Hollywood fantasies take centre runway at Milan fashion week

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The Independent Online

For Giorgio Armani, the red carpet of film premieres and Hollywood parties is the ultimate catwalk.

For Giorgio Armani, the red carpet of film premieres and Hollywood parties is the ultimate catwalk.

But yesterday in Milan he had to make do with a fashion runway, where he sent out just the kind of dazzling, crystal-encrusted gowns that actresses adore. Those glittering frocks were the finale to a Spring/ Summer 2005 signature collection which had begun with more realistic clothes, such as fitted jackets and fluted trousers.

Armani is keenly aware that close links with Hollywood and its stars burnish his brand. Before his show yesterday he launched a new book of photographs taken at Oscar night parties since 1929. "Images of stars arriving on that fabled red carpet have fascinated me since my youth," he said.

Fantasy is always synonymous with fashion, but yesterday it emerged more strongly than ever. Marni appeared to have been designed for a pastoral idyll. The label favoured by rich bohemians swapped winter's furs forhessian sacking. Exoticism and the fantasy of travel gripped Anna Molinari, of her label Blumarine.

Christian Lacroix was also in Milan yesterday, to present his collection for Pucci. The playful brand is known for a loud style of multicoloured, psychedelic print. While floor-length frocks with swirling prints could only be destined for a screening at Cannes, there were also turquoise-and-fuschia bikinis to would suit any beach next Summer.

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