Fendi and Prada: chinchilla, mink and futuristic flying caps

Faux-savage women prowled down the catwalks at Milan's Fashion Week on Thursday, enveloped in luxurious chinchilla and mink stoles, British-inspired woollen wrap dresses and futuristic flying caps.

MaxMara designer Laura Lusuardi's drew on the classic British country look for her show, reinterpreting kilts and urbanising Irish knitwear with long-haired alpaca and camel tartan bustiers and skirts.

The collection was aimed at "the active, younger and more animated woman," Lusuardi said backstage: "She is always elegant though, and ageless in her way."

But while she described the collection's tones - light greys, browns, Sixties' yellows, antique silvers and golds - as "colours of the city," Lusuardi's models had an almost wild, earthy vibe about them.

Figure-hugging knitted jumper-dresses were topped with oversized fur neckwarmers, and leather skirts were paired with fur bodices or a long, dark brown, oversized coat that masked the face, enveloping its wearer up to the eyes.

In Fendi's show, Karl Lagerfield and Silvia Venturini Fendi dazzled with a collection inspired by the "perverse" woman, with models wearing high-heeled brogues and swinging mustard, blue and red boxed bags, their hair in chignons.

"She's a composed woman with moments of madness and frivolity. A woman who dares," Fendi told AFP backstage before the show.

High necklines with sober skirts to the knee were broken up by dashes of pink, orange, green and azure, in block colours or glimpsed through pleats, for "a woman who has an idea of colour that's all her own."

The designers added a "faux-savage" tinge to the collection with asymmetrical jackets in netting and shetland, and cloaks and luxurious stoles in collages of sable, fox, chinchilla and mink.

In an attempt to "move away from the concept of the 'it' bag," Fendi and Lagerfield presented a wider collection for the autumn-winter show, featuring highly structured bags in leather, or in varnished blues and oranges.

Wide coats in dark blues and greys tailored in at the thigh were set off by coloured tights and brogues feminised with a lace-like design etched by laser.

The star detail was a clutch decorated with semi-precious stones, one of Fendi's favourites. "It's a jewel, almost too pretty to wear," she sighed.

Ditching the daring woman for the urban ballerina, the D&G show was an explosion of fluorescent oranges, pinks and greens with models sporting cotton and silk T-shirts over tutu-style brightly-coloured feather skirts.

Huge multi-coloured letters featured on most of the outfits, from silk and chiffron one-pieces to woollen tube dresses worn with masculine, oversized jackets and high-heeled trainers.

At Prada, the last main show of the day, guests perched on polystyrene cubes alongside a brilliant white runway spanning two floors, in theme with Miuccia Prada's crew of futuristic airwomen and sea-creature creations.

Pillar-box red, black and cream coats with large silver buttons were topped off with black, silver or turquoise flying helmet-style caps in fur, velvet and snakeskin.

Dresses were medium-long, hemmed just above the knee, with wide and soft checkered patterns on the front in dark green, black, white and burgundy, with a block of strong contrasting colour on the reverse.

A couple of silk, long-sleeved robes suggestive of pyjamas in pale blue and pink heralded in a collection of wide-lapelled dresses in delicate oranges and yellows, adorned with large, shimmering scales that rustled down the catwalk.

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