Dispatches from Milan: Versace, Tod’s & Emporio Armani

Day three: Versace, Tod’s & Emporio Armani

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By: Rebecca Lowthorpe Follow @Rebecca_ELLE

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1. Versace 2. Versace 3. Emporio Armani

There were no surprises at Versace. And why mess with the formula of a lifetime? Poker-straight Donatella hair. Spike heels. Sexy dresses. Fur coats. Gold. Medusa heads. Bare thighs. Ornate embellishment. Fierce attitude. Donatella said this collection was all about ‘the power of a woman, not just her inner strength, but the attitude she presents to the world. Every woman can find that power in Versace’. Actually, we all know that’s hardly likely to be the case, even if the sentiment is a positive one.

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Few women have time to iron their hair like that, for one thing, let alone have the confidence to step into one of those short bias-cut dresses in slippery satin with an asymmetric hem.Or indeed sling a gold Medusa-head medallion around their neck, or pull on a pair of extravagantly ornate over-the-knee boots. But the Versace customer will. She is sensual, feminine, provocative and proud, according to Donatella. And Donatella should know, since she is the living embodiment of the brand. The designer herself might not wear the dresses whose seams were left defiantly open to reveal slashes of skin beneath or the trapeze coat that came in sulphur yellow satin or the big glossy red alpaca coat. But that’s only because she always wears black – and there was plenty of that. In fact Donatella was the best advert of all when she stepped out to take her bow in her black second-skin trousers with golden military-inspired frogging on the hips. Said frogging turned up on everything from narrow coats and jackets to dresses and a white trouser suit that looked like the most glamorous parade uniform ever constructed. This collection was manna from heaven for the Versace purist. And Donatella, of course.

Left to right: Versace, Tod's, Emporio Armani

In just two seasons Alessandra Facchinetti has reinvigorated Tod’s with a ready-to-wear line that the luxury leather goods label can be proud of. This was her second outing and, in keeping with the spirit of the house’s uber-luxuriousness, there wasn’t a fabric that didn’t pass the dry-clean-only test: lacquered leather, cashmere, mink, silk jacquard – it was an orgy of richness.

But with shapes kept for the most part simple and with the sophisticated colour palette of navy, claret, pale violet and soft grey-blues, the clothes exuded a modern opulence. What’s interesting about Tod’s is the women behind it. Not just Facchinetti, who brings with her vast experience from Gucci and Valentino, but also the magazine fashion director Caroline Issa who happens to be one of street-style’s most photographed women – and there’s a good reason for that. You could see her taste at work as much as Facchinetti’s in the simple leather shirt dresses, easy coats, neat jackets and window pane checked trouser suits. Both Facchinetti and Issa are not just the creator of the clothes and the consultant and stylist of the show, they are also the women who Tod’s aspires to dress. And that’s a powerful combination.

Giorgio Armani was in quirky stride with his fresh, upbeat Emporio show. Enormous bowler hats topped the over-sized suits that sped down the catwalk at such a pace thanks to the sprightly flats – loafers with pearl buttons or chunky patent hiking boots. The big trouser was the key to almost every look – voluminous and cropped – it looked great, particularly in inky velvet for evening or with a trace of pinstripe pearls. New additions included the half-waistcoat effect on close fitting tops, great coats with raw-cut edges and those made in long glossy fur. Armani called the collection ‘Al Momento’ – ‘Now’ – and it was of this moment in the sense that it hit the current beat of masculine-feminine tailoring while remaining defiantly of Armani’s World.

See the full Versace collection

Street style from Milan

See all the bags from A/W 2014

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