Versace rocks Milan Fashion Week with leather and chainmail

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Milan Fashion Week continued yesterday with a show of strength by Versace, a label buoyed by its recent collaboration with high-street giant H&M and a return to the Paris couture schedule last month.

Donatella Versace's collection of what she termed "rock chick" pieces harked back to the brand's 1990s heyday, with leather-strapped harnesses acting as yokes on minidresses and eyelet fastenings on cutaway corsetted cocktail dresses, recalling that safety pin number worn by Elizabeth Hurley.

Coats and dresses in black wool were embellished with glittering visigoth crucifixes, which later became a digital print on pencil skirts and daywear, picked out in jewel colours reminiscent of stained-glass windows.

A bullish selection of dresses on which the brand's name was spelled out was a glorious spot of logo-heavy self-promotion from a label revelling in a zeitgeist-y appreciation of what it does best.

This was especially apparent in the final sequence of full-length chainmail evening gowns, sheer but for flesh-coloured under-pinnings and exaggerated at the bust and hips by Boudicca-style armoury.

Earlier, Milan had been treated to a girlish offering from the Italian megabrand Moschino. Models walked to a drummed tattoo in what creative director Rosella Jardini described as a "swinging parade".

Military influences cropped up as gold hardware on black wool and quilted leather coats, and a traditional trench was re-worked in bright yellow. "I decided to use black with vibrant pops of colour, such as fuchsia, Yves Klein blue and canary yellow. I wanted a slimmer and more structured silhouette," said Jardini.

Family business Etro took opulence in a more subdued direction, showing the house's trademark paisley print in dark shades printed onto chiffon column dresses that were given texture and perspective through patches of velvet and swirling Op-art graphics. Here too, tailoring was given a military once-over, with structured tweed blazers belted with equestrian-looking panniers.

After acclaim for her graphically printed collection on Thursday evening, Miuccia Prada attended the launch yesterday of "Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations", the New York Costume Institute's spring exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Jil Sander.....back at Jil Sander

After Thursday's news that the designer Raf Simons would leave his post at Jil Sander, the Italian fashion house announced yesterday it was appointing the woman who founded the company more than 44 years ago.

"I am very happy and excited to be back," Jil Sander said in a statement. "The fashion world needs original voices and genuine signatures."

For Sander, who sold a 75 per cent stake in her company to the Prada group in 1999, this will, it is hoped, be a case of third time lucky. She has left her label twice before, after disagreements with Patrizio Bertelli, CEO at the time.

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