The collections being previewed during Milan fashion week, in its fourth day Saturday, are easy to wear and roomy, not binding, meant for every day and not rarified occasions.
Here are some highlights from Saturday's shows:
CULTURAL AMBASSADORS PAIR UP
Oscar-winning filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino's latest film opened Giorgio Armani's womenswear collection for next summer, teaming up two of Italy's top cultural ambassadors.
The art short titled "Sand" formed a backdrop for the Armani collection inspired by Mediterranean sands both in its colours — powdery grey, rosy white, pearly beige, lava black — and in the undulating motion created by the light, often translucent, textiles.
The collection projected a modern, urban feel, united by fluid silhouettes and rich but diaphanous textiles.
As the looks unfurled down the runway, another theme emerged, one of constant cultural flows among the peoples of the Mediterranean rim and the role of the sea, where in recent months migrants have died as they flee strife for safety in Europe.
In Sorrentino's film, a man and a woman lie on the beach coiled in rope, holding hands.
Was he intentionally referring to the record flow of humanity this year toward Italy's southern shores? "Indirectly, perhaps yes," said the filmmaker, who won the foreign-language Academy Award earlier this year for "The Great Beauty."
Juliette Binoche, on hand for the show, said she admires Armani's looks for "the elegance of the noble fabrics."
"He started everything, he showed everybody the way, he traced the path for everybody after him," the actress said.
NO MONOTONY HERE
Roberto Cavalli's sensual collection incorporated the feminine elements of silk, lace and accordion pleats.
Cavalli favoured attention-grabbing billowing gowns in bright psychedelic floral prints or his trademark animal prints. This time the zebra got top billing, notably on a spectacular halter dress that floated down the runway.
Cavalli's rocker spirit came through in all-white lace ensembles, distressed jeans with jacquard underlay and feathery accents on black sheer tops paired with bead-covered trousers.
There was a gladiatorial vibe to a mauve lace-bodiced dress with a short pleated skirt. Cavalli embraced the two-dress-in-one trend on Milan runways, with long gowns hanging sensually open over minidresses.
"I hate monotony, because life needs to be something special," Cavalli said before the show.
The designer also told reporters that he is in advanced stages of discussions over the sale of his fashion company -- but that he would remain firmly at the creative helm.
On hand was long-time friend, supermodel Heidi Klum, in town to host Saturday night's amfAR fundraiser, supporting research that aims to find a cure for AIDS by 2020.
Rodolfo Paglialunga didn't consult the archives to make his debut collection for the Jil Sander label. He didn't have to.
"I knew very well Jil Sander because I grew up looking at her. I didn't want to make a copy of a Jil Sander look," Paglialunga said backstage after the show. "I didn't think minimalist or not."
The looks were androgynous with strong references to school uniforms in both form, with sturdy materials, and in mascot-friendly colours like maroon, navy and sky blue.
Paglialunga redefined minimalism by playing with proportions. Long blouses were tucked into high-waisted belted skirts, wide pants had skirt-like sweep and jumper dresses were slit open to reveal the hem of a shirtdress.
The fashion crowd was appreciative, applauding wildly for curtain calls.
DEDICATED TO MOVEMENT
Evolving from a dancer's wrap, the latest styles from Bottega Veneta put a premium on a woman's freedom of movement.
Creative director Tomas Maier used everyday materials like denim and gingham, embellished with sequins and beads. Sheer mesh overlays, from the tulle used in a dancer's tutu, added mystery and movement to the looks.
Maier said in his show notes he was inspired by a woman "who has beautiful posture, moves her arms gracefully and has a dancer's walk."Suggest a correction