MILAN — Emporio Armani took to the catwalks in Milan Fashion Week ahead of the hotly-awaited Roberto Cavalli show on Saturday after Donatella Versace showed off fabulous feathered gowns for the Oscar ceremony.
Singers Tina Turner and Ricky Martin were among the guests expected at the show by Italian fashion king Giorgio Armani's label, which has hired US actress Megan Fox for a sexy ad campaign that has proved a hit on the Internet.
The show built up expectations for the designs by 70-year-old Cavalli, who has bounced back from the economic crisis and is looking to tap new emerging markets with his brightly-coloured and overtly sensual clothes.
Friday's Versace gowns, part of the autumn/winter collection unveiled in the garden of the label's headquarters in the Italian fashion capital, left fashionistas in awe as their feathers trains floated down the catwalks.
Models also strode out in black leather military-style coats with gold Medusa buttons -- the Versace house trademark -- and tunics with open backs, as well as purple rollneck jumpers matched with leather pleated skirts.
Fur neck-warmers in white, purple and green set off the classic 'little black dress', updated by plunging v-shaped neck lines or crossed straps and striking tulip patterns in bright yellow and purple.
Backstage after the show, a tired but pleased-looking Donatella Versace showed off the collection highlights but gave few hints about who could be wearing the feathered gowns at the Oscar ceremony on Sunday.
Another take on the playful military uniform and feathers theme was seen earlier on Friday at Moschino's autumn-winter show, which starred a feathered creation and featured red, cream and black riding coats.
Gold bear-shaped pins, large pearl necklaces and long gloves softened "the rigid lines of that man's world that a woman knows all too well and can wear to perfection," Moschino's Rossella Jardini told her guests.
Slinky, classic black dresses that rested just below the knee were embellished with large white ruffles at the neckline and waist or a shirt worn with a bow tie, floral cummerbunds or the fantastical feathered-hen hat.
Satin floor-length and below-the-knee dresses in nude and candy pinks were the highlight of the evening wear, as well as shimmering gold trousers matched with black-trimmed, oversized double-breasted jackets.
The Etro show also featured tuxedo silhouettes and masculine jackets, adorned with tapestry motifs on the lapels in a collection shot through with burnt and rust tones, as well as soft greys and midnight blues.
"I was inspired by antique carpets, tapestries and embroideries ... everything that has a history," Veronica Etro said backstage before the show.
Heavy wools, tartans and tweeds were combined with metallic lurex pieces that shimmered like liquid and were accessorised with large, elegant round gold pendants or holster-style shoulder straps decorated with ancient coins.
Coats with tartan bodies and metallic leather arms were finished with a sheepskin collar, gilets were adorned with carpet-fringe tassels and simple black jackets were embellished with gold, Inca-esque designs.
"The colours and textures evoke borderlands, with women who have lived embattled lives: warrior women," Etro said.
In stark contrast, the women at Gianfranco Ferre were leading lives of languid indulgence, in silver, beige and gold cashmere and in velvet and silk dresses, worn with delicate flesh pink, grey or black pumps.
Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi's designs drew on "shapes and structures that reflect a feel for the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright," a US turn-of-the-century architect who designed the Guggenheim Museum.
Large jackets with asymmetrical lapels paired cashmere and fur, while dual-toned purple and black dresses to the knee were lifted with an open slit from nape to waist at the back, or with a silver cummerbund.
A play on textures saw velvet and sheepskin panelling on patterned coats, chiffon blouses or dresses, while an evening gown in alternating bands of satin clung to the body revealing traces of bare skin.
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