Fendi: The Fendis are feeling their oats. Barbra Streisand reportedly strolled into their New York boutique recently and snapped up six coats. Bergdorf Goodman is buying from the house again, and it even snowed during its show in Milan Wednesday. The only bad news: Claudia Schiffer pulled out at the last moment, telling reporters that she was offering herself “as an example for other women” not to buy fur.
The Fendis handled the defection with great aplomb. “We hope to see her at our show in the fall,” said a spokesman. But, of course, they still had Kate and Nadja to show off Karl Lagerfeld’s creations.
Fur is out of the closet once again at Fendi. There were gigantic sables and even bigger chinchillas. They came in capes, stoles and big wrap coats. The silhouette is loose, looser and loosest — the better to flaunt those hyperexpensive skins. But, in a nod to politically correct chic, Karl got rid of all the heads and tails that occasionally dangled from his coats. He also did a complete range of cloth coats — some with discreet fur linings, some not.
To certain viewers, the show seemed a little haphazard and a bit off-the-cuff. But to others, the ragamuffin presentation was just Karl’s way of showing how young he thinks fur can be.

Max Mara: Hail to an Italian design firm which doesn’t want to make bombed-out evening dresses or fake a fashion edge. This is a company that knows its customer and doesn’t want to lose her. There’s no danger of that this season, with sharp suits, pretty mohair cardigans and some of the best coats in town. The standouts were in bright, double-faced wools or plush blanket cashmeres, some with fur trim — or fake fur trim, if you live in a sensitive area.

Maska: Isabella Rossellini’s got some competition. The sportswear house Maska signed up former models-turned-actresses Janice Dickinson and Carol Alt to hit the catwalk for its first show ever, filling out a non-model roster that also included Marisa Berenson and Tahnee Welch. If things got a little clumsy at times, at least everybody seemed to be having fun, which you can’t always say about les supermodels. It was all part of Milan’s ongoing reality check, represented here by precision-cut pantsuits and flannel coatdresses. There were also plenty of good coats, from feisty bouclA toppers to floor-grazing velvet robes.

Les Copains: The Les Copains show was a perfect example of what Italian fashion should be all about. The in-house design team of this Bologna-based knitwear maker delivered a snappy collection with enough good-looking, wearable clothes to get a woman through her round-the-clock schedule. Les Copains doesn’t pretend to cut new fashion ground, but the colorful, body-hugging sweaters over wide-leg tweed trousers, and the hourglass suits were pretty and up-to-date.

D&G: Cute is seldom a fashion designer’s favorite word. Yet that’s exactly the word for much of the D&G collection Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana worked overtime to make look hip and hard-edged. While the wild beauty — Francois Nars makeup and Oribe hair — added a tough touch, cute kept rearing its perky head in the crisp CourrAges-style jumpers, red and black knits, funky tweeds and bright vinyl coats. The biggest mistake: the sheer dresses over underwear. It’s a tired look.
Genny: The designer — or designers — at Genny better get their act together. While many houses seem to be leaving retro behind — or at least expanding their time references — Donatella Girombelli and Rebecca Moses sent out a dull ode to the Forties. Although there’s always a customer for basic tailored pieces, even a meat-and-potatoes line needs a little spice, and this time out, Genny didn’t have it.

Trussardi: Less was more at Trussardi, where clean, fitted suits and belted car coats were just perfect for the chic career woman. But propriety isn’t everything, and the pastel shearling mini-suits looked like a snow bunny’s delight.