MILAN The curtain went up on Milan's fashion week on Wednesday with Gucci's enchanted garden inspired looks and Fay's 1990s rock chick styles paraded for the womenswear autumn and winter 2017/2018 season.
After New York and London, the Italian capital of fashion will be the setting for six days of runway shows, exhibitions, parties and events as the fashion elite, designers, bloggers and media flock to the city.
Gucci, the biggest brand of French luxury giant Kering (PRTP.PA), kicked off the extravaganza showcasing clothes with flowers, insects, animals and symbols, with models walking on an elevated glass runway surrounding a silver pyramid.
Outfits by Alessandro Michele, creative director since January 2015, were inspired by an "alchemist's garden, a magical place ... where apparent contradictions live together", the style note said.
The first model wore a long white pleated skirt matched with a long white and black cardigan and a red top with a big pearl necklace, in a classical look.
But the conservative style was soon broken as she was followed by girls covering themselves with wide parasols, carrying arrows, wearing glitter leggings, long ruffled and flowered dresses, models with their heads covered in balaclavas, men in shorts and embroidered capes as well as models looking like farmers and maids.
Michele, who has been able to relaunch the brand giving it a new strong identity and a vintage, geeky yet chic look, dwells on the "complexity of existence and on its ambivalence and dualisms", the note added.
Just across the street, models for Fay, part of Italian luxury group Tod's (TOD.MI), wore masculine looks, inspired by the fashion of the 1990s.
Looks were mainly made from tartans, Prince of Wales check tweeds, angora wool and cashmere in the neutral tones of black, grey, blue and white with splashes of yellow and burgundy
The group, known for its signature field coats, brought out duffle coats, interpreted in various lengths and materials, adorned with furs and high collars and decorated with leather.
Models wore pleated short skirts with studded belts, leggings with zippers, masculine jackets decorated with embroidery, recalling the successful spring-summer collection.
"We took the French and Italian fashion from the 1990s and brought it back to our days," Tommaso Aquilani, one of the brand's two creative directors since 2010, told reporters ahead of the show.
Italian fashion industry revenues rose 1.9 percent last year, beating expectations, and are forecast to keep growing in 2017 despite uncertainty over the trade policies of the Trump administration and the impact of Brexit, according to the national fashion association.
The country's top 140 fashion companies had total sales of almost 63 billion euros ($66 billion) in 2015, or 4 percent of Italy's GDP, according to a report by Mediobanca Securities research unit.
($1 = 0.9488 euros)
(Reporting by Giulia Segreti; Editing by Alison Williams)