Large coats a mainstay for next winter from Milan

Friday - 2/22/2013, 11:04am EST

BY DANIELA PETROFF
AP Fashion Writer

MILAN (AP) -- Many of the fashions displayed on the Milan runway Thursday had a yesteryear appeal -- but with a contemporary edge.

Coats are a mainstay for next winter, many of them oversized with accentuated cuffs -- part of a trend toward architectural references in clothing. Fur coats and jackets make the biggest comeback in many a season, perhaps appealing to new markets in cold weather climates, and certainly fitting for the snowy Milan weather.

Many of the styles, from the flared skirts to belted suits, recalled couture favorites from earlier fashion eras. However, the styles were updated by paring down the silhouette and using coarse fabric for elegant wear that in the past has been associated with silkier materials.

Spandex gave a modern glint to looks, including form-fitting dresses, jumpsuits and turtleneck tops, which were softened with sewing details or by coupling them with softer materials like fur and cashmere. For romantic looks, there was lace paired with leather or animal prints for a new twist. Gold lame and sequins add luxury to sensual evening wear.

The palette featured a lot of blues, green, red, some white and flashes of yellow along with mainstay black.

Hardy, practical shoes were a mainstay, but designers aren't neglecting pretty looks and are still coming up with sandals, pumps and feminine slippers and booties.

Bags tend to be large, but not huge, and no few have a Mary Poppins practicality.

PRADA

The Prada finale was a long luxurious mink coat with ample collar and cuff like the ones the Hollywood divas used to wear in the 1950s. Underneath the model wore a sheer see-through silk dress.

It was only the showiest item of the winter collection presented Thursday evening, based on yesteryear luxury, from the opulent coats to the gilded gowns to the mink wraps.

Miuccia Prada season after season has a fashion vision, and follows it through regardless. This round she revisits vintage couture in a contemporary context.

Coats have extra wide cuffs and are often belted at the waist and flared toward the bottom. Skirts come in wide ballerina styles, as do some the dresses. The jumper dress is another 1950s look, which Prada revisits, even for evening, not to mention the many coat dresses in the collection.

Totally Prada, and anything but retro, was the uneven hemline (one side much longer than the other) that the designer used for daytime belted sheaths as well as gilded, belted gowns.

Fabrics ranged from coarse tweeds to shimmering metallic materials, plus leather and fur. Crocodile takes on new importance when used not only for bags, but also for skirts and even a suit.

The latest Prada shoe, either a sandal or a bootie, has a thick high heel, but a heavy rubber sole.

The sides of the voluminous bags in tweed and leather, including crocodile, were folded in such a way to give the impression of a feline face, perhaps inspired by a video of a cat that was part of the background of the show.

FENDI

Fendi is to fur what Ferrari is to cars. Yet given current concerns about animal rights, the brand has moved from the lavish fur coats that were all the rage in the 1980s to a more discreet way of interpreting fur as fashion.

Fendi creative director Silvia Venturini, daughter of one of the company's five founding sisters, opted for wisps of fur used as hair decorations, bracelets, or charms hanging from Fendi bags.

Fur also appeared as inserts in a skirt or a dress, or sheered and fashioned into a cozy, but not showy, jacket. Long fur, usually goat, also seen on other runways during Milan's preview showings, was used to make up a skirt or a cape.

For decades, German born designer Karl Lagerfeld has been working with Fendi, adding his flamboyant designing talent to their creative genius.

This round he offered a constructed slim silhouette, with accentuated shoulders and a knee-length hemline. The look is sophisticated rather than sexy and used deep, dark shades of red and blue, which along with black are becoming the staple colors for next winter.

In the accessory department, Fendi chose to reinvent its iconic handbags, from the clutch bag -- this time furry -- to a modern version of the Mary Poppins bag.

The shoes are sure to be a winter hit. Whether a pump, a boot or a lace-up, each pair was elaborately decorated, some in fur, and comes with a pointed toe and a glistening mirrored high heel.