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New talents kick off Milan fashion week

Milan kicked off a week of catwalk glamour with shows by four young fashion talents.

india Updated: Feb 20, 2006 14:52 IST

Milan kicked off a week of catwalk glamour with shows by four young fashion talents which organisers hope will help the city secure a position at the industry's cutting edge.

Slick Milan has long been a fashion hub, packed with heavyweights from Gucci to Prada, but the city has increasingly had to jostle with Paris, New York and London for the attention of the world's media and the purse-strings of top buyers.

Organisers say their Nude or New Upcoming Designers initiative will help boost the city's profile and provide a trampoline for young talents just starting out, much like London's Fashion Fringe.

"The situation is tough at the moment, the market is blocked by these big names," 26-year-old Italian Bianca Gervasio said yesterday before the Milan debut of her eponymous collection.

"But Milan is definitely helping us. It's stimulating and the fact they do something is already great."

Gervasio, who works as a consultant at fashion house Mila Schon, sent out her models in breathy chiffon dresses and separates paired with rubber boots and glass bubble tiaras.

Her show-stopping numbers included bowling ball handbags and a dramatic silver satin dress with a folded collar and a black, kidney-shaped wrap, worn with metallic wellingtons.

"What we can do is take little steps, creating hand-made unique pieces that are different from the industrial scale of the major collections," she said backstage, adding her collection was inspired by the feeling of "anticipation".

KITSCH AND ECLECTIC

Riga-based Atis Artemjevs, 26, took an ironic look at his country's past for his debut, basing his collection on Latvia after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

"I dedicate my collection to the women of my country in the 1980s, when the first designer shops opened, when brands were mixed with local design," he said before the show, packed with Eastern Bloc stereotypes from knee-high animal print boots to thigh-length miniskirts. "It's kitsch. It's eclectic."

His models, with poker-straight blond hair, sashayed down the catwalk in fur wraps and tailored pinstripes worn with vertiginous stiletto heels.

Nicoletta Ruggiero's H O T made its second appearance on the catwalk this year with a mixed offering of crochet flowers and fishtail jackets, while Spain's Pilar Ruiz closed the show with a collection of delicate lace dresses, honeycomb white coats and feminine flower-prints.

"I feel so privileged to be here," Ruiz said breathlessly before her models, inspired by Marie Antoinette, took to the lacquered catwalk. "The first thing I thought was Milan where all the big names are."

The top Autumn/Winter shows begin on Monday, picking up where London's Fashion Week left off, with Dolce & Gabbana's D&G show and veteran Giorgio Armani. Jil Sander will close the first day with the debut women's collection by designer Raf Simmons.