BRAVE HEARTS

MILAN — What bonds the Milanese designers isn’t the trends they choose to highlight — which run the gamut from boyish suits to sporty gladiatorial gear to jetset glam — but their bravado. When they pick a theme, you’d just better watch out; they rush at it full steam ahead. Alberto Biani, for example, went in for men’s suitings, mixing pinstripes and checks in the form of slouchy suits and curvy fishtailed skirts. The best of the bunch was an oversized, classic checked wool coat, although the waxed leathers also had that certain something.
For his signature collection, Alessandro Dell’Acqua went in the opposite direction and stuck with the stuff of femininity. It’s a stance he’s held stubbornly season after season. His look is sheer, in nude or black, and this time around, it’s belted with a doubled length of elastic. The trenchcoats and leather coatdress were sexy, but maybe it’s time Dell’Acqua looked at his chiffon-swathed muse from a different angle. His style was simpler at Borbonese. Dell’Acqua came up with slim, fluid shapes, most in leather or suede, some of them dotted with the label’s signature pattern for the company’s first ready-to-wear collection.
In his first collection under his own name, Nicola Del Verme sent out his own ode to chiffon. Pleated skirts swirled with chiffon, chiffon everywhere, and a sexy off-the-shoulder dress billowed with paper-thin cashmere underneath.
But at Samsonite Black Label, Gigi Vezzola had something much more chilly in mind. He sent out the fall collection in a flurry of winter white that included astrakan-front turtlenecks, narrow cuffed pants and white suits complete with gold toggles, all ready for the slopes of St. Moritz. Some of Vezzola’s jetsetting ideas were a bit dowdy, but the black trenchcoat was top-flight.
The best looks from Laura Biagiotti’s Roma line also worked the winter white angle. She showed parkas, both short and cropped, white skirts and scores of white knits. Marina Spadafora, on the other hand, had good luck with her demurely sporty sweaters, especially a tan one spliced with aqua that was shown with a rough tweed skirt. For her part, Giuliana Cella played up the feminine side of the folkloric. Cella took a flower-and-vine motif found on traditional Russian shawls and wove the pattern into new shawls, hand-stamped the design onto fluid skirts and even embroidered it on cashmere underwear.
At E-Play, however, there was no sweetness, only fight. The collection displayed warlike ways in abstract cameo prints and a cute army-green bustier dress. In a harrowing display of what it means to stick to a theme, out came a pair of harem pants — in mottled camouflage, of course — with a silver lame tuxedo stripe running down each leg. That’s bravado for you, and then some.