MILAN, Italy — Milan Fashion Week's showing of designer collections for fall-winter 2011 wrapped up last week, and the big news there was the continued interest in updating classic couture shapes with unusual colors, fabrications and surface embellishments.
We saw it done best at Jil Sander, where designer Raf Simons made outsize drop-shoulder coats, tunics and dresses with martingale belts look completely modern by showing them with sleek, skiwear-inspired knits and stirrup pants.
At Bottega Veneta, Tomas Maier used ladylike, 1960s-inspired coats and sleeveless shift dresses as canvases for incredible work with layers of lace and print.
The 1960s trend took a mod turn at Versace, Alberta Ferretti and most notably at Prada, where coats and coatdresses with low-slung belts came in solids and windowpane checks, decorated with contrast piping, shag fur or silver-dollar-sized paillettes.
Fashion's love affair with fur is still going strong. Marni's Consuelo Castiglioni was the most inventive with fur, showing a modern-looking, zip-front mink blouson jacket, a full-length fur coat sheared into a diamond pattern and a stiff, molded black leather jacket with a broadtail hem.
Also carrying over from spring was vivid color, seen most clearly at Gucci. Forest green, rust, mustard yellow, peach and teal blue were all hot hues, used to spectacular effect in Fendi's collection of arty, English country chic.
As for accessories, the Mary Jane with a chunky heel is the must-have. And why carry just one bag when you can carry two?
My top five collections out of Milan: Bottega Veneta, Fendi, Marni, Prada and Jil Sander.