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Highlights from Day 4 of Milan Fashion Week

It's not every day that you see a princess crown and a 71-year-old model on the same runway.
Anna Ewers at Roberto Cavalli's fall 2015 show. Photo: Imaxtree

Anna Ewers at Roberto Cavalli's fall 2015 show. Photo: Imaxtree

Fashion Month is a marathon, not a sprint, and after two weeks of nonstop runway action in New York and London, we've made it to Milan. Read on for our highlights of day four of Milan Fashion Week.

Roberto Cavalli

I started my day at the Roberto Cavalli show, which was basically the fashion equivalent of a jolt of caffeine. Upon entering the venue, neon light fixtures shaped like jellyfish — they were probably meant to be pagoda lanterns, since Cavalli looked to China as a starting point this season — electrified the space, and there was an actual girl fight in the row behind me over some seating confusion. All so exciting! The actual clothing, however, was pretty standard for the Italian designer despite his newfound Eastern inspiration. The first looks out were primarily animal print, followed by a ton of sparkle from golden metal embellishments and sequins, a rock ’n’ roll attitude in the form of studs, fringe and exotic skins and, finally, silhouettes that skewed short and tight, with some bare midriffs thrown in for good measure.

The Ming vase-inspired florals were pretty, as were the white checked elements that recalled a dress worn by the designer’s muse Maggie Cheung in the 2000 film “In the Mood for Love.” But despite the clear craftsmanship, I wasn’t blown away. My favorite pieces were probably the least “Cavalli” of them all: a pair of textured, oversized army green parkas with fur hoods that I could see myself living in come fall.

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Antonio Marras

Walking into Antonio Marras's show venue felt like stepping back in time to a rich 18th century parlor, with large crystal chandeliers illuminating the runway, the floors lined with fine rugs and the walls painted with Rococo art — not unlike something you'd expect to see at Versailles. The front row bench was lined with silk pillows, and the show notes came in the form of a folded, sealed love letter to Marras's muse for the season, Italian actress and model Benedetta Barzini, who's now 71 years old. 

In the poetic note, the designer calls Barzini a Queen, which came through in the luxurious textiles and voluminous silhouettes worthy of Marie Antoinette, as well as gilded embroideries and a color palette of burgundy, dusty blue and powder pink. There were tapestry prints aplenty, and artfully mixed textures — ruffles, velvet, lace and sequins — gave each look its own personality. This may all seem old-fashioned, but there were plenty of youthful touches. One model came out wearing a mixed material minidress, a sparkling crown atop her head.

In an emotional moment for all, Barzini walked the runway wearing a regal, floor length gown to close the show. It was truly a collection fit for royalty.

Jil Sander

Rodolfo Paglialunga put on his second show for Jil Sander on Saturday, a crucial follow up to a debut that was met with mixed reviews. Longtime fans of the brand will likely be pleased with a number of pieces that the designer sent down the runway for fall, specifically the minimalist, menswear-inspired coats — which appeared in navy, sand, forest green and a very pale pink to close the show — classic, wide-legged trousers and crisply tailored skirts and day dresses.

To add a bit of flavor, Paglialunga injected some bright color (a yellow turtleneck here, a neon orange belt there) as well as some geometric elements like blocked diagonal stripes, thin intersecting lines and a bare-bones take on plaid that appeared in a number of looks. A series of simple slip dresses stood out for their ease and subtle, feminine sex appeal. Personally, I wasn't wowed — call me wistful for the final collections that Raf Simons showed for the label, if you must — but overhearing feedback among the crowd as we exited the show made me feel like I might be in the minority here.