After incorporating Norman traces for winter looks, it was on to Spain's influence on the oft-conquered Sicily for next summer's womenswear looks previewed Sunday, the fifth day of Milan Fashion Week.
The designers are masters at harnessing passion, and Spain gives them plenty of material: black lace, ruffled skirts, silken fringe and red carnations.
It should be noted here that Italy historically tended to take conquests in stride, as epitomized by a saying that rhymes in Italian and is roughly translated: "Whether Spain or France rules, what's important is to eat" — putting acquisition of invaders' cultural attributes into proper perspective.
The show, as the collection, was tongue-in cheek theatrical: As the models were about to make their entrance, ushers in golden-accented uniforms ceremoniously removed velvet barriers that had prevented the arriving fashion crowd from trampling their blood-red runway carpet.
The looks were fierce, as in matador jackets were worn with high-waist bubble shorts, romantic, as indicated by a heart-and-rhinestone encrusted red jacket paired with a flowing black lace skirt, and sexy, with trademark corsets worn with stockings or a sheer black skirt.
Some were simply sweetly pretty: a lace poncho fashioned out of reddish-pink roses and finished with red fringe, paired with a short skirt or dress and worn with bejeweled ballerina flats.
Amid all the fanfare, the designers also quietly sent out brand classics: the corset, a knee-length black dress and a suit. Models tantalizingly carried display cases containing dolls wearing matching outfits. Something for collectors, perhaps?