MILAN (Reuters) - Six days of catwalk shows began in Milan on Wednesday with Italian luxury brands Gucci, Fay and Roberto Cavalli among the first to show the creations their designers hope will fill women’s wardrobes next winter.
In a first, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi kicked off Milan Fashion Week with an industry lunch as international journalists and buyers descended on the city, home to fashion giants like Giorgio Armani and Prada.
Gucci, which last week reported a forecast-beating sales rebound in the fourth quarter, presented a vibrant and colorful autumn/winter 2016/2017 collection, which designer Alessandro Michele called “Rhizomatic Scores”.
From one-colored outfits -- including a pink furry coat teamed with pink tights, shoes, scarf and bag -- to clashing print combinations and designs emblazoned with snake patterns, Michele showed a selection of eclectic looks.
Models wore sequined skirts, tailored trouser suits, Chinese-style silk dresses, shiny brocade coats, capes, brightly colored tights and a range of hats. The looks were accessorized with an array of bags, platform heels and large glasses.
At Fay, which is part of the Tod’s luxury goods group, creative directors Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi looked to the U.S. Western coast for their daywear.
“The inspiration is the new Californian generation ... mixed with the new Italian generation,” Aquilano told Reuters.
He said the line included “beautiful Italian coats but with a more folk take and with embroidery that is reminiscent of the great American plains”.
Fringes and tassels were ubiquitous, decorating denim jackets and dresses, worn with embroidered cowboy boots. With nods to the romantic and folk, models wore floral, frilly dresses, flared skirts and jackets in sand, burgundy, orchid, dark blue and black.
At Roberto Cavalli, creative director Peter Dundas, who took over from the founding designer last year, showed a richly-embroidered array of outfits. Staying loyal to founder Cavalli’s love of animal print, Dundas used tiger and leopard print patterns on furry coats, suits, skirts and scarves.
Flower embroidery crept up jeans while sequins adorned sheer dresses and dark trouser suits, reminiscent of the 1970s. The show, also featuring menswear, included brocade jackets.
The brand, undergoing a transition since private equity fund Clessidra acquired control in April with founder Cavalli retaining 10 percent, is eyeing expanding daywear and accessories and growing in Asia, Chief Executive Renato Semerari said.
The luxury goods market has seen growth slow, with low oil prices hitting Middle Eastern consumption, demand weaker from China and Russia and the Paris attacks affecting European travel.
“2015 and 2016 are years when we are not expecting brilliant numbers ... as we are undergoing a transition phase,” Semerari said, adding 2016 had so far not seen any major market changes.
He said Cavalli will not immediately follow in the footsteps of brands like Burberry, which plan to sell their items hot off the catwalk instead of traditionally keeping customers waiting months before they hit stores.
“We are looking but we haven’t made a decision,” he said.
Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Ruth Pitchford and Diane Craft