Having Fun With Formality

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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
Tim Gunn should give his Project Runway contestants a nifty new assignment: cut up the traditional tuxedo and reconstruct it in a way that looks new. Sounds easier than it is. But in Paris, where cutting skills are paramount in fashion, how to reconstruct formal attire—especially the tux—was the theme of the day on Monday.

Junya Watanabe—a Tokyo-based protege of Rei Kawakubo—is one of the most audacious talents on the runway, and his spring show was a study in how to take formal fabrics like jacquard, barathea and even white cotton shirting and reconstruct them in slender, Edwardian shapes.

Viktor & Rolf also touched on the theme of formality and showed their collection of Ice Capades-inspired clothes against the backdrop of a full orchestra and Rufus Wainwright singing "Somewhere Over The Rainbow." A pair of ballroom dancers opened the show and four pairs of male-on-male ballroom dancers closed it. The purpose was to launch their new men's fragrance, Antidote, but this witty Amsterdam-based duo are not afraid to add a bit of social commentary to their work.

If Martin Margiela's wit were a bit more conspicuous his shows would have the kind of appeal they deserve. He played with the idea of being dressed and undressed—using nude mesh to trompe l'oeil effect on slinky silk jersey dresses and tailored tuxedos.