March 2, 2012 9:51 pm

Risqué business

The autumn/winter 2012 women’s wear trends at Milan fashion week

Black and sheer and seen all over

The sartorial game of peekaboo has been played in various guises this season in every fashion week city since the autumn/winter shows began, and Milan was no different. Here, it was about form-fitting black dresses with a stylised slice here and there (mostly everywhere) of exposed flesh, shaded by a shadow of chiffon. Sometimes it was notably risqué – see Pucci, where whatever undergarments could, or could not, be worn was quite apparent – and sometimes it was safely seductive (Bottega Veneta and Etro). Either way, it was an elegant solution to the question: “To show skin or not to show skin?” since it allows the wearer to only pretend to show skin. What you think you see is not necessarily what you get.

Versace, MaxMara, Fendi, Ferragamo, Dolce & Gabbana

From left: Versace, MaxMara, Fendi, Ferragamo, Dolce & Gabbana

Broadtail tales

Any anti-fur reader should stop now. Even for an observer not exercising any judgment on the ethical issues involved, there was a shocking amount of one specific kind of fur on the catwalks in Milan: call it broadtail (as they did at Fendi), or Persian lamb (as they did at Dolce & Gabbana) or astrakhan (as they did at MaxMara), but whatever name you choose (and they all refer to the same kind of skin), it was everywhere: on coats, suits, capes, you name it. Indeed, it was so omnipresent that one colleague leaned over during a show and said, “Do you think some fur house was doing a deal on astrakhan?” Maybe, or maybe it was just the supple, light refracting qualities of the sheared fur that appealed. Whatever the reason, expect a Peta petition sometime soon.

printed pattern at Milan fashion

From left: Prada, Marni, Missoni, Aquilano Rimondi

Prints charming

Not quite your grandmother’s tablecloth (but not that dissimilar), the diamond-like prints that pervaded fabrics all over Milan had a whiff of the vintage without seeming old-fashioned, and a tinge of the Orient without appearing to target only the Asian market. The secret was in the full force of their use – on trousers, dresses, jackets – and the fact that they were layered with abandon. As good for night as for day, ageless and era-less, this is nevertheless not a look for anyone who wants to fade into the background. Unless, of course, you are trying to blend into a specific sort of wallpaper.

Read the reports and browse more images of the runways at www.ft.com/fashionweek

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