Cold shoulders? No, they're hot, says Donatella

Shoulders are the new erogenous zone, according to Versace in Milan. Carola Long reports

Eros, be calm. Versace's spring/summer collection, shown in Milan yesterday, hailed the shoulder as a "new erogenous zone".

Only in the fashion world, perhaps – but then the label is known for its sex appeal, and designer Donatella Versace will get away with the claim. Exposed shoulder blades were the vogue at several shows at Milan, along with rather more significant themes of bright blocked colour and pattern.

The Versace collection began with all-white dresses, but as the show was based around "a playful game of proportions and opposites" there were also flashes of red, turquoise, coloured stripes and a bright pattern made up of the Greek key design which forms part of the label's logo.

The key pattern also informed geometrically arranged inserts of clear and coloured PVC, which appeared on clingy pencil dresses and offered glimpses of flesh. This being Versace, however, many dresses offered more than just glimpses, with decorative back belts known as martingales showing off the shoulders and revealing and framing the back. Floor-length gowns with bodices made of woven fringes which cascaded to the floor are sure to be coming soon to an awards ceremony near you.

The first show of the day, Moschino featured large, cartoonish spots and stripes throughout in a palette of mainly red, cream, black, white and yellow. Shapes included puffy cotton skirts, ruffled shirts, high-waisted jeans and cropped trousers and boxy Chanel-style jackets. Accessories came in the form of cream cowboy hats and cream scarves with black polka dots. Overall, the collection's spots and voluminous shapes were reminiscent of Lacroix's exuberant spirit and use of volume. Also within the collection there were off-the-shoulder peasant blouses in red and blue prints, which have cropped up in various forms at Fendi, D&G and Alberta Ferretti as well as at Marc Jacobs in New York.

At Etro, the peasant blouse came with voluminous sleeves with cut-out shoulders, in cream with gold sequins and in the form of printed tunics and smock dresses with one shoulder revealed. One of these was in bright cobalt blue, a key colour of the season. The peasant blouse was memorably designated high fashion by Yves Saint Laurent in the Seventies, and the jewel colours and shapes that have appeared this week, notably at Gucci, also recall his heyday.

In addition to the peasant blouses, tunics and dresses at Etro, there were other Seventies references at work, reinforcing signs from New York and London that the era is a major influence for next season. A white linen flared trouser suit recalled Bianca Jagger in her Studio 54 days, while mustard silk jumpsuits and halternecks in the paisley silk scarf print for which Etro is famous also evoked the disco decade. In a welcome alternative to the hard benches that the fashion crowd normally sits on, each place had a cushion in one of Etro's patterned silks.

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