Milan Fashion Week headed for the sea on Thursday as Max Mara unveiled a Spring Summer 2016 womenswear collection that was doused in ocean spray.
Blugirl's legions of young supporters meanwhile were pointed in the direction of the beach in microshorts given a half-buttock bikini cut. They were paired with woven sandals in a collection entitled "Joie de Vivre" that looked forward to more confident, optimistic times than the fashion industry has operated in of late.
To the strains of Jacques Brel's "Amsterdam" and "What Shall We Do with the Drunken Sailor," MaxMara sent out their models in an array of outfits rich in bold hoops, maritime-inspired colours and symbols, knotted cord ties and chunky drawstrings on light fabrics.
Illustrator Brian Grimwood created the show's ocean liner backdrop and his work also features on T-shirts, duffel bags, luggage labels and the brand's signature JBag. Doubled-faced peacoats, rows of polished buttons and star-patterned semi-chunky sweaters and tank tops continued the nautical theme. It was, the creative team said, an attempt to fuse naval discipline and marine romance into a vision of a new, athletic femininity. Or, as they also put it in a classic piece of fashion-speak: "Naive is the new sophisticated."
A new sensuality
Over at Blugirl, the emphasis was on a very different, much more sensual form of femininity with designer Anna Mollinari anticipating a new jazz age and taking her cue from "an idea of intangible hedonism."
One of the younger lines of Blufin, the company which is also behind Blumarine (showing on Friday), clearly thinks the world is ready to start partying again after almost a decade of almost incessant economic crises in Italy and elsewhere. Black dancing feathers adorn jazzy evening dresses, there are many touches of white macrame lace, crepe and taffeta, and poplin or denim shirt dresses are designed to open up easily over swimming costumes or those revealing shorts.
If it wasn't very, very short, it was very long. "Lengths have no half measures: they reach the ankle or entirely bare the legs," Mollinari says in her notes on the collection, explaining the preponderance of long skirts she described as "an incontrovertible statement of a new sensuality."
Also unveiling new collections on Thursday were Karl Lagerfeld, for venerable Roman house Fendi, Massimo Giorgetti, who has been tipped to go for a total makeover of Emilio Pucci's look in his first collection for the brand, and global powerhouse Prada. (AFP)