THE MILAN MIX

Callaghan: Ever since it was announced that Scott Crolla wasn’t designing Callaghan anymore, the hype machine has been cranking away. The house is tight-lipped about the new designer’s identity, saying only that it’s “a big name.” But the collection presented over the weekend suggested the distinctive touch of Nicholas Ghesquiere. The designer who does the Balenciaga collection in Paris has garnered a cult following in the fashion world with edgy Seventies and Eighties looks, and he’s now weaving some of those elements into Callaghan.
These included silhouettes that were soft and slouchy on the top and short and tight at the bottom, plus lots of minidresses with wide, low-slung leather belts in everything from cotton and nylon to denim. Leather jackets had studded fronts and were worn over tiered skirts, while a square-shoulder denim shirt was shown with rolled-up shorts. The collection focused on a rather somber palette revolving around a sea of black with touches of light blue, pearl gray and champagne yellow.
Maska: Now that even hard-core businesswomen are slipping into boardrooms wearing sexy clothes, it’s no surprise that more classic manufacturers are changing with the times. Maska, for one, is evidently trying to woo a younger, hipper clientele with an easy-breezy collection of fluttering silks, fluid silhouettes and barely there tops. While a handful of tailored, belted jackets were included, the show featured trendier pieces, such as the cropped, low-slung pants that are on just about every Milan runway. These were worn with woven raffia tops, drawstring-hem camisoles and sexy V-neck sweaters that also topped knife-pleated skirts, all pretty blush pinks, powder beige and plum. Also successful was a group of laser-cut leather jackets and coats that were in a decidedly more dapper mood.
Roberto Cavalli: These are clothes for women who want to make an impression, so it’s no wonder that Roberto Cavalli’s front row was packed with young Italian showgirls and TV personalities. Models emerged from a backdrop of roses and leaves clad — barely — in flimsy voile dresses with brightly colored floral patterns in fuchsia, red, lavender, burgundy and yellow combinations. The designer, who’s known for his python-print jeans, expanded the theme this season to include a zoo-full of zebra and spotted animal prints. He also showered golden studs on just about anything he could get his hands on, from denim jackets and catsuits to ankle boots. In fact, Cavalli played up the gold factor for all it was worth, embroidering pants and boudoir-style coats with golden motifs. It was fun, feminine and sassy, if a tad over-the-top — just the way those front-row babes like it.
Piazza Sempione: Designer Marisa Guerrizzio believes that colors have healing, soothing and energizing powers, and her showroom presentation played up that concept. Flamenco dancers dressed in red represented passion, and the saffron risotto served signified discipline, while the vodka and water offered symbolized, with a little poetic license, the purity of white. As for the clothes, all one got to see was a lineup of jackets hanging on a plain pipe rack. Some designers may have put them on the back burner, but jackets are big sellers at Piazza Sempione. So Guerrizio showed them in every imaginable color, fabric and texture — cool wools, waffle rayons, crinkled linens, anti-stain silks and even fabric blends that protect from sunrays, all in a kaleidescope of shades, including champagne, flaming red, mulberry pinks and pale blues.
Though it wasn’t shown, the rest of the collection included cropped pants, skimpy shorts, hip-riding skirts and even a caftan or two.
Alberto Biani: Details do make a difference, and that’s what put the spin on Alberto Biani’s well-cut, tailored clothes. Low-waist pants in classic Prince-of-Wales plaids had thin leather trims or metallic stitches running up the sides, and blouses were embellished with ruching, hooks or laces. The designer even added a few ethnic touches, with Indian and China-inspired details, such as gold-colored coins dangling from skirts, and mandarin shirts and jackets. Flowing pareo skirts, screaming-orange capri pants and fuchsia iridescent silk tops also gave the collection an easy, relaxed feeling.

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