Milan Fashion Week Day 3: Not all black and white

It's not all black and white in Milan this season.

Women's collections coming off the runway for next year's warmer weather are all about the pastoral - relaxing looks in both silhouette and colour, with flowing styles and floral patterns that blend with the prevailing pastel palette.

Check out the day three pictures here.

Flowers are the repeating motif for the 2013 season. Some are essential and graphic, take the Prada origami flower. Others are as delicate as a Japanese water colour, as in Etro's chiffon gowns. And yet others are jungle wild, as in the Max Mara safari prints.

Versace didn't go floral, but she embraced the easy feel, even while keeping her sexy edge.

The pretty prints don't need a lot of makeup or jewellery, although it's always welcome and can even be ostentatious.

To go with this dreamy fashion landscape, hairstyles are simple, with hair left long and often wavy. For a wilder look, there's the teased version.

In recent years, the collections have tended to blur the seasons. As many labels have added separate lines for resort wear, beachwear and the like, season- and activity-specific pieces have disappeared from the main collections.

Eveningwear, at the same time, is gaining prominence, becoming an all-day affair. Knitwear is not only for the chillier seasons, showing up on the summer runway allowing more wardrobe flexibility.

There was as much buzz off the runway as on with three vying for fashionista's attention. Sharon Stone was in town to celebrate the new Just Cavalli flagship store opening Friday. Soul singer Beth Ditto was performing during Donatella Versace's Versus show. The fashion world also was on hand for an exclusive tour of an exhibit of masterpieces from the Picasso Museum in Paris on display at the Palazzo Reale.

VERSACE

Donatella Versace created a couture feel for her preview show Friday night, replacing benches with gilded chairs and decorating two courtyard trees with faux white flowers.

The setting emphasized the neat tailoring in the collection for next summer, but don't be fooled. Versace gave the look a lingerie edge, keeping it sexy by combining lace, leather and silk. The look came in mini slip dresses in crushed silk. Others were slashed and laced back together.

Versace said the look was for a woman who is both "strong and fragile."

Whether intentional or not, there was a Stevie Nicks spirit about the show, reflected in the long flowing gowns - and a cover version of Dreams played as the models strode down the illuminated runway. Versace may well have been paying tribute in her designs to the Nicks' song Leather and Lace.

The normally Baroque iconic Medusa made an appearance in tie-dyed prints, hinting at a hippie vibe, which also came through in the long flowing dresses - especially a blue gown with elaborate geometric studding that was split up the front and laced together enticingly over the bodice.

Detailing is always a central part of a Versace collection, seen here in tiny metal chains and studs. The designer used mixed metal fringe to construct shift cocktail dresses.

The ornament was in the clothes, making jewellery superfluous. Shoes were strappy high-heeled sandals, sometimes wrapping all the way to the knee. Hair was long and wind-swept.

MOSCHINO

Moschino's collection for next summer had all the basics of 1960s pop art: clear lines, strong colours and bold graphic elements.

White suits and dresses were trimmed in black with black buttons, while black suits were accented in white. The outfits were paired with black or white riding hats cinched around the chin, big earrings and white gloves.

Moschino then evolved into colour, a runway progression that mimicked the technological advance from black-and-white to colour television in the 1960s. The colours were mostly bright - orange, pink, blue and yellow, - and included bold florals. Repeating motifs included hearts and diamonds of playing cards and simple flowers.

Moschino creative director Rossella Jardini often trimmed the clothes, giving them a clear graphic effect, as if to say: Here are the pockets, this is the waist, there's the neckline and the hem. And she made good use of stripes.

Styles ranged from jackets and cigarette pants to cropped tops and rompers. Cutout panels on the sides of mini-dresses and jumpsuits gave a sexy feel.

The vibe was decidedly mod, with long hair teased for volume and pulled back like a go-go dance.

JUST CAVALLI

The Just Cavalli spring-summer 2013 collection is just right for the young and cheeky clientele that designer Roberto Cavalli has in mind for his second-line label.

The Florentine designer, known for his sexy styles, opted for demure rather than daring in his latest collection. Printed chiffon, uneven hemlines and tattered stitching combined to create a peek-a-boo effect, leaving the rest to the imagination.

Argentine model Martin Mica, actress Sharon Stone's boyfriend, made a cameo appearance on the runway wearing a white double-breasted summer suit set off by Tuxedo bands of leopard fabric on the trousers __ both on the outer and inner seams. The couple is in town to attend Fashion Week. Stone will also chair an event Saturday for amFAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research.

Most outfits in the warm weather show were loose and flowing, but there was also the usual share of pants and leggings in Cavali's signature animal print. A simple jeans vest over a pair of leopard printed pants underlined the youthful feeling of the collection.

Footwear was high-heeled but never aggressive: Open toed booties, high boots, and sandals strapped at the ankle, a popular style on the current Milan runway.

Models wore bare makeup with hair long and curly. Jewellery was optional.

LES COPAINS

Loose-fitting sweaters define the silhouette for the latest collection from Les Copains.

Designer Alessandro Dell'Acqua focused on the label's trademark knitwear for the womenswear spring-summer 2013 collection.

Relaxed striped sweaters with a nautical feel were paired with fitted cigarette pants or pencil skirts. Dell'Acqua also took inspiration from the African Masai intricate intarsia knitwear that showed up as sweaters, skirts and dresses. Sequins and beads made some pieces ready for evening.

The collection also contained flower graphics -- one of the themes blossoming on the Milan runway this season.

Accessories included thin golden belts, cinching a black sequinned dress with sheer top or a sparkly gold bustier dress.

ETRO

Playing with colours and combining them into beautiful patterns is an Etro trademark.

For next summer designer Veronica Etro transformed his prints into a variety of silhouettes from the Hawaiian Muumuu to the Oriental pajama and female Ninja warrior.

Whatever the style, the look was as light as a paint brush stroke. The prints highlighted the uniqueness of the gowns from a butterfly inspired dress with wing-like sleeves to a slender dress with a built-in long cape.

- AP

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