitude with deconstructed silhouettes, airy pastels and lots of crisp linens and gauzy cottons.
Divided into three themes — a Moroccan souk, the Sahara and urban graffiti — the collection featured deconstructed jackets, A-line shifts and tunics in stretch cottons that were jammed on a rack, bazaar-style. For the city weekend, there were three-button blazers, slouchy belted jackets and jeans-style pants in a denim-look linen printed in a black-and-white abstract design. And for those long, hot summer days, Guerrizio offers some refreshing cotton jacquard Bermuda shorts, crinkled linen T-shirts and cotton oxford pinafores.
Rebecca Moses: Rebecca Moses never strays from her concept of consumer-friendly cashmeres in yummy colors — and that’s just fine with her many fans. But this season, she did add a new color combo: black and white. Circular swirls were printed on silk chiffon and fashioned into one-shoulder dresses, flared skirts, soft-belted jackets and men’s-style shirts. On the same graphic note, the designer did black-and-white checkerboard rayon tops that she showed over white trousers. Moses did glitz things up, however, with a group of beige matelasse car coats, straight-legged pants and tank tops embroidered in shades of gold, aqua and rose — the kind of clothes that are as at home in New York as they are in Capri.
Alessandro Dell’Acqua: In-your-face sexiness is overtaking the Milan runways this season, and for Alessandro Dell’Acqua, that means business as usual. Steam and sizzle are right at home here, since Dell’Acqua is an old hand at putting the va-va-voom into his collections. For spring, the designer played with proportion, opting for roomy and flowing chiffons at the top and itty-bitty bottoms that hug the fanny. Off-the-shoulder peasant blouses, full and soft, were paired with gold jacquard shorts, while lilac bandeau tops peeked out of chiffon bomber jackets that were worn over low-slung minis. Dell’Acqua’s night prowlers came out in sky-high stilettos and black herringbone-lace tanks over lamé pants or pleated capes that flapped around the legs and wrapped around miniskirts. Hot stuff.
Marni: Hath the girly girl no refuge in this cold, hard world? Not any more, she doesn’t. Every designer in Milan has sex on the brain, and peer pressure must have made Consuelo Castiglioni cave in. Her once-sweet Marni girl has taken to tough trimmings, layering a stiff leather motorcycle vest or jacket over her usual floral-printed pretty fare, and putting skintight zippered leather pants under her floaty chiffon dresses or strange floral pants as baggy as a rapper’s.
Those classic Marni pieces were all there — the canvas pants, the antique florals, the fairy dresses, the tiny furs — buried under the harder element. Castiglioni’s vision has become so bucolic and so narrow over the past few seasons that she has found herself in a bind. If she had shown a glut of sugary sweet bohemian stuff for spring without attempting anything new, it might have been a snooze — both at the show and on the retail floor. But Castiglioni’s first foray into the arena where most designers in Milan excel — hard, sexy, tough chic — looked as tentative and sad as some young thing awkwardly tarting herself up for a first run with the wolves.