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Nicki Minaj struts into Fendi; Max Mara rewrites classics


Milan designers were letting go of streetwear and turning back to the basics of elegant design on the second day of Milan Fashion Week.

That is not to say there is nothing for trendy youth. Designers are turning to materials like PVC to keep a street-smart edge. And they aren't giving up the lessons of functionality, incorporating them into more sophisticated collections.

Some highlights from Thursday's previews of womenswear for next spring and summer in Milan, including Fendi, Max Mara, Prada, Moschino and Emporio Armani.

FUNCTIONAL FENDI

Nicki Minaj took a front row seat at Fendi, taking a turn for fans on her way in decked out in a Fendi puffer jacket and matching leggings and cropped top.

Other front-row celebs included Italian fashion blogger Chiara Ferragni with her rapper husband Fedez, leaving home their much-Instagrammed infant, Leone, but trailing television cameras as they toured backstage.

While the front-row celebrity attire was highly branded Fendi streetwear, the runway collection by Karl Lagerfeld was more elegant and subtle.

Fendi courted functionality with transparent PVC outerwear with leather details, while jackets, belts and handbags were equipped with external utility pockets.

This Fendi woman is an urban dweller whose wardrobe needs to carry her through the day. The colour palate was sombre neutrals with flashes of orange and acid green, and the branding was limited to subtle heat-stamped double-F logo impressions.

On the casual side, biker shorts were paired with a fur-intarsia bomber coat or a belted cream shirt. Cargo pants had a trailing belt fastened with an airline seatbelt buckle and paired with a cropped sweater.

The power silhouette was more sculptural. A leather top was corseted tightly around the waist and worn with a straight pencil skirt, while a cream mini leather dress zipped up the front. For day there were pretty pleated skirts, and for evening a series of romantic floral and animal patterns on silk and fur.

The brand's Peekaboo bag came under a waterproof cover and with interchangeable straps.

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MAX MARA'S MYTHS

Ruffled, twisted and ruched detailing defined the Max Mara silhouette for next season, giving an ultra-feminine edge to power looks for day and night.

Gigi Hadid and Irina Shayk led a tribe of mythic models in looks that the show notes said illustrated a literary retelling of epic classics, like Homer's "The Odyssey," from a female perspective, exposing centuries of male mistranslations.

Max Mara tapped ancient classical attire like one-shoulder twists and updated it with one-shoulder button-down shirts that wrap the figure. Elegant basics included classic overcoats with down-to-business scrunched-up sleeves, and buttoned gators worn under Bermuda shorts, pleated gaucho pants or dresses for a boot effect.

Flurries of ruffles created an armour look on a dress bodice, or a military vibe down the side of cropped trousers or the sleeves of knitwear. One-shoulder dresses twisted at the waist. Ruffled belts gave a peplum effect while ruffled detailing was pretty as it trailed down the heels of shoes and along straps of backs.

The mostly monochromatic colour scheme ranged from the brand's traditional camel to canary yellow, navy blue and taupe — broken up by some polka dots and Prince of Wales check prints.

Hair was worn in a no-nonsense tight braid down the back, sometimes covered with a scarf.

Colleen Barry, The Associated Press

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