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Milan Fashion Week: At Versace and Jil Sander, power women kick butt

February 27, 2010 | 12:47 pm
Versace milan fashion week The Milan fall fashion season began with quietly feminine collections from Miuccia Prada and Alberta Ferretti. But on Friday night, the runway revved up with two takes on the power woman.

In the hands of Donatella Versace, she was built for speed and techno tough. Motocross leather pants cropped above ankle wrap boots and jackets with sporty elastic and zipper insets formed the basis of this strong collection for a more athletic take on classic tailoring.

Body-conscious dresses and skirts were another highlight, with asymmetrical panels of ribbed knit and chrome-look mirrored leather.

Gowns in black or white, traffic-sign yellow or red, were spare and modern with minimal graphic leather or chiffon details, and skin-flashing cutouts.

It made for a striking picture when the models posed on the runway together in a final tableau.

Except that we've met this power woman before. In fact, several editors in the front row were already dressing like her in second-skin leather leggings and biker jackets.
Jil sander milan fashion week Not so at Jil Sander, where designer Raf Simons took classic tartan and tweed suits from matronly to "The Matrix," adding activewear details such as Velcro closures and cutouts for a wholly original look.

His power woman is part corporate climber, part superhero, in clothes that are a hybrid of feminine and masculine, activewear and classic tailoring.

He countered the heaviness and constraint of conservative fabrics such as flannel and wool tartan with well-placed slits and darts that suggested movement.

Darts radiated from the center of an oatmeal-colored shift, gently shaping it, and tiny slits were cut into the back of a burgundy tartan shift to expose flashes of skin.

Simons used Velcro to create multifunctional garments: a black coat that could be disassembled to make a short sleeve jacket, and a dress that could be pulled apart into a skirt and sleeveless top.

A pinstriped bodysuit with front patch pockets and a sheer back combined the technical look of activewear with the polish of a suit.

And a coatdress combined the allure of pale pink silk chiffon shoulder straps with the sharpness of a tailored flannel bodice.

Tough-looking flat boots worn with all of the looks added another element of cool to this dynamite collection.

-- Booth Moore in Milan, Italy

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More photos: Versace | Jil Sander

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Top photos: Versace's fall 2010 runway in Milan. Bottom photos: Jil Sander's fall 2010 runway in Milan. All credits: Jonas Gustavsson & Peter Stigter / For The Times 

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