Italian designers show the bright side of fall

When days get bleaker, colours get stronger

Italian designers show the bright side of fall

By Elisa Cecchi Rome, September 2 - Fashion's fall moods are worlds apart- from the new ladylike all the way to androgyny with a redefinition of punk and grunge in between. But there is a thread keeping uptown feminine or mannish tailoring and new punk together and it is a very colourful one. Colours are coming together this season to highlight the multitude of spirits at play and, far from being subdued by the bleak outlook of falling temperatures, they shine as bright as their eye-popping predecessors did this past summer. Lime and emerald green are no thing of the past. Brighter than bright shades are debuting in accessories as well as ready-to-wear - think Italian powerhouse Prada - mixed with seasonal essentials embracing brown, burgundy, grey and black. A staple this fall is the bold Mykonos blue, with the yellow-toned linden green and emerald as reminders of the landscapes we are preparing to leave behind. Equally exotic colours slated to brighten the palettes on which fall's different stories unfold, as sanctioned by global colour authority Pantone, include the purple 'acai', red 'samba', orange 'koi' and 'vivacious', an ebullient pink. Even grey gets hot in a 'turbulence' hue. And if lime is a highlight at Missoni, where the house's staple zig-zag knits span the softest grey to embrace yellow, purple befits Alberta Ferretti's femininity. Eye-popping pink is a hit at Gucci along with orange and bronze while red is a showstopper at Dolce and Gabana and obviously a staple of Valentino, whose all-red version of its iconic Rockstud shoes is a fashion must-have. Coffee and chocolate brown rule at Prada and Max Mara while yellow has enchanted fashion houses as diverse as Versace and Bottega Veneta. The purest hue, white, goes this fall from the luxurious understated simplicity of Valentino, to Alberta Ferretti's ethereal romance and Versace's coolness. Black-and-white patterns get a ladylike upgrade at Marni and Miu Miu while different shades of blue, burgundy and grey highlight Ermanno Scervino's mannish tailoring with an ultra-feminine kick. Fall's rebel on the other end of the spectrum embraces different levels of anarchy and edge in blue, red, grey and black. Leather chains and spikes play a role in toughening up the vibe with as counterpart plaid, which is making a comeback in skirts, shirts and dresses and can get grungy or all dressed up as in Fausto Puglisi's collection. And a collection which strongly embodies the power of colours this fall is Stella Jean's as the Italian-Haitian designer works multi-ethnic elements into a new aesthetic. The up-and-coming talent of Italian fashion vies for an extreme cultural mix under a 'Wax and Stripes' theme travelling from Africa to the Andes, then all the way to Mongolia and back to Britain. And the juxtaposition of styles is a geographical voyage without colour boundaries. Sweeping coats with a silhouette evoking 19th century Russian styles feature a jacquard print typical of the Andes. Coats with the designer's trademark take on wax prints are worn over Oxford shirts. Colours in clashing prints range from blue to red, orange and grey giving momentum to the bright inter-ethnic marriage where wax-print, stripes, Peruvian patterns and pre-Colombian accessories evoke the many different shades of fall across the hemisphere.

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