Dolce & Gabbana put the corset back in vogue

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The Independent Online

Dolce & Gabbana put sex back on fashion's agenda yesterday with a show that tipped its cap to the lewd, rude and cartoonish designs of Thierry Mugler and Jean Paul Gaultier.

It was hard not to think of Gaultier's costumes for Madonna's 1990 Blond Ambition tour when the first model stepped out on to the UV-lit catwalk wearing a satin corset covered with clear plastic PVC, her hair scraped up into a tight ponytail.

Exhibitionists only need apply for the duo's black micro-mini jersey dresses, with bustiers bound by leather straps and buckles of fetish wear. There were a couple of nods to bourgeois dress codes in a bubblegum pink tweed skirt suit - although ladies wouldn't wear silver Barbarella shoes and jackets trimmed with plastic. Pop stars, on the other hand, will lap up the predatory femininity of this collection - where hourglass curves were accentuated by padding on the rear and cantilevered bras - as evidenced by the obvious delight of front-row guest, Kylie Minogue.

Even pop princesses might balk at trying out Matthew Williamson's new "skirt" design for Pucci, however. The British designer, now in his second season at the house best known for its psychedelic prints, proposed for spring/summer 2007 a garment best described as a loincloth. The challenge at Pucci is to find new ways to utilise its historic print archive, and though Williamson struggled to make those tiny, split skirts look convincing, his simple 1960s tunics and matching tights were workable, if nothing new.

The same decade's Space Age look dominated the catwalk at Fendi, where Karl Lagerfeld sent out a strong collection of draped A-line dresses in silver or optical white, trimmed with iridescent foil - accessorised by the brand's cult handbags, this season in envelope shapes or fringed with loop of black cellophane.

It was revealed yesterday that the Parisian brand, Chloe, has found a successor for British designer Phoebe Philo, who resigned in January. Paolo Melin Anderson, a senior designer at Marni, is tipped to replace her, according to industry bible, Women's Wear Daily. Anderson, a Swede, has had no public profile, but the appointment of "hidden" talent to head up major houses is a strategy adopted at Yves Saint Laurent and Gucci.

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