Milan woos luxury spenders with Baroque opulence

Tue Feb 28, 2012 11:51am EST
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By Antonella Ciancio

MILAN (Reuters) - Designers at Milan Fashion Week stitched velvet roses and gilded threads on embroidered winter fabrics seeking to lure the kinds of consumers who can still afford to splash out on luxury clothes during a period of financial austerity across Europe.

Salvatore Ferragamo, Dolce & Gabbana, Armani, Prada and other top Italian labels showed off their tailoring skills this week in an effort to delight the billionaires from China to Russia whose spending has so far shielded the luxury industry from the effects of a euro zone debt crisis that has shattered global market confidence in a number of countries.

Designer Massimiliano Giornetti created velvet knee-high boots with hand-stitched embroidery for his Salvatore Ferragamo autumn/winter 2012 show. Models walked in bare-shouldered dresses in a gilded room at the Milan stock exchange, where Ferragamo floated last year.

"I saw a new Renaissance in Milan this week," Barbara Atkin, Vice President of Fashion Direction at Canadian retail chain Holt Renfrew, told Reuters on the sidelines of the Dolce & Gabbana show. "Designers elaborated special fabrics to create works of art that cannot be copied by street fashion."

Fashion duo Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana sewed golden embroidery and printed little cherubs for a Baroque-inspired show, which had top celebrities Helen Mirren and Monica Bellucci transfixed under rows of flowery chandeliers.

The designers, who have dropped their edgy D&G brand to focus on their top line, wove in tapestry motifs, floral prints and velvet devore into their collection.

"This is modern-day romanticism," creative director Frida Giannini said.

Three-dimensional flowers added a romantic allure to Gucci's sexy evening dresses, with micro crystals sewn by hand. Feathers in iridescent green shone among brocades and silks.   Continued...