Italy is recovering from the harshest cold snap in decades, but Fendi's collection on the Milan Fashion Week catwalks Thursday seemed aimed at women fighting to survive, and seduce, in chilly climates.
Layering was one of the key themes in designer Karl Lagerfeld's creations, with a heavy use of leather, knitwear and furs, stitched together or worn one on top of another, in a rather impractical look likely to attract true fashion lovers only.
Fendi's collection literature seemed to evoke fairytales such as Snow White, describing how the colors ranged from "the deepest green of the forest to the richest dark red (and) touches of white, the warm glow before snow."
But the large exotic cashmere, fur, leather and matted felt coats, some decorated with what Fendi described as "bird fur" sticking up along the neck line, down sleeves or from the derriere, seemed more like exotic animals.
A coat to the knee made of antelope chamois which gave the model wearing it the appearance of having a tail, sparked murmurs from buyers and critics that ranged from "gorgeous" to "she looks like she was swallowed whole by an antelope."
It will take a confident woman to pull off the oversized canary-yellow coat, but those after traditional elegance with a modern twist may appreciate the cape -- short and tapered into a triangle point just above the waist-line.
The other key trend running throughout the collection was pleated skirts -- made of micro pleated laminated georgette worn long Egyptian-style or to the knee, with a suit-style jacket cut with ultra-feminine, soft lines.
There was something of the school mistress about the pleats, accessorized with small round glasses -- reminiscent of those at the Gucci show Wednesday, though designer Frida Giannini's women had worn them more ferociously.
In a nod to the digital woman, Fendi also presented iPad "frame bags", in black, brown with studs or multi-colored with a tapestry pattern. There were also small electric blue and mild yellow clutches and a new upscale bag.
From coats, to velvet skirts and knitwear outfits, the silhouette was broken up with a large wing belt which clasped at the back with two large buckles.
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