Back to the Sixties with pantsuits and kaftans

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The Independent Online

It was a question of out with the new and in with the old when the fashion pack gathered for the Pucci show at Milan Fashion Week yesterday.

It was a question of out with the new and in with the old when the fashion pack gathered for the Pucci show at Milan Fashion Week yesterday.

The usually brash label offered a somewhat pared-down Sixties look, with kaftans, chiffon scarf-neck gowns and plenty of pantsuits. But where was all the jet-set glamour? Considering that Pucci's signature is high-voltage prints, this collection seemed lacklustre compared with previous seasons. Block colours of lime, tangerine and apple-green were interspersed with black. In fact, there was so much black it deadened the collection.

The company appears to be so desperate to push the label into the future it had forgotten the essence of Pucci's heritage: sexy, bright, fun clothes. It is uncertain whether Pucci will renew its contract with Antonio Berardi - an announcement will be made at the end of this month.

Meanwhile, Bottega Veneta held their hotly awaited show in a white leather-walled studio. Bottega Veneta is one of Italy's premier luxury luggage labels, famed for its expensive plaited leather bags, which recently pushed the Fendi baguette off its prize "must-have" perch.

But up until two seasons ago Bottega Veneta had no clothing line to speak of. So what better way to invigorate a grand old house and tap into some street-cred cool than to draft in a couple of Brits: the designer Giles Deacon and the fashion stylist Katie Grand.

They did not disappoint. Playing with the dominant hard-edged theme of the season, they sent out a collection that was as sharp as a butcher's knife. Leather pieces, from boat-necked shirt-dresses and high-waisted, wide leather trousers to micro cycling shorts and shoulder-padded blousons - all looked suitably viscous in black, white, grey, silver and neon pink.

The models, their hair flicked back and encased in leather tubes, sported wrap-around black visors, leather caps and fishnet stockings, and looked like dead-ringers for Charlotte Rampling in the film The Night Porter.

Jumpsuits and sun dresses with buckled shoulder straps came in the company's trademark plaited leather, as did the giant-sized envelope bag that came up to the model's knees - a definite contender for the "must-have" bag of spring/summer 2001.

Just as crucial to next year's wardrobe will be Bottega's new trouser shape, in leather, cinched at the waist and very wide in the leg, not to mention the grey jersey track pants with silver go-faster studs down the side seams.

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