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Fashion Week for fall/winter 2010 wrapped up in Paris just recently. Continuing the trend from New York and London, many designers put out fantastic work in Milan and Paris. Here are some favorites from the show.

Milan

Milan’s fashion week lasted four days, which is a lot shorter than usual, and Anna Wintour was the source of the issue. For those who don’t know Wintour, she is the editor-in-chief of American Vogue and commonly referred to as one of the most influential executives in the fashion industry. Wintour is easily recognized as the inspiration for Miranda Priestly, the cold fashion industry icon from the book and movie The Devil Wears Prada. Wintour unexpectedly announced that she would be shortening her stay at Milan to four days due to her scheduled appearance at the Oscars. Organizers scrambled to accommodate Wintour, squeezing over a hundred shows and presentations into just four days. However, both Fendi and Prada chose to keep their shows on Thursday, the fifth day, regardless of Wintour’s absence. Critics praised these lines for this gutsy move, and the designers were rewarded for their independence when Wintour made an unexpected appearance at both of their shows. Silvia Venturini, one of the creative designers for Fendi, stated in an interview with wtop.com after her show that “you have to believe in what you are worth.”

Fendi featured its trademark fur as one of the primary accessories for the upcoming fall season. Karl Largerfeld, artistic director of Fendi, reinvented the winter 2010 line with more modern and futuristic characteristics. The colors of the collection were earthy — navy, cream, and mustard were featured in several garments. However, the line also showed some hyped feminine characteristics such as high-waist hems. In contrast with Fendi, Prada’s show gave a sense of nostalgia. Rather than following the trend of thin and skinny, Miuccia Prada celebrated women’s curves and unveiled new, voluptuous clothing. That being said, Prada seemed to have taken a more conservative approach to her line, and some thought it to be less innovative.

Versace toughened things up with leather. Biker chic dominated the show as the catwalk featured leather coats combined with wool, fur, and metallic leather minis and skirts. Rather than sticking to signature prints, Versace put out a new collage of leather, tweed, and other materials. Although the line felt industrial at times, it was certainly full of vibrant energy.

One of the notable accessory designers from Milan was Salvatore Ferragamo. Ferragamo, a well-known Italian shoemaker, custom-made many shoes for Hollywood stars — including Greta Garbo — back in the day. Right before Milan Fashion Week, in collaboration with the Ferragamo company and relatives of Garbo, the designers put up an exhibition dedicated to Garbo’s films, photographs, clothing, and accessories. An avid Ferragamo fan, Garbo owned over a hundred pairs of his shoes. During Fashion Week, Ferragamo featured designs inspired by Garbo in the fall collection.

**Paris

In comparison to Milan Fashion Week, Paris was not forced to face dramatic changes and ran quite smoothly. Notably, Stella McCartney, Celine, and Chloe all featured a chic-minimalist look in their lines. The designers showed clean-cut, modern, and sensual collections. A palette of beige, gray, black, and navy dominated their runways. Stella McCartney featured V-neck tunics and skinny wool pants, sleeveless wool coats, mini-shifts, and graphic uses of neutral colors. Similarly, Celine showed navy slim-dresses with tiepin collars, clean-cut shirts, and leather-lapel coats. Chloe created camel-colored pieces, slouchy skirts, and classic school coats. All of the clothes produced by these designers were practical and were pieces that real women would want to wear. Although the clothes were kept at a minimal, the designers accentuated their lines with quirky details.

Chic-minimalist contrasted greatly with the futuristic Nicolas Ghesquière at Balenciaga. Ghesquière’s line was inspired by technology. He used materials that were hard to identify; some appeared to be coated in plastic while others resembled packing materials. Jackets were printed with words in primary colors as if they could be posters on the side of a street. Another bold designer, Pierre Balmain, featured lots of gold lace and black suits in his line.

Fashion Week also made a notable attempt to ease skinny model stereotypes. Marc Jacobs decided to cast plus-size models for his Louis Vuitton collection. Bar Rafaeli, Alessandra Ambrosio, and Adriana Lima walked the runway wearing silhouettes that highlighted their womanly curves. It was nice to see some real women figures on the runway.

All in all, Fashion Week in Milan and Paris was full of drama. However, the clothing produced was, as always, exhilarating.

Haesung Kim | Staffwriter