By COLLEEN BARRY and DANIELA PETROFF, Associated Press
MILAN (AP) — Summertime looks are spilling onto Milan's winter runway.
Perhaps designers are taking a cue from the unpredictable and increasingly mild winters, filling their collections with looks once reserved for warmer weather. The February temperatures were decidedly springlike during Milan Fashion Week, which was in its fifth day Sunday — affirming designer's choices .
Even functional daytime dresses can be sleeveless. Shorts are having their winter incarnation. Lightweight jackets are replacing bulky coats. Don't even think about mountain parkas or ski wear — they are not for the well-heeled urban girl.
Fur is more of an accent than a necessity, turning up as oversized collars, on shawls and as hats. Shoes are open toed, or even variations of sandals. Bare legs are perfectly acceptable.
If the temperatures turn, however, there are plenty of layering options — clearly a trend — from knitwear to coats to capes to long vests.
Black velvet, black lace, black chiffon and more gold than even Midas could muster are the basic ingredients of the dramatic Dolce&Gabbana winter collection.
Dramatic, as well as theatric.
Front row guest, British actress Helen Mirren, on her way to pay her compliments to the designing duo backstage, described the clothes as both "decadent and opulent" and said she loved "every bit" of the show.
However, the actress best known for her role as Queen Elizabeth II, in "The Queen" which earned her an Oscar as best actress in 2007, did not dip into her theater closet for reference, but rather said the show "spoke to my Russian roots." Mirren's father was a Russian nobleman.
For another front-row guest, Italian actress Monica Bellucci, the show was "molto Siciliano," a reference to the Dolce&Gabbana fashion vision.
Either way, there was definitely an aristocratic feel to the collection, from the dainty gilded head dressings that framed the models' demure hairdos, to the dainty little buttoned booties that adorned their feet.
Styles ranged from coats to capes, from long sheaths to ballooned shorts, from pleated skirts to ruffled tops. But no matter the cut, gold — whether beaded, sequined, embroidered, or simply worn as jewelry — made the difference.
To lighten the look, the designing duo interspersed white or pretty Victorian floral patterns into the basic black palette.
Missoni's look for next winter is urban nymph. In the woodland fairy sense.
The silhouette of the collection was slim. Tightly-fitting knit pants, figure-hugging dresses and wraps that button in back to a snug close all allow the Missoni heroine to nimbly navigate the concrete jungle.
In the sleek vein, designer Angela Missoni introduced a new texture to the Missoni look: latex. Gray latex gloves and corsets provide a protective layer for our adventurer.
While the sleeveless dresses and lightweight wraps could easily transcend seasons, Missoni also fortified the collection with winter-ready items such as stole wraps that snake around the body, knitwear coats with fur collars and fur hats that swirl around the head.
Missoni also glitzes up the collection with sequins — a trend on the Milan runways — reaching for more natural hues of copper and silver.
The basic color scheme was graphite, evoking asphalt, set off by autumnal hues in browns and oranges and forest greens.
Footwear included boots with decorative panels in the back extending down to the thick heel — creating accents in gold, faux wood or the Missoni trademark knit — or similarly adorned high-heeled pumps.
Always hovering in the background during this round of Milan collections is a romance between an officer and a damsel, as in so many 19th century love stories — only the woman is playing both roles.
This is particularly evident at Ferragamo, whose winter collection starts with a parade of gold-buttoned double-breasted military coats and ends in a waltz of romantic evening gowns.
The Ferragamo collection was previewed by Massimiliano Giornetti, who also designs the label's menswear.
By day, the Ferragamo woman favors a crisp gray flannel double-breasted suit complete with epaulettes, or a lightweight Astrakhan fur skirt under a double-breasted jacket.