MILAN — There'll be no more bra and girdles seen on the city streets if Milan's top designers can help it. Even Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, the trendy team that's been pushing that look longest and hardest, is off it for fall '92. All right, so they tossed in one long-line bra and a pair of suspendered pants, just for old time's sake. Otherwise, they went the way of all Milanese designers who showed their fall collections this week. They made much of pants.
Dolce and Gabbana's best looks for day were narrow, ankle-length pants, worn with lean jackets for a suit effect, decorated by tiny mirrors or fancy stitchery. Gianfranco Ferre showed pencil pants with long, six-button jackets.
For evening, Giorgio Armani took the classic men's tux, tore it apart and restyled it his ways. One version featured a bolero jacket and lean pants finely beaded in black. Another turned an untied black bow tie into a jacket lapel. And another featured a white bustier inspired by a cummerbund.
Genny design team Donatella Girombelli and Gianni Versace cranked up some classic gray pants suits by adding silver fox trim for day-into-evening outfits.
But there is more to life than a pair of pants. Among other things, there are skirts. Most Italian collections included longer, leaner shapes that ended at mid-thigh or just above the ankle. Several designers, most notably Armani, showed the longer look as a young woman's option. He included it in his Emporio line, less expensive than his signature collection and geared to women in their 20s and 30s. His signature-collection skirts ended just above the knee.
Laura Biagiotti and Salvatore Ferragamo mixed long and short lengths, with long polo coats over short T-shirt-like dresses.
To play off all this fashion practicality, several designers made out-and-out costumes a part of their show. Genny featured disco-cowboy looks with fringed suede pants and animal-print shirts. Byblos designers Keith Varty and Alan Cleaver took to the Argentine cowboy look with gaucho pants and fringed, appliqued leather jackets.
Wow was the word most heard after Gianni Versace's "Miss S & M" Western show, with its black leather harness tops, fringed leather jeans, high-heeled, jewel-encrusted cowboy boots and chain belts.
The fun-loving Complice line spun around a circus theme. Dolce and Gabbana are now consultants for the line that is produced by the Girombelli manufacturing group.
Spangled fabrics reminiscent of trapeze artists made elegant evening gowns. Eclectic-mix outfits, with striped-knit sweaters, coin-dot tulle skirts, woolly mufflers and lace-up boots, added to the funky fun that pervaded the circus-spirited show.
More sophisticated evening looks mixed lavish and informal elements. Ferre's embroidered blouses and floor-length gold skirts, Genny's silk evening skirts trimmed in candy box lace, and Armani's glimmering tuxes are typical of the idea, which is by now an Italian fashion trademark.