Shape and color engaged designers on the second day of Milan Fashion Week, featuring shows by Fendi, Max Mara, Just Cavalli and Prada.
Some highlights from Thursday's shows:
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No designer notes were prepared for the Fendi show — instead there were sketches by Karl Lagerfeld that underlined the collection as a study in graphic clarity.
That vision included a bird-of-paradise in every bag, animating the must-have accessory as if about to take flight, and reminiscent of the whimsical bag baubles that have become a Fendi tradition.
"He chose the bird-of-paradise because it is so graphic and sharp," Sylvia Venturi Fendi said backstage. "It is also the symbol of nobility."
The collection was a study in the graphic construction of shapes and textures. The looks were often linear — skirts, dresses and coats constructed of panels, sometimes in contrasting colors and materials. Furry boots, leg warmers or arm cuffs weren't mere cozy additions but another graphic element that balanced the look.
The rigidity gave way, eventually, to fun looks like big puffy coats that finished in a gathered ruffle, worn with furry ankle boots. And there was a little flounce in some femininely puffed-up pea-coats.
The focus of the collection was on the construction of the clothes, Venturi Fendi said.
"It is a great collection, where you really see his genius," she said of Lagerfeld.
Actress Kate Mara swept into the Max Mara show clutching closed her sea-foam green Max Mara overcoat like a blanket. Beneath it, she wore a matching sheath dress
Her pose, down to the salt-swept hair, echoed down the runway, which channeled the iconic photographs of Marilyn Monroe taken with the starlet wrapped in a worn Norwegian cardigan and a camel-colored blanket.
The Max Mara girl for next winter is a bombshell, a smart one at that: She walks along the wintery beach, enveloped in a large, luxurious overcoat and her thoughts, clutching both close. We know she is smart from her cat-rimmed glasses.
Underneath the rich outerwear, the silhouette is tight and sexy: sheath dresses out of the softest, wispiest cashmere or shiny quilting. Strapless, they are worn with a nearly sheer cashmere sweater.
The color palate was camel and ivory with sun-washed shades of green and blue. Monochromes were broken up by checks, houndstooth or animal print patterns. The shoe of choice was an easy-to-wear tasseled moccasin.