MILAN — Milan and Rome are Italy's yin and yang: fashion capital, political capital, their fates entwined.
This week, while Milan revels in what it does best, showing off its Made in Italy ready-to-wear fashion to the world, Rome is mesmerized by the rapid rise of Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi who confirmed Friday that he has formed a new government.
Though one capital is viewed as productive and the other as entrenched, Italy's fashion world is mindful that whatever is decided in Rome is crucial to the industry's global competitiveness.
Giorgio Armani says he expects "real attention" from the new government -- action not talk. On the policy front, he would like to see politicians bring down the cost of labor in the name of preserving the Italian know-how.
"If China can make plastic jewelry for 30 euros, why do we have to pay 150 euros in Italy," Armani asked during a chat with reporters after his Emporio Armani preview show.
Emporio Armani joins Blumarine, Etro and Versace in showing their wears Friday, the third day of Milan Fashion Week.
Donatella Versace's womenswear collection for next winter tells a story of a woman who battles and emerges victorious.
The story starts with a simple female warrior, a soldier low in the ranks with just a smattering of gold buttons on the bias-cut uniform, snug-yet-modest dress.
The mood intensifies with double-breasted military style coat with epaulets, a short colored fur with metal buttons down the V-front, a cropped military jacket worn with slim trousers and satin-finish dress capes. And the collection wraps up with form-fitting sensual silky dresses worn with gold-embroidered macrame sashes and one big golden medal, Olympic style. Her victory is clear.
The bling in the collection is at a minimum for Versace and the message is clear: power comes from within.
EAST MEETS WEST
BluMarine designer Anna Molinari has seemingly set out to preserve Italian craftsmen singlehandedly by dint of her elaborately embroidered collection.
Golden needlework adorned midnight blue suits and sweeping robes. Jacquard lame highlights are woven into evening wear. Sequins are sewn into jewel-colored dresses, one a mini and one a snug gown with blousy top.
The collection evokes Japan, in its kimono colors and floral prints as well as the subtle addition of understated Obi belts, while retaining contemporary Italian fashion in the supple leather jumpsuits, tuxedo accents on silky pantsuits and thigh-high boots. Molinari dubbed the collection "unexpected heritage."
Veronica Etro infuses the label's trademark paisley print with an exoticism in a collection of ethnically inspired looks.