Ferragamo breaths fresh air into summer with outdoor show

Models wear creations as part of the Ferragamo women's Spring/Summer 2018/19 fashion collection, presented in Milan, Italy, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Milan designers are breathing fresh air into Milan Fashion Week, quite literally, betting on Mother Nature with open-air shows

MILAN — Milan designers are breathing fresh air into Milan Fashion Week, quite literally.

Many fashion houses are showing their collections outdoors this season, or at least throwing open the windows on their grand palazzi venues, betting on Mother Nature with open-air shows. The late summer-early fall weather has cooperated fully.

Angela Missoni's 20th anniversary show was in the courtyard of a former factory, with a colorful tent of foulards offering some protection from the sun. Roberto Cavalli returned to the runway with a new designer in a sleek-white open-air runway in Milan's central Parco Sempione, which the brand founder often used as his venue. Tomas Maier made sure the windows were open on the grand Conservatory where he showed his latest Bottega Veneta collection, while Vionnet and Max Mara located their shows in Renaissance-style courtyards.

Salvatore Ferragamo moved out of its usual Milan Stock Exchange venue into the square, hedging bets against the weather with some plexi-glass protection overhead.

Here are some highlights as womenswear collections for spring-summer 2018 continue into their fifth day on Sunday.

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FERRAGAMO UNDER THE STARS

To celebrate its new "Amo Ferragamo" fragrance, Salvatore Ferragamo energized Milan's Piazza Affari with an open-air runway show on Saturday night, a sign of freshness and openness as womenswear design director Fulvio Rigoni previewed his third collection.

Models walked on a plexi-glass runway over a fresh lawn of real grass sprinkled with plastic daisies, and the fashion crowd was treated to a Botticelli-inspired light show on the façade of Milan's stock exchange building before being invited inside to party with the British band "Clean Bandit." The celebratory atmosphere was all meant as an antidote to trying political times, the designer said.

"I wanted to create a positive feelings at this particular moment," Rigoni said ahead of the show. "At least in fashion, we want to dream a little."

The foulard was the star of Rigoni's collection. Twisted for dramatic effect, they became the straps on halter dresses or oversized stitching on an off-shoulder dress, with the length of the silken scarf trailing. And dramatically, Rigoni created trompe l'oeil prints that gave the illusion of draped foulards on simple, straight dresses.

Rigoni said he imagined how he would dress Salvatore Ferragamo's iconic clients, taking inspiration from Greta Garbo, Carmen Miranda, Brigitte Bardot and Marilyn Monroe to create straight silhouettes from the 1920s, fringe detailing from the 1930s and flared trousers of the 1970s.

The Ferragamo rounded gancio, or clasp, was a motif throughout, as an anchor for scarfs, a handle on mini-bags and even a pocket detail. Laser perforations on suede dresses and coats had the feel of crochet, and hand-painted python boots and coats underlined the brand's technical prowess. Colors included bright pink, emerald green, red and plum punctuated by neutrals.

"I wanted a relaxed vibe and an easiness that is perceptible and refreshing," Rigoni said. "The collection is fresh because there is a casualness, even if it is very studied."

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