Prada eschews glitz and glam for schoolyard prim but Cavalli makes it bright and tight

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The Independent Online

High-octane glamour, an old friend of the catwalks of Milan, went out the back door yesterday when Miuccia Prada unveiled her spring/summer 2001 collection.

High-octane glamour, an old friend of the catwalks of Milan, went out the back door yesterday when Miuccia Prada unveiled her spring/summer 2001 collection.

Instead, the cognoscenti was treated to an austere display of fine tailoring and sombre knitwear.

The twist? It all looked as if it belonged on the backs of naughty schoolgirls, from the grey and black blazers and pale blue school shirts, to the pleated skirts and black knee socks worn with vicious high heels - the sort of shoes that the headmistress would certainly not approve of. It was as if a 16-year-old had been consulted, selecting only the sort of clothes she would deem cool.

Splashes of colour did make an appearance, with salmon pink vests, orange tank tops, banana yellow shirts and neon yellow and white printed jackets.

The school swot - her hair in a bun and sporting small round glasses - looked particularly fetching in her emerald green jacket and grey pleated skirt. At one stage, every pupil appeared to have customised their uniforms by wearing ribbed wool tummy warmers over their shirts and pinafore dresses or alternatively cutting the bottoms of their jackets so they revealed a good deal of stomach.

The look was much more grown up for evening wear: black velvet skirts were worn with sparkling bra tops or black shirts that dazzled with beaded collars.

However, Prada's collection never once dipped into the glitzy or the glam - and it was the better and more original for it.

Earlier, big blond hairdos, leopard-print leggings and cleavages that heaved under tight, sequinned tops, were on display at the Roberto Cavalli show - and that was just the audience.

Out marched the glamorous full-on flash clothes that have become synonymous with this man's name. His label is sported by the likes of Madonna and Lenny Kravitz and has become the ultimate rock'n'roll attire. As usual, everything came with sequins, diamonds and lashings of gold. It is a filthy rich look that goes down well with the Ferrari driving set who will no doubt be spending next summer in Portofina, the holiday resort playground for Italian playboys.

What could possibly be better than a white leather swimsuit for the beach? How about a backless chiffon gown printed with giant diamonds for dancing the night away in a disco?

This collection - bright, tight and mostly semi-transparent - should come with a health warning: those with faint hearts need not apply.

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