By  on June 3, 1994

MILAN -- Versace's into skating queens and Vikings, while Gucci is back on the scene and D&G's going on television.

Those are the plans of some of Italy's leading fashion advertisers for their fall-winter 1994-95 campaigns, a season that will feature plenty of stars, supermodels and safe buys, as well as a few unfamiliar faces and venues.

Dolce & Gabbana has built its new women's print campaign around Isabella Rossellini and Kelly Lynch, in black and white images featuring the two actresses both individually and together, shot by Michel Comte in a Paris studio.

Carla Buzzi, Dolce & Gabbana's spokeswoman, noted that the campaign took its cue from the company's sleek, tailored fall collection.

The Austrian supermodel, Werner, is featured in its men's campaign, which was shot by Mario Sorrenti, she added.

Perhaps the hottest thing happening in Italian fashion advertising, however, is the major push by Ittierre SpA to promote Dolce & Gabbana's new, young line, D&G, which Ittierre produces. D&G will have a full-blown TV and print campaign, with a budget of nearly $2.5 million (4 billion lire).

The TV spots will be aired in Italy on Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's Fininvest stations. They were filmed by 27-year-old Italian director Federico Brugia, who has also been chosen by automaker Fiat for the new "Punto" model's international ad campaign.

The spots are an audiovisual patchwork of sounds and jump-cut images, MTV-style, that are designed to "capture the world and the language of young people today," a spokeswoman explained. "The spots are a series of continuing stories that don't have a particular time or place," she added.

D&G's print campaign was shot by 23-year-old Milan photographer, Lorenzo Tricoli, in black and white, featuring young models Michelle Hicks (who was "discovered" by Steven Meisel and has a striking resemblance to Madonna) and Mike Campbell, another Meisel discovery. The campaign will run in publications that have a young point of view, such as Interview and Details in the U.S., Max and Glamour in France and The Face and Arena in the U.K. It will also be in Elle and Marie Claire internationally.In a different twist, ice-skating champion Katarina Witt is the new star of Gianni Versace's sporty Versus campaign, photographed by Bruce Weber.

"Weber had always dreamed of photographing Katarina Witt, and he thought she was perfect for the Versus clothing -- with a lot of wind in her skirts," said Paul Beck, Versace's publicity director.

Elsewhere, despite all the complaining about fees and talk of using "real people," there is still a hefty lineup of top models.

Versace pulled out all the stops with Nadja Auermann, Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, Stephanie Seymour and Christy Turlington. The campaign was shot by Richard Avedon with the use of special effects and, in keeping with Versace's usual, provocative style, includes five naked men, "used as props," Beck said. Each model had her own day of shooting with Avedon, while the last day he shot the entire group, Beck said.

The men's campaign, which was shot by Bruce Weber in Squaw Valley and Lake Tahoe, has a wintry, "Vikings-like" theme, and uses a group of new, unknown male models.

Valentino picked Nadja Auerman for his fall-winter campaign, which was shot by Steven Meisel on Long Island."This will be the first time you've seen Nadja styled this way -- there's a lot of emphasis on hair and makeup," said a Valentino spokeswoman.

Valentino's budget is even with last year, at about $2.8 million to $3 million (4.5 billion lire).

Except for the D&G TV blitz, ad budgets are generally in line with or slightly above last year's, and most of the Italian houses are sticking with their traditional fashion and special-interest magazines, with some exceptions.

Giorgio Polli, who oversees the Ferragamo campaign, said he will continue with his strategy of using gatefolds in leading fashion magazines for Ferragamo's apparel, accessories and footwear campaigns."I have been working this way for 20 years and this is my conviction," Polli said. "It works in terms of the numbers [of readers], but it also works on a psychological level," he added. "People really see you this way."

Aside from fashion publications, Polli is also picking a series of Sunday magazines published by major city dailies, including the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. "These publications are key because people read them during their down-time, and therefore they really pay attention," Polli added. He's also considering some special-interest monthlies, such as travel and cooking magazines.The new Ferragamo campaign, which is shot by Walter Chin, features Claudia Schiffer and Sarah O'Hare.

In another development, Gucci will be back this fall with a new, product-oriented campaign and "expanded" ad budget.

The Florence-based fashion house suspended its ads last year, while it sorted out its ownership problems. The new campaign, shot by Raymond Meier, consists primarily of still-life shots with a simple, clean feel to them, noted former Gucci executive Dawn Mello, in an interview before she left the company to return to Bergdorf Goodman as president. "The new look is quite different from the past, but the idea was to build awareness of the quality of the Gucci image," Mello said.

"There's also a heavier emphasis on footwear, as Gucci has gone into wholesale distribution of the shoes for the first time," she added.The buying strategy will include fashion monthlies, as well as The New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine and Forbes.

Meanwhile, Moschino has created another institutional, single-image, issue-oriented campaign to accompany his move into "environmentally correct" clothing, or, as he calls them, "Nature Friendly Garments." The image features one-half of a big, red heart, and the other, half of a big, green leaf. Moschino has also written a personal letter to his customers about the effort.

"Our message is about ecology," said managing director Marco Gobetti. "We are trying to eliminate all printing, dyeing and other materials that are harmful to the environment," he said, adding that, "the industry is still far behind in this aspect," he added.

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