Sep 28, 2010
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George Clooney lends star power to Milan fashion

Sep 28, 2010

George Clooney and Italian girlfriend, actress Elisabetta Canalis at Armani's S/S 2011 show in Milan. Photo : Corbis
MILAN, Italy, Sept 27, 2010 (AFP) - Hollywood heartthrob George Clooney topped Giorgio Armani's A-list on Monday as the Italian veteran designer unveiled a Tuareg-inspired spring/summer 2011 collection.

Cameramen swarmed around Clooney and girlfriend Elisabetta Canalis as they took their front-row seats for the pageant, staged as footage of rolling Saharan sand dunes and music suggesting desert wind played in the background.

Models wearing modified Tuareg turbans and flat sandals or Aladdin slippers -- spike heels just wouldn't do in the desert -- trod the catwalk at a stately camel's pace in colours ranging from dark blue to darker blue to midnight blue.

The gradation was found in overlain ephemeral chiffon shawls reaching nearly to the floor, but the differentiation was even more pronounced in the fabrics, which ranged from satins to knits to leathers.

Layered ensembles included a skirt that was slightly flared at the knee over straight-legged trousers and a suggestion for evening pairing a sparkling jacket with a short skirt over a longer skirt.

One creation seemed of East Asian inspiration, combining an asymmetrical wraparound upper with a sarong.

Armani, 76, looking tanned and relaxed, stepped out at the end to accept cheers and greet Clooney and Canalis.

Earlier Monday, the final day of major shows at Milan Fashion Week, Roberto Cavalli used the occasion to mark his 40 years in the business -- and 70 years on the planet -- in grand style.

A massive showroom built for the event stretched from Milan's imposing Arco della Pace, the monument visible from the catwalk through a clear plastic roof.

At the other end, giant stylised green palm trees suggested Hollywood glam to go with a front row loaded with Italian celebrities.

Cavalli clearly had his career beginnings in mind with the Seventies-look creations worn by models coiffed a la Ali McGraw -- long, straight and reaching to the waist.

Minimal tops and short jackets teamed with billowing low-slung skirts or hip-hugging bell bottoms for a longer silhouette, made busy with an abundance of fringes hanging from sleeves, handbags or down the front from tiny bustiers, some in graduated hues.

Colours -- beige, faded green, lilac -- took a back seat to designs that celebrated bare flesh, in backless tops, open-work panels down the leg or spiraling round a torso, in crocheted creations leaving unused string for yet more fringes, and in styles with the midriff as focal point.

For evening, the fringes disappeared to be replaced by strass and gold leaf appliques while the peekaboo effect persisted with the use of strategically placed sheer panels.

Roberto Cavalli S/S 2011 collections at Milan Fashion Week. Photo : AFP

The perma-tanned Cavalli, who turns 70 on November 15, greeted the front-row glitterati ahead of the show, then took a bow with his second wife and business partner Eva Dueringer at the end.

The flamboyant Florentine who says he sees himself as a fashion "artist", not designer, got his start by inventing a procedure for printing on leather.

Today Cavalli clothes, as well as spinoffs including eyewear, watches and perfumes, are sold in more than 50 countries.

Earlier Monday, the Dsquared2 twins introduced bobby socks to evening wear and revived classic masculine dress for women in an "anything goes" mood that was also reminiscent of the 1970s.

A perfectly tailored men's suit in slate grey with pants just a bit too big, slung low, encouraged what Canadians Dean and Dan Caten called the "tomboy slouch".

Roomy khakis also hung low, and jeans were cuffed to a high-water mark to showcase the basic brown leather lace-up shoes and white socks that were the show's predominant footwear.

Also reminding onlookers that they are not sex objects, the models wore over-sized glasses, even as "Come On Baby Light My Fire" pulsated around them.

Who knows whether the tomboy look will make a comeback just yet, but even if it doesn't, these masculine clothes are clearly made to last till the next go-round.

By Gina Doggett

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