February 24, 2017 / 9:48 PM / in 10 months

Vionnet's birds of paradise fly in Milan palazzo

MILAN (Reuters) - Fashion house Vionnet unveiled an airy and colorful collection inspired by birds of paradise in the brand’s first fashion show in Milan following its decision to switch from the Paris catwalks.

Models backstage during Vionnet Autumn/Winter 2017 women collection during Milan's Fashion Week, in Milan, Italy February 24, 2017. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

True to its signature draping techniques and fluidity, Vionnet’s autumn and winter 2017/18 collection showcased light feminine designs, with long transparent skirts, pleated gowns and silky dresses.

“The fantastic birds of paradise of Papua New Guinea give inspiration, their theatrical feathers and their tropical colors suggest optimism ... they become a muse, for a modern and timeless woman who is always flying,” read a style note.

Designer and owner Goga Ashkenazi showcased dresses decorated with white designs of birds, others were made in light fabrics with bird prints.

The lightness of the looks was interrupted at times by heavy coats covering the dresses, capes with fur cuffs as well as denim trousers and tops, used in past collections by the brand.

For the evening, sparkly dresses were alternated with sequined ones or black pants matched with long silky tunics with plunging necklines.

A model poses backstage for Vionnet Autumn/Winter 2017 women collection during Milan's Fashion Week, in Milan, Italy February 24, 2017. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

Models walked in a succession of frescoed and wooden beamed rooms of the 15th century Milan palazzo Casa degli Atelliani, as guests sat in upholstered chairs, window seats and loungers.

The color of the designs ranged from the subtle beige, taupe and orchid white to acid greens and fuschia, and bold red, orange and turquoise.

Slideshow (2 Images)

Models wore gold chain necklaces with lock charms and bright or metallic leather ankle boots or high heeled strapped sandals.

“The decision by Vionnet to showcase its collection here is an important one ... Ashkenazi spends a lot of time in Milan and feels at home here, although the brand is historically French,” Carlo Capasa, head of the Italian national fashion association CNMI told Reuters on Friday.

The group was founded in Paris in 1912 by French couturier Madeleine Vionnet. Kazakh billionaire Goga Ashkenazi - known for her high-society friends and lifestyle - bought a majority stake in the brand in May 2012, after it had been relaunched by a group of Italian entrepreneurs led by former Valentino head Matteo Marzotto.

Designers typically only put on a show at one of the four fashion capitals in a season.

Milan fashion week runs until Monday, with collections from Dolce & Gabbana, Missoni and Armani still to be unveiled.

Reporting by Giulia Segreti; Editing by Alison Williams

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