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Prada turns back clock with return to 'Mad Men'

Clean lines and cat's eye glasses evoke memory of repressed secretaries

The Prada show is not only a highlight of Milan Fashion Week, it also plays a crucial part in setting the tone for the new season. Yesterday, Miuccia Prada focused on clean late Fifties and early Sixties lines which she called "classic, forever shapes", and the collection offered a convincing glimpse at the simplicity we may all be craving next season.

Many of the clothes were reminiscent of the TV show Mad Men and, teamed with hair styled into high buns and updated cat's eye glasses, evoked a repressed Sixties secretary. Neat, fur-trimmed princess line coats, shorter jackets, shell tops and full skirts came in Formica prints which recalled Miuccia Prada's own designs from the 1990s. Dresses in black wool and Fifties furnishing style patterns in shades of reds, mustards and browns came with fitted bodices and full round skirts. Underneath the classic surface, however, there was a hint of subversion, with ruffled or unexpectedly darted busts to dresses, full skirts and short coats made from a plastic coated jersey that resembled latex and woolly knee socks with frills on the front. Mrs Prada explained after the show that she was exploring, "the clichés of what women like, the frills and the bows," but added: "I never know if I like the clichés or not."

The D&G show earlier in the day was more of a carefree romp through a theme than a nuanced exploration. The collection was inspired by skiing but bore little resemblance to any of the practical outfits at the Winter Olympics, with no Lycra in sight.

Instead, given the city's reputation for glamour and the fun, party-loving attitude of D&G's customers, it was après ski rather than serious sporting endeavours that the autumn/winter collection was designed for.

"Happy hour, shopping time, all night parties." These were some of the hedonistic activities for which designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana created the D&G collection, which is the younger line to Dolce & Gabbana. Accordingly it was just the sort of cute, over the top attire that celebrities are likely to wear while posing on the slopes of Aspen or Whistler.

With mountain imagery playing in the background, models at Milan Fashion Week appeared in variations on Norwegian patterned knitwear and printed chiffon shirts and dresses. These were accessorised with ski goggles and helmets covered in red or silver crystals and giant fur yeti boots.

Clingy jumpsuits, dresses and oversized wrap cardigans with kimono sleeves came in a chunky Norwegian-style patterned knit featuring snowflakes and reindeer.