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Miuccia Prada's witty take and Alberta Ferretti's chiffon world at Milan Fashion Week

September 25, 2009 |  3:21 pm

ET-MILAN-300-500Photo prints of palm trees and beach scenes, crystal-covered jelly sandals and Lucite high heels dangling chandelier crystals -- Miuccia Prada must have had L.A. in mind when she designed her spring 2010 collection, shown Thursday in Milan, Italy, from the beauty of the coast to the glitz of Hollywood and all the artifice in between.

Barely there silk short-shorts and pleated baby doll tops in vibrant photo prints depicting sand and surf clicked by on the runway like vacation snapshots. But in true Prada form, there was a visual conceit; the photo prints were actually of a man-made beach in Japan, blurring the line between fantasy and reality.

Long, mesh tunics strung with chandelier crystals brought to mind a treasured antique as seen through a child's eyes. The white, stretch Spandex briefs worn underneath were further evidence of an emerging shapewear-as-outerwear trend.

Crystals encrusted sleeveless tops, dresses, sunglasses frames and the only Lucite heels I've ever seen that didn't look as if they stepped off Hollywood Boulevard at 4 a.m.

The designer's knack for offbeat combinations was reflected in couture-like cape-back steel gray satin jackets and lady coats worn with Bermuda shorts that had unfinished edges, hinting at something old coming slightly unraveled. Her wit came through, too -- clear plastic Prada handbag anyone?

Milan-fashion-weekThe collection ticked off several trends gaining momentum for spring over the last two weeks in runway shows in New York, London and Milan, including prints (there were also black-and-white flower photo prints) and romance.

That sentiment was echoed on Friday in Alberta Ferretti's romantic collection of 1920s-tinged, tea-length, layered chiffon dresses in shades of vanilla, antique rose, peach and lemony yellow with whirled chiffon rosettes, contrasting panels, delicate embroidery and ruffled seam detailing.

The look may have limited wearability, but good for her for challenging the thigh-high, 1980s dress silhouette that's been dominating so many collections. Let's hope the rest of Milan's Fashion Week brings more such surprises.

-- Booth Moore in Milan, Italy

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Photos: Spring / Summer 2010 collection from Prada Credit: Jonas Gustavsson & Peter Stigter / For The Times