MILAN (Reuters Life!) - Italian fashion designers created shimmering, fluid looks for their 2011 spring/summer collections, mixing fringes and lengths to seduce women as conscious of their bodies as of their money.
Crystal embroideries, golden belts and mirror heels shone at the Milan shows ended on Tuesday. A longer calendar and a new central location attracted more buyers than last year, confirming signs of recovery for luxury good brands.
"Buyers increased to over 15,000 this year, with more coming from Asia and the United States," Mario Boselli, president of Italy's National Chamber of Fashion, said on Tuesday.
"There was more vigor, also because of the improved economic situation after the crisis," he said.
Fashion houses Cavalli and Ferragamo said sales continued to rise in the third quarter, but kept a cautious outlook for the rest of 2010, as many see 2011 as a test year for recovery.
A relaxed, sensual elegance inspired Dolce&Gabbana, whose bride-to-be models wore white clothes made from bed linens and tablecloths in a tribute to Italy's best sartorial tradition.
Crystals were sewn on long-slung robes, like those seen at Armani, whose blue collection was inspired by desert nomads.
"I wanted very sexy clothes, but wearable," Armani told reporters after his glittering, linear show.
His models wore iridescent fabrics, while trousers were topped by tunics, creating a layered silhouette.
"Buyers ask for things they can sell... Not all women are mannequins," Armani said, adding demand for evening dresses was rising, as people seek special clothes for their full wardrobes.
Roberto Cavalli celebrated his 40th anniversary in the fashion world with a sexy, glitzy-rock collection, which featured free-flowing fringes on pants, necklaces and bags.
Glamour was also synonymous with celebrities.
If British model Naomi Campbell celebrated in tears at Dolce&Gabbana her 25th anniversary in the business, American actor George Clooney enjoyed with his Italian girlfriend Elisabetta Canalis his return to fashion's red carpet at Armani.
Prada proved again that not all women are made equal with a "minimal Baroque" collection, with simple forms in vivid colors and round-shouldered striped dresses.
Versace explored a sophisticated, sexy look, with short jackets revealing a line of skin and the house's Greek fret on clothes and bags, some of which mixed metal with crystals.
For the evening, Gucci's designer Frida Giannini showed off tuxedo one-pieces or totem dresses with crystals or feathers.
Woven python strips and crystal-embroidered gowns took center stage at Gianfranco Ferre's show.
Milan hands the baton to Paris for the last fashion week of the year.
Editing by Steve Addison