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Feb 28, 2011
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Fashionistas let their hair down

By
AFP
Published
Feb 28, 2011

Feb 28 - The economic crisis seemed a distant memory at Milan Fashion Week's champagne-fuelled parties featuring a naked model draped in furs, a show on a metro train and a gig by 1980s superstars Duran Duran.


Versace at Milan Fashion Week - A/W 2011 collection (photo by Pixel Formula)

"It's all about partying! Getting dressed up to the nines and having a wild time," said British designer John Richmond, clutching a glass of bubbly backstage as another after-show party kicked off in Italy's fashion capital.

Now competing with Paris for the top spot for international fashion, Milan let its hair down at Gucci, Bvlgari and a Duran Duran soiree as the fabulously wealthy celebrated the exhausting trials of back-to-back fashion shows.

From Versace's fabulous feathered gowns for the Oscars, to Fendi's chinchilla and mink stoles and Armani's sleek secret agent femme fatales, Italy's fashion elite revelled in a post-economic crisis turnaround.


Fendi at Milan Fashion Week - A/W 2011 collection (photo by Pixel Formula)

After powerful US fashion editor Anna Wintour threw Milan into uproar last year by cutting short her stay, Camera Moda underwent a makeover to lure her back. "We've pulled out all the stops," head organiser Mario Boselli told AFP.

Most of the runway shows are now held in the city's historic centre, just a stone's throw from Milan's Golden Triangle, a collection of streets lined with the lavish stores of Italy's highest-performing luxury labels.

Having temptation so close at hand created problems for some: "I missed D&G," confessed a French blogger who had been lured into a boutique and lost track of time. "What can I say? How can you come to Milan and not shop?"


Emporio Armani at Milan Fashion Week - A/W 2011 collection (photo by Pixel Formula)

Literally beneath the fashion circus, Italian designer Alessandra Marchi put on a unique show in the city's metro, commandeering a train and transforming it into a catwalk with atmosphere blue lighting, spotlights and music.

Guests enjoyed an ironically rustic spread beyond the barriers before being whisked back and forth underground while a group of contemporary dancers in Marchi's new collection ran, danced and leapt through the train.

Back in the grounds of the Bvlgari hotel, an apparently-naked model swathed in fur and dripping diamonds was the centre-piece at the Italian jeweller's do, as size zero guests dined on mini portions of risotto and morsels of tiramisu.

US actress Kirsten Dunst -- the new face of Bvlgari's fragrance -- was the star of the "Mediterranean Eden" party, chatting away unabashedly despite the array of large publicity shots of her posing naked with a lion.

Over at Gucci, Frida Giannini threw the most hotly-awaited bash of the week to launch the 'New Fiat 500 by Gucci,' with guests including the Italian icon's brand boss and renowned party-goer Lapo Elkann, and supermodel Anja Rubik.

Serenaded by Sting's daughter Coco Sumner, partygoers clamoured for a chance to try out the sleek, metallic-black car, decorated with the signature red and green stripes of the Italian fashion house.

Later in the week, those lucky enough to be invited to the Duran Duran Dinner party at the Teatro Dal Verme joined Donatella and Allegra Versace in bopping away after the meal to songs from the band's new album.

Front-row celebrity spotters spied US actress Katie Holmes at MaxMara, who brought her mother along to celebrate her new role as the brand's "Face of the Future," as well as singers Tina Turner and Ricky Martin at Emporio Armani.

Scandals from the fashion underworld, including Dolce and Gabbana's trial for fraud and John Galliano's suspension from Dior for alleged anti-Semitic brawling, were largely forgotten as champagne-fuelled partygoers revelled in free gifts.

by Ella Ide

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