MILAN, Italy - Milan fashion week opened with a stunning Japanese-inspired collection on Wednesday, as Gucci gave pyjama suits and long dresses a sensual twist with bell sleeves and billowing ruffled necklines.
Designer Frida Giannini kept it simple, with dresses, suits and shorts in single block colours -- brilliant blues, yellows and pinks -- softened by tiered waves of material gathered loosely at the neck or spilling down sleeves.
"These are portraits of aristocratic women, evoking a strong allure with a clean, precise, defined aesthetic," said Giannini, whose "aristographic" look featured high necklines and sharp cuts which seduced in their simplicity.
There were glimpses of bare flesh through deep slits down the back of cocoon-shaped cocktail dresses and floor-length gowns in sensual silks and satins, paired with sparkling earrings and necklaces adorned with flowers.
The pyjama-as-evening-wear trend which was such a hit among celebrities and fashionistas this year was given an exotic twist in this spring/summer 2013 collection, featuring slouchy silks in prints inspired by Japanese wallpaper.
After-hour glamour with an Oriental twist was conjured up through sea anemone designs as well as tunics with a snake-skin pattern, which were made using fibers from Japanese paper, the French-owned fashion house said.
The models sashaying down the catwalk to a mix of romantic melodic strains and a pumping beat wore their hair pinned in a low bun. Clutches and shoulder bags in coloured or transparent pexiglass matched high-heeled "cage sandals."
Moving away from the opulent and daring evening-wear creations last season, Giannini presented red-carpet dresses in just two colours -- black and white.
Gucci's show kicked off a week which will see 68 Italian and international brands strutting down runways amid a host of soirees and cocktail parties.
Wednesday's shows continue with Alberta Ferretti, before Prada on Thursday, Versace on Friday, Jil Sander and Bottega Veneta on Saturday, Dolce & Gabbana and Giorgio Armani on Sunday and Roberto Cavalli on Monday.
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