MILAN - Miuccia Prada has created a fashion incarnation of Rainer Werner Fassbinder's "Lola," Karl Lagerfeld received an homage with a Fendi fur mini-me and Australian actress Rose Byrne was up with the early-morning fashion crowd to grab a front-row seat at Max Mara as Milan Fashion Week offered its second day of womenswear previews for next fall and winter.
Closing out the day, Katy Perry made an appearance at Moschino, showing up fashionable late for Jeremy Scott's debut at the label. To make amends, the pop star made a photo call from the runway, dressed head-to-toe in a snug black dress with matching coat and golden accents, including an oversized "Moschino" necklace.
Max Mara, Fendi, Just Cavalli and Prada headlined Thursday's shows as the fashion crowd continued their appointed rounds.
Prada has immersed herself in German culture of the 1980s, film and music, and taken inspiration for her latest collection.
The looks for next fall and winter are for Prada's "Lola" of the 1981 Fassbinder film, a fun-loving floozy in ephemeral sheer or silky dress, nearly lingerie, draped in a man's jacket. The looks were richly adorned in accents of fur, sometimes wisps and sometimes faux shearling.
"I like this theme so much. How it is related to clothes, I don't know," Prada said backstage, though she does have some inkling: "It is high and low, sophisticated and slightly vulgar."
British fashion icon Alexa Chung said she loved the sheepskin coats, and acknowledged that the super-high wedge shoes with a rubberized finish were somewhat intimidating , even for her.
"But I will give it a go," she said gamely.
The invitation said Harlem Renaissance, and the gin and bubbly were flowing at Prada's newly renovated shops on via Montenapoleone. The pair of stores, men's and women's, were finished in September but only formally inaugurated in the presence of the fashion crowd.
Live jazz wafted through the menswear store where a billiard table and card games were set up to suggest the back room to the Harlem Club -- which was the women's store down the block.
Prada no doubt wants to keep its customers feeling indulged. The Prada Group this month reported that sales in its stores rose 12 percent last year to nearly 3 billion euros ($4 billion) -- the lion's share of its overall 3.6 billion in sales.
Bag Boy Karlito
Fendi has a new meme: a furry figure on a string evoking designer Lagerfeld, complete with a neat white pony tail, large white collar and black tie. Silvia Venturini Fendi said it all started with the Fendi bag bugs: festive little creatures that hang from Fendi's handbags.
Now that tradition has evolved into Bag Boy Karlito, for little Karl. "Not bad boy," Fendi said backstage, "Bag Boy."
While the fun figurine also can be attached to a handbag, it had a place of pride in the runway show: carried by a model in a furry helmet as if a lantern lighting the way. Bag Boy Karlito popped out to take a bow after the show, with the real-life inspiration.
Another Fendi fashion forward moment: Drones hovered above the runway for a bird's eye view during the show - and delivered light gusts of wind down on to the audience below.
Abs of Steel
In the foyer before entering the Costume National runway show, an artist clad in a black leotard performed abdominal-straining stretches with more precision than most Pilates practitioners. Designer Ennio Capasa called it an exercise "in finding awareness"
The tie-in between the installation piece by Bastiaan Arler with his collection, shown at the Triennale contemporary art museum, Capasa said, was the notion of breaking boundaries "between fashion and anti-fashion, construction and deconstruction, masculine and feminine."
On the one side, athletic: There were trousers gathered at the ankle with rich, furry vests, white on white. At the other extreme, feminine: A flowing evening dress had as its neckline a tuxedo collar, black on black.
There were admiral feats of tailoring too: an off-shoulder asymetrical dress was fashioned of strips of fabric sewn along the bias in the front, but in the back a single panel with raised vertical seams.
Mining Florentine Treasures
Roberto Cavalli took inspiration from Florence's artistic treasures for his Just Cavalli line, photographing and painting the images himself that he would later incorporate into garments for the younger set.
Details from such landmark Florentine monuments as the Santa Maria Novella facade and Michelangelo's David were superimposed on satin and silk viscose garments using experimental processes.
Cavalli said he often consults his sales staff to find out what young buyers are looking for. The goal: "I want a different fashion, less attached to advertising and stars."
English Countryside, Urban Landscape
Max Mara set its English countryside-inspired collection on a cement runway in stark white light. The message was clear: The looks suggest cozy countryside, but the vibe is urban.
Anyone looking for the perfect overcoat knows Max Mara is the place to start, and this collection presents a plethora of oversized coats with innovative accents. One key is the waistcoat that gets sewed over the coat, is worn layered under the jacket or is transformed out of a longer coat, left sleeveless, offering new ways of creative layering.
Max Mara's cold weather looks for next year, at its heart, is a collection of basics - coats, vests and knitwear - that give a metropolitan edge to pretty straight skirts that cover the knee or form-fitting dresses composed of jackets and trouser-inspired pencil skirts. Colors are button-down grays, heather, golden and camel.
In keeping with the English theme, tweeds dominate, accented by cashmere wools and shiny vinyl-looking material and gold crocodile prints. The looks are finished with black or gold crocodile booties, and a clutch on a gold chain.
Aussie Eyes Crocodile Booties
Rose Byrne says the Max Mara golden crocodile booties caught her eye.
"I am obsessed with the boots," Byrne said after the preview show.
She took in the show from the front row, wearing a golden Max Mara camisole, dark jacket and wide cream pants. The actress said she long has been drawn to Max Mara's coats and knits, and feels like she "grew up with the brand."
Byrne begins filming the spy spoof "Susan Cooper" with Melissa McCarthy in April. They last appeared together in the 2011 comedy hit "Bridesmaids."