The Hottest Trends

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• Wrapping Up Milan
Two trends were apparent at the end of the spring fashion week: the dress is in, and tailoring is out

• Heavy Metal
An arresting juxtaposition of high tech fabrics and old world craftmanship is on display in Milan

• The Hottest Trends
Miuccia Prada's wrapped rugged belt is copied almost immediately, while the star of the spring season just might be fabric

• Kate Betts on the Best from the Milan shows
Giorgio Armani goes back to his basic navy blue, while a young fashion talent reinterprets Burberry

• The Three D's of Fashion
• The Master of Mood
• Dressing like a Goddess
• Where Some Designers Get Their Ideas
• Signature Looks
• Creating the Mirage
Only in Milan can you watch a trend walk right off one runway and onto several others in a matter of hours. On day three of fashion week it was the wrapped rugged belt that showed up on Miuccia Prada’s runway — a men’s version cinched tightly around the waist and looped over once — on Tuesday. By Wednesday afternoon this place was belt city. There were the early adapters: magazine editors teetering out of the Four Season’s hotel with brown belts cinching their silk frocks. Then at runway shows like Trussardi’s, bright red or yellow python belts were wrapped around and around Grecian-style silk jersey dresses. By the time Gucci designer Frida Giannini opened her 6pm show on a mirrored runway, the appearance of a tight, high-waisted weight-lifting kind of belt was no surprise. A few hours later Rosella Tarabini, the jolly designer of the Anna Molinari label, coincidentally included a few of the men’s style belts in her micro-mini jersey looks. By Thursday morning there was an all out run on belts from the Via Montenapoleone as every fashion stylist began wrapping and cinching their look.

In addition to the belt, Miuccia Prada laid down her gauntlet with a silhouette that was decidedly narrow and attenuated — even when it was very very short — amid the dominant trends in Milan of short full skirts, airy fabrics and a dusty pink color palette. The crowd at her show usually likes to be whacked over the head with some totally random new fashion idea. Last season her message was aggressive to the point of barbaric. This season was much subtler. Her short satin mini-tunics and matching Kelty-style backpacks worn with jewel-toned satin turbans evoked a kind of 1940s eclectic exotic glamour. But Prada is a true fashionista and she made a very strong statement by focusing on the real foundations of fashion: shape and fabric.

Fabric might just be the star of the spring/summer 2007 season. Many of the designers here in Milan are showing very new textures and surface treatments. At Pringle, the fabled Scottish cashmere house, there was an appliquéd gauze that looked almost as if sequins had been photo-printed onto it. Tomas Maier, the tastemaker behind Bottega Veneta opened his beautiful show with a paper cotton dress and proceeded with a litany of shellacked and smocked cottons that were done in romantic shades of dusty pink and mauve. And at Marni athletic-style mesh was thrown into the mix of shiny patent leather and matte cotton.