Donatella Versace bared her soul at Milan fashion week, joining Prada and Gucci in creating a soulful collection which contrasted sharply with Moschino's swinging sixties and Etro's garden of Eden.
Versace's feminine summer/spring 2013 offering was delicate and intensely feminine, starring chiffon creations with seductive lace embellishments.
The first looks onto the runway were hot pants and a top revealing the midriff, both in an intricate nude lace that looked like a second skin.
Pale blues, oranges and greens then dominated the show in the lush courtyard of Versace's palace headquarters in the Milan fashion district, with a series of lingerie pieces, cocktail dresses and long, floating evening gowns.
Black or nude lace marked nearly every creation, used to reveal nude skin under a cut-away pattern on trousers, as swirling centre-pieces on short blue dresses or as the hem of a skirt on an ivory-coloured shirt dress.
Sensual lingerie pieces in lace were worn with black masculine jackets or cream ones cinched in at the waist, as well as a striking leather jacket.
The shoes were killer high heels, with straps that wound around the leg up to the knee, and when worn with a tunic-inspired long-sleeved mini-dress pulled in with two belts, they evoked the raw sensuality of ancient Rome.
The fashion house's Medusa logo was printed in tie-dye on many of the dresses, and there was an abundance of the gold and silver adornments so loved by Donatella, the sister of the late fashion legend Gianni Versace.
Dresses were worn with large choker necklaces made of slim metal chains, a theme then picked up in skirts, tops and even a dress made of the free-moving chains which swished from side to side to create a sense of liquidity.
Over at Moschino, the sixties were back with a bang in a show starring girls with beehive hairstyles, psychedelic dresses and flared trousers.
The catwalk kicked off with a series of striped outfits, black horizontal stripes down white mini-skirts, the front of trouser legs or on short jackets, all worn with black or white horse-riding-style helmets.
But it was flower power that reigned, with the stripes giving way to dresses and close-cut suits in yellows, blues and reds adorned with flowers, a theme regularly emerging on catwalks for the upcoming spring and summer season.
Dresses and short jumpsuits were worn high at the neck, with panels cut out at the side to show skin, while mustard yellow and baby pink suits and short jumpsuits were worn with short white gloves and large hoop earrings.
As the song Let's Have a Good Time belted out over the soundtrack, the show took a racy turn with black-netting dresses worn over white underwear.
Designer Rosella Jardini's women were on the whole sporty and carefree in tennis-style skirts and light tunics with tiny pockets on the front, though also ready for disco dancing in short silver dresses jazzed up with gemstones.
Flowers were also a central theme over at Etro, where the collection seemed to conjure up a garden of Eden, with earthy colour tones brightened by large hand-painted prints of birds of paradise, butterflies and flamingos.
"Rooted in a dream-like earthly paradise, the collection delves into a female fantasy yet imparts a sense of discipline and rigorous restraint in its simplified shapes and compact materials," the luxury brand said.
Designer Veronica Etro drew on Oriental influences, another regular theme cropping up this fashion week, with a modern take on the kimono with short jackets, cropped wide-legged judo trousers and soft, pyjama-style suits.
The fashion house said the collection was inspired by "richly feminine Orientalist paintings" and "Japanese vase prints," though there were clear nods to the poncho and sari as well, with dresses cut from single squares of fabric.
For the evening, glittering striped trousers, a silver dress with large sparkling beads, a canary yellow dress (which the model had to keep hitching back into place), or pink and black trousers with orange ruffles down the legs.
The result was a rather confusing mix of themes and colours, a white suit with blue flowers and wide red, green and black stripes on the sleeves raised eyebrows, though embroidered, quilted kimonos gave the collection an edge.
Milan fashion week enters its fourth day on Saturday, with Bottega Veneta and Fendi taking to the catwalks, followed by Antonio Marras and Jil Sander.
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