Even as the fashion world showed signs of upheaval, designers in Milan presented some of the most composed winter collections in many a season.
The looks in six days of Milan Fashion week were opulent — lavish velvet and brocade fabrics made even richer by beading, sequins, brooches and golden embroidery.
Many of the winter 2013 previews, which ended Monday, had the over-the-top feel of costumes, conveyed in detailing like feathers, fur trimming and silver mesh.
Military looks were the most prevalent, with nearly every designer featuring garments with golden buttons, epaulettes and double-breasted styles. That was finished off with military caps and equestrian boots.
There was lots of bare skin, but plenty of ways to cover it in layers. That included big fur collars, gauntlet gloves, thigh-high boots and shawl wraps of every style imaginable.
The basics for the season are cropped pants, shorts, the pant suit and dresses topped with jackets. Hats made a comeback with plenty of styles: Gaucho hats, mod leather caps, fedoras, flapper cloches and furry Cossack headgear.
Many designers showed their wears in spectacular Baroque settings, either in actual historic palaces or settings recreated on the runway, which only enhanced the richness of the clothing.
Brooches and other ornaments were stitched onto garments, evoking a theatrical feel.
The palette was mainly black, offset by deep reds, blues, and the return of purple. A few designers preferred a contrast with soft pastels, white and beige.
The 2013 winter bag is average size, and usually carried by the handle. For night, the looks favored tiny clutches.
Booties — military or Victorian — were a favorite. Heels were high, but not incredibly so, with the Mary Jane the prevalent style. Flourishes were added to shoes: sparkles, bows, buttons and golden accents.
Several top fashion jobs were in flux. Raf Simons presented his final collection for the Jil Sander label, making way for the namesake designer to return to the fashion house she founded in the 1960s. Simons’ triumphant farewell collection contrasted with the opulence of many of the runways: it was soft, feminine and minimalist.
Yves Saint Laurent announced that designer Stefano Pilati would be leaving after his final show next week in Paris, while Dior is still looking for a new designer after last year’s disgraceful exit of John Galliano.
So the fashion world moves on to Paris amid speculation of where all the talent will land.
All it takes to be Armani stylish next winter is a pair of Bermudas. Chic iron-creased shorts were the centerpiece of the latest collection of the man who put “moda Milanese” on the fashion map more than 30 years ago.
Worn on their own under a super-feminine blouse in a brightly colored print, paired with a tailored Armani jacket, or peeking out of the hem of a silk taffeta cocktail dress in coral and pink, they claimed the runway.
The new Armani jacket, often styled in woven fabric, has no lapel and caresses the neckline. In addition to the Bermudas, it can be worn with a pair of tapered slacks.
Flat shoes with sparkling tops and a Fedora hat with wide slanted brim spiff up the androgynous and yet feminine look.
The Bermuda shorts, but now in luxurious silk, also claimed the evening, coupled with shimmering sequined evening jackets, or worn with a silk sheath with a bare back and an intricate obi sash waistline.
The fur in the winter collection is strictly ecological and comes in multicolored and shaggy, or mink look-a-like. The preferred styles are maxi pullover or ample cape.
Naomi Campbell sashayed down the Cavalli runway in a barebacked sequined maxi-dress that summed up the designer’s new look.
Roberto Cavalli’s womenswear collection for next winter struck a balance between the soft silhouette of full maxi skirts and dresses in flowing fabrics and the more structured look of a brocade mini-dress.
As usual, animal motifs played a central role, be it in the form of a leopard print or an alligator necklace.
Cavalli matched full dresses with tiered skirts with loose pajama pants, a coupling popular this season. Mixing materials, a mini-dress featured leather bodice reminiscent of armor, a look popular in Milan, that transitioned into a fur skirt.
Mod leather caps finished many of the looks. Short sleeves and bare arms are in for next winter, but Cavalli provided a hedge against the cold: long leather gloves.
The setting was high school, the music was 1960s rock and the clothes were perfect for a date with Fonzie.
The DSquared2 womenswear winter collection by designing twins Dean and Dan Caten was all about “Happy Days” and carefree nights.
Teeny bopper models in sequined sneakers and pert caps sported tight cropped jeans or a hip-hugging skirt, paired with colorful leather jackets for a hot date at the movies. The high school dance calls for a switch to high-heeled sequined pumps and beehive hair styles.
More sophisticated than her grandmother, our teenage queen prefers black to yesteryear pastels for her slit-up the side prom gown. Her escort is in a traditional white tuxedo jacket with black lapel.
This girl also has expensive tastes. She likes her denimwear trimmed in fur, her blouse covered in pearls and when she talks leather she means crocodile.
Versace’s often bad-girl label, Versus, punctuated fashion week’s opulence with punk.
Designed by Christopher Kane, the collection exuded vibrancy in both color — fuchsia, acid green and peacock blue — and repeating geometric prints.
In an overall street-wise collection, Kane included romantic looks: empire-waisted mini-dresses or off-the-shoulder V-necks in tie-dye fabrics.
But the Versus girl wants to show her tough side. Mini-dresses, especially the more feminine ones, were paired with thigh-high boots, either in all black or matching geometric prints.
Sheer black accents gave asymmetrical off-shoulder dresses a rocker feel. And tough burgundy leather biker pants contrasted with a shaggy Mongolian sheepskin jacket.
Kane mostly kept his models’ legs bare — a look gaining cold-weather currency, especially for younger lines.