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.