Milan Fashion Week, through thick and thin

Milan Fashion Week kicked off Wednesday with a study in contrasts, from Briton John Richmond's sassy 1960s throwbacks to Gucci's austere classics and Elena Miro's full-figured goodness.

Richmond set the tone with the Beatles 1967 hit "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" as he sent his models down the catwalk in hip-hugging pin-striped bell bottoms, slit to the calf.

Also redolent of the era were stark black-and-white numbers in a show that restricted colours almost exclusively to the models' bright red or green or blue platform shoes.

Teasing peekaboos came in many variations - a one-button jacket or waistcoat offering glimpses of bare breast, a see-through black chiffon top over a sensible pencil skirt or a black leather grid on the back of a pair of jeans.

The silken evening wear played with classic draping or soft pleating, also drawing the eye to bare thighs or shoulders.

An emerald green evening gown with a black-and-silver neckline capped the show to enthusiastic applause as 1970 hit single "My Sweet Lord" by ex-Beatle George Harrison played in the background.

Gucci preferred classical music to accompany its parade of rich colours like emerald, jade and copper, trimmed with gold accessories such as a wide cinch trailing tassels behind it.

The models, their hair slicked back into buns, wore bright red lipstick to complete a look of detached chic.

The impression they gave of cool sophistication bordering on dominatrix lite was emphasised by multiple variations of black leather cut into fine strips.

A show-stopper was a black decollete suit jacket over baggy low-crotched trousers.

The contrast could not be starker with designer Elena Miro's happy-go-lucky collection of frocks for "plus-sized" women.

Her voluptuous models took to the catwalk flaunting their full figures, ample breasts and thighs, as well as their coquettish smiles, against the backdrop of a romantic black-and-white cafe scene decorated with real flowers.

The independent show was a riposte to the fashion house's exclusion from the official programme of Milan Fashion Week after opening the event for the past five years.

It harked to the 1950s, "when the beauty of women, the round shapes and soft bodies" were de rigueur, the designer told AFP backstage before the show.

"Every kind of woman should be represented on the catwalk," said the designer, whose real name is Elena Miroglio. "This kind of soft woman likes to dress like everyone else."

Miroglio, who herself is diminutive and quite thin, recognises that designing for larger women is more challenging than for the more linear, but said that through her 25 years of experience she had developed the "knowhow about proportions and shapes".

A move towards more generously sized models has gained momentum since the death from anorexia in 2006 of Brazilian model Ana Carolina Reston, which shocked the fashion world.

Leading fashion magazine Elle, in a reflection of the expanding market for women who defy the super-slender ideals of the catwalk, put out a special issue in March featuring larger models - and sales jumped.

A member of Miroglio's line-up, 19-year-old Tegan Stum of Texas, called the fashion world's standard thin model "a bit unhealthy".

Stum, who also models for plus size labels Evans and Simply Be, said she decided to accept her shape because she had never succeeded in losing weight. The plus side of being a plus size? "I eat whatever I want!"

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Middleweight

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's fastest growing full s...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Recruitment Genius: Commercial Engineer

    £30000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Estimating, preparation of tech...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Support Technician

    £14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will work as part of a smal...

    Day In a Page

    Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
    Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

    Fifa corruption arrests

    All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
    Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

    The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

    In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

    Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
    Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

    How Stephen Mangan got his range

    Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
    The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

    The ZX Spectrum is back

    The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
    Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

    Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

    The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
    Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

    Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

    If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
    The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

    The quirks of work perks

    From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
    Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

    Is bridge becoming hip?

    The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
    Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

    The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

    Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
    The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

    The rise of Lego Clubs

    How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
    5 best running glasses

    On your marks: 5 best running glasses

    Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
    Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

    'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

    Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
    Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

    Please save my husband

    As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada