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Fall 2001 / Milan Collections

Never Say Never Again

It's arrivederci to Italy and hello once more to capes, leg warmers, coonskinhats and schoolgirl looks of the past.


MILAN, Italy — Little-girl looks and lots of leather closed 11 days of shows here with fall collections from Miu Miu, Trussardi and Versus.

Miuccia Prada's secondary line, Miu Miu, offered up plenty of schoolgirl looks--puffed sleeves, knit dresses with pleated skirts and sleeveless dresses so short and full that they could double as maternity tops. There were plenty of black, Gothic-like high-waisted chiffon dresses, but Prada also sent out pretty striped and floral prints and colors in burgundy, ecru, green and denim.

The cape, a main piece at the earlier Prada show, resurfaced in the Miu Miu collection held in Prada's south Milan headquarters.


Trussardi staged its show at its glass-walled flagship store across from the Teatro alla Scala opera house. Pedestrians in the financial district stopped to view the show through the glass walls. They often nodded when they saw something they liked and every now and then gave a thumbs-up to fashion critics inside.

The collection, mostly suede and leather, was sophisticated, luxurious and well-tailored. Most important, it was a 100% improvement from last fall's stiff and chunky collection from sibling designers Beatrice and Francesco Trussardi. Stripes or floral patterns on laser-treated pony skin became beautiful low-rise skirts, knee-length coats and boots.

Supple shirts and skirts were made of chamois leather that was pleated, creased or latticed in forest green and chocolate brown. They worked leather and fur into knits for tunics, sleeveless shirt dresses and coats.

Donatella Versace's secondary line, Versus, popped with a bright red, white and blue geometric pattern that appeared on one-shoulder blousons over wide-wale corduroy minis. The same print was on trench coats, tight pants and plenty of waisted jackets.

Other looks that emerged this week: plenty of single- and double-breasted suits--as well as Edwardian styles--and coats and snug jackets worn with boyish pants; and the cape, with or without collars and even hooded, in various lengths including mini-capes or capelets.

If you have cape fear, then shrugs--long- and short-sleeved ones made of fur, velvet and corduroy--abound, as do cropped boleros for daytime and evening wear. Another accessory: the Davy Crockett-style raccoon hat. Prada's mink version had a tail. Dolce & Gabbana put the tail on fringed purses and Anna Molinari for Blumarine tied the tail on ponytails or kept the tail on the hat and added matching gloves.

Leg warmers and leggings are the reinvented hosiery for next season. They were shown made in everything from stretch rubber to sequins and worn with flat pointed shoes or thigh-high boots.


Hose also get a new twist with knee-highs from Giorgio Armani and Victor Alfaro and rear seams from Lawrence Steele. Versus showed knee-high hosiery printed with stripes and geometric patterns that looked like men's socks. Miu Miu simply sent out sheer black or green tights with short tops that stopped at hosiery's waistline.

Fashion week here mostly offered a youthful, '60s retro look with little design innovation, except for Armani, Gucci and Roberto Cavalli. Let's hope that Paris looks forward, not back.

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