The world according to Dolce & Gabbana: Trouser suits won the wearability award on the first day of Milan fashion week. Marion Hume reports

THE CATWALK show of Madonna's costumiers, Dolce & Gabbana, opening Milan fashion week, took us on a voyage across the high seas with an outfit from every port.

We started in Sicily, but not the familiar Sicily that Italy's hottest design duo have pillaged for their 'demure young widows with heaving bosoms look'. Here instead was the Sicilian virgin, spied through the shutters in a shorty, lace-trimmed nightie, opaque black stockings and T Bar shoes.

Out on the street, our girl wore trousers - with mannish jackets cut slim and high to button over the breastbone and trail down to the knees. Trousers were slung from the hip and worn with waistcoats and men's vests.

Dolce & Gabbana have always done menswear for women. When they started doing menswear for men a few years ago, they sent out female models in their 'boyfriends' ' clothes. This time they reversed the idea. Among the girls in trousers and white Y-fronts - visible Marky-Mark-style - were men in wrap-around sarong skirts.

Then off we sailed to north Africa, where models appeared in see-through purdah. Beneath the veil were gaudy florals and gypsy fringes. In Greece, the most 'super' of the models wore simple floor-length Grecian sheets while the pint-sized models appeared in dresses of shredded floral and pastel scarves suggesting the romantic will-o'-the-wisp women of the 19th century painter Alma Tadema, whose work the duo admire.

Then we sailed out on to the high seas. Out came models in tattered and faded versions of Captain Bligh's uniform, the jackets teamed with sailors' trousers or tattered tulle ball skirts.

So what will the Dolce & Gabbana fans wear for next spring? They will wear the trouser suits, for these, in any one of the 101 varieties offered in the show, will look as good in real life as in a costume drama.

Leading article, page 17

(Photographs omitted)