In Milan, classic Armani and woolly Missoni

Giorgio Armani brought his trademark jaunty sophistication to Milan's catwalks on Thursday, inviting insouciance despite trying times.
Propping classic silhouettes on super-high stilettos, the Emporio Armani autumn-winter collection offers close-fitting leather jackets, miniskirts galore and sassy pillbox hats.

In Milan, classic Armani and woolly Missoni
Completing almost every picture are knee socks over the hose. Hardly incongruous, if anything they seem to lengthen the leg over those high-altitude heels.
Caps abound -- floppy ones, visored ones, velvet or wool -- rounding off the casual chic look, with one proviso: trousers are out.
Angela Missoni went for a woolly hippie look, shunning the cold with layers and layers of knits.
Over leggings and a tunic, a long cardigan with outsized lapels is in turn dwarfed by another sweater draped by a oversized muffler and smaller scarf.
All come in sumptuously soft textures and colours like peach and mauve, with other fabrics like lame and tweed making cameo appearances.
Kristina T looked for the naughty schoolgirl in you, layering knee socks over fishnet stockings perched atop high clogs with a saddle-shoe motif in front.
Overalls lose all their innocence by being skin tight, while a grey wool bonnet is almost too cute with little cat ears attached.
The ready-to-wear collection, all greys and blacks, combines frilliness with sobriety, exuding relaxed femininity.
Sober colours were also de rigueur for Roccobarocco, but just as a backdrop for decidedly girlish fantasy.
To set the mood, Barocco kicked off his show with a classical ballet performance by six ballerinas straight out of "Swan Lake."
Determined to inject light into darkness, he made flashes of colour the hallmark of the collection. Azure, red or purple solids leapt out from handbags, gloves or shoes, accessorising the standard black or grey fare.
Barocco harked to the past with pleated collars reminiscent of Renaissance ruffs, skirt add-ons suggesting Victorian bustles, and hair done up in chignons.
From the flashbacks and flashes of colour, it was back to the future for Gaetano Navarra, whose collection was nothing short of a space odyssey.
Not satisfied with mixing and matching textures and patterns in every shade of black and silver, Navarra went further, experimenting with futuristic shapes.
Hoods suggesting astronauts' helmets, extended shoulders worthy of the Jetsons and asymmetrical creations exposing the odd shoulder or thigh all contributed to the time warp.
The bride was in pink for Frankie Morello, radiant in a gown structured with wide vertical fuchsia and violet bands topped by a creamy bustier.
The wedding guests took liberties with classic cuts while remaining classy, featuring a metallic cloth corsage, a champagne silk shirt with pointy shoulders and a shirtfront transformed into a cascade of fabric.
Colour was no stranger to Enrico Coveri either on Thursday, as turquoise flirted with anise, or candy pink with violet, in his fur-collared anoraks and lacy skirts held together with feather belts.
Milan Fashion Week goes into its third day on Friday with shows by Giorgio Armani, Gianfranco Ferre, Alberta Ferretti, Jil Sander and Burberry.
The week kicked off in an atmosphere of gloom and doom with some 10 fewer shows in the lineup because of the global financial crisis.
The Italian clothing sector -- including textiles, leather and shoes -- has been hard hit by the downturn, raising the alarm last week over falling orders and appealing to the government for aid such as that enjoyed by the auto sector.

Saturday, March 14th 2009
Gina Doggett

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