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Animal prints turn to stone at Roberto Cavalli for Milan Fashion Week

TOPSHOT - A model walks the runway during the Roberto Cavalli collection show at the Milan Fashion Week Womenswear Autumn/Winter 2024-2025 on February 21, 2024 in Milan.  (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)
TOPSHOT - A model walks the runway during the Roberto Cavalli collection show at the Milan Fashion Week Womenswear Autumn/Winter 2024-2025 on February 21, 2024 in Milan. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

Animal prints are in the DNA of Italian fashion brand Roberto Cavalli, but this week, designer Fausto Puglisi turned the animal to mineral.

Puglisi turned his gaze to marble for his new collection at Milan Fashion Week, a new twist for the flamboyant brand known for its skin-baring, eye-popping styles.

Gone were the brand's signature leopard, cheetah, zebra and python prints. Puglisi instead transformed those intricate designs into veins of marble in compelling grey, beige and white hues, and even green, mustard yellow and amethyst.

"I was very tired of animal print," the creative director said backstage after the show.

"Zebra is 20 years ago."

If the animal skins appeared to have escaped the clutch of Roberto Cavalli, they reappeared Friday at Blumarine, where newly named designer Walter Chiapponi opened his show with a very glam (faux) leopard coat and chose leopard tights as his go-to accessory.

More than 50 brands are showing off Fall/Winter 2024-2025 women's collections in Milan this week, attended by over 100,000 fashion buyers, media and brand representatives.

Whether on oversize puffer jackets, slinky dresses, trenchcoat or minis, Puglisi's choice to represent marble was a refreshing departure for the label, sacrificing none of its flashy, sexy spirit but adding a touch of Baroque decadence.

Puglisi said he was inspired by his personal collection of antique marble.

"I love it to death," the Sicilian designer said of the colourful marble seen throughout Italy, whether in villas of Pompeii or the Baroque churches in Rome.

An inspiration board backstage included photos of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome and the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul -- both decadent in their abundant use of ancient marble.

Puglisi said at first he was concerned that the marble would impart a cold feel to the clothing. He was proved wrong.

"Marble is very cold, but this is hot," he said.

- Bombers and bows -

If Cavalli managed to make cold hot, labels Max Mara, Fendi and Prada brought cozy back to the runway.

Ribbing and cable knits featured prominently, with new riffs on sweaters by Fendi's Kim Jones, who saw them as modified shrugs or capes, only partially covering the body but adding an extra layer of luxury.

At Max Mara, creative director Ian Griffiths opened the show Thursday with the brand's classic full-length wool coat -- this one in navy, a sophisticated moneyed look.

In a collection inspired by French writer Colette, Griffiths brought sensuous volume to the backs of jackets, modifying them as ultra-chic bombers, while decorative pinking at the hems of long coats imparted a light touch.

A ribbed wool band evoking a kimono's obi cinched the waist on black pants and skirts, while flat panels cascading from the back of a black miniskirt were a more minimalist, modern take on ruffles.

At Prada's runway show Thursday, models sauntered over a raised transparent floor covering grass and autumn leaves below in a show the co-designers Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons said was based on memory and history.

Strips of silk satin in black, pale pink or grape fluttered from the front of sleeveless shift dresses, while airy, transparent tunics came decorated with floral garlands in plush velvet.

Prada's collection was marked by a "fusion of men's sartorial references with lingerie and strict sharpness juxtaposed with bows and crystals", said Harrod's buyer Simon Longland.

Feminine twinsets in contrasting colours -- purple and orange here, pink and moss green there -- were paired with wool skirts past the knee with thick cuffs at the hem.

Whether at the shoulders, waist or bodice, bows peppered the collection, while rich fake sable adorned the shoulders, neckline and hem of cocktail dresses in ivory. — AFP

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