Ciao Manhattan, Hello Milan ...

Nothing like bumping into the inimitable Tom Ford, former capo of Gucci, in the lobby of your hotel to remind you that Americans and Italian fashion are an unbeatably sexy combination. The Hotel Bulgari, a Fendi flat's walk from the heart of Milan's shopping district, is a modernist oasis in this medieval town with the world's most relaxing spa inevitably undermined by Italy's most potent cappuccino (it's 1:44 AM and we're fine, thank you!). Strong espresso fuels an unbelievable schedule of shows---Milan packs in more runway activity than Heathrow! Here are our highlights: Blumarine's Blugirl hustled its 80s homage of baby doll dresses, fuchsia sequin hotpants and bloomers--don't get your knickers in a twist: they're back! --under a big disco ball. D & G also loved the 80s: the in-your-face acid colors and splashed them all over leggings and wigs. There was a Dark Ages armor feel to the spiked footwear and chain mail dress and torture chamber belts. Where to wear the pitch black latex pants, oversized bustiers and 9 inch platform wedges? Joanna's quote to Italian fashion TV was: "Are they trying to cripple women? I prefer to think they're simply raising us higher." D & G started an hour late--same o, same o---but scrambling for cars meant nearly missing Armani. Glad we didn't! Model Alec Wek and others glided in a Zen- like trance in his silver floor length gowns.A sterling accomplishment. Oversized sunglasses and huge floppy hats and graceful animal prints. Surgery on safari, anyone? Burberry was stellar--and will be a tough act to follow, we think. To a melodic retro beat of early 80s British rock--Joan of Arc by Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark---Christopher Bailey paraded plastic rhinestones on steroids--unlawfully glamorous! We promised we'd tell you what to buy as soon as humanly possible. Here goes: Burberry's metallic brocade short coats,the peppermint linen belted dress, oversized copper-colored bead car coat. Need your Burberry logo fix---reach for the big lug of a silver accented tote. A standout among models this week: Gap star and aspiring rock star Irina....She sat next to us on the plane over and wasn't going to have her beauty routine messed with by new airline security rules: an hour before landing, we looked over to see her and her travelling companion in his and hers tissue-thin Lancome Absolute Masque. She's got the beauty rest thing down! -Joanna Coles, Editor in Chief -Joyce Caruso Corrigan, Editor at Large Can't get enough fashion? Try Marie Claire FREE. [...] [...]

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