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Italian Exhibit Traces Its Fashion DNA; Cavalli Shows Skin

Italian Exhibit Traces Its Fashion DNA; Cavalli Shows Skin

Friday, 23 February 2018 03:38 PM

MILAN (AP) — For anyone wanting to unlock the DNA of Milan ready-to-wear, a new museum exhibition surveying three decades of Italian fashion offers some keys.

Echoes of styles and trends on display in the "Italiana" exhibit at Milan's Palazzo Reale are apparent in big and small ways on the runways during Milan Fashion Week, which runs through Monday with previews of mostly womenswear for next fall and winter.

Here are some highlights from Friday's shows, including Versace, Roberto Cavalli, Antonio Marras and Etro:

CAVALLI'S NEW PAGE SEES STAPLES REINVENTED

Paul Surridge's second womenswear collection for Roberto Cavalli takes the fashion house's tried-and-true battle horses — slinky dresses, glam rock vibes and animal prints — and reinvents them for the next Cavalli generation.

Surridge said he started the collection with two adjectives: glamour and sensuality.

"This is a woman who wants to be visible, also respecting social codes," he said.

The looks offered lots of skin and also the promise of more.

Tailored jackets and coats were sliced to be revealing. Long clingy dresses with cutouts showed off curves, including an off-shoulder ruched purple dress belted at the side to shown skin, and worn punk-like over a pair of black leggings. On the more romantic side, long pleated, ruffled or fringe chiffon offered a softer, billowing drama.

Surridge dipped into the Cavalli archive for animal prints, including lynx, lizard and crocodile, and also included an array of smoky, purple prints that evoke sunsets or deep seas.

On the men's side, a skin-tight top in an ethereal blue that bleeds into darkness seemed inspired by the creature in the Oscar-nominated film "The Shape of Water."

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THE EMIGRATION OF MARRAS

Antonio Marras explores the story of European emigration in his latest fashion collection, touching on the pain of separation, the anticipation of adventure and the raucous exhilaration of finally being accepted in a new land.

It's apt reminder of the cycle of emigration that many Italian families lived as Italy experiences an election campaign in which immigration has proved a divisive issue.

The Marras collection for next fall and winter has a decisively vintage feel with looks adorned with ruffles, beading and lace. In modern touches, flaps on a red trench coat were off-skew, argyle patterns on sweaters were knit on the bias, and long pleated skirts had mismatching hemlines.

The runway mood ranged from romantic rose prints on black backgrounds to New World plaids, old-time Varsity jackets and sweaters worn over lace and tulle skirts, and finally to fun night-out wear.

Each change of mood was portrayed by dancers who transitioned from nostalgic farewells to university frat parties to elegant Great Gatsby-style soirees.

"ITALIANA:" TRACING ITALY'S FASHION DNA

At the "Italiana" exhibit, there's all the building blocks on which fashion houses have turned Milan into a fashion capital: Antonio Marras with a big tulle skirt, Moschino with a smiley face on yellow leather, Roberto Cavalli with animal prints and Prada with black vinyl.

With side-by-side suits by Gucci, Versace and Armani from decades past, the exhibit shows that exploring gender roles is not a new concept.

"We think that Italian designers were the first to solve some identity issues, to give an answer to identity, to changes that were happening in society and to new identities that were emerging," said Stefano Tonchi, curator of exhibit and the director of W Magazine.

Armani's soft suits were a revolution of comfort, while Versace's studded leather jackets and dresses promoted sexual freedom and Max Mara's trademark 101801 double-breasted coat gave women a key item for a button-down workplace wardrobe.

The exhibit also traces Italy's evolution into an economic powerhouse, as purchasing power grew in the 1950s and '60s.

The show runs through May 6 at Palazzo Reale.

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For anyone wanting to unlock the DNA of Milan ready-to-wear, a new museum exhibition surveying three decades of Italian fashion offers some keys.Echoes of styles and trends on display in the "Italiana" exhibit at Milan's Palazzo Reale are apparent in big and small ways on...
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Friday, 23 February 2018 03:38 PM
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