15 Greatest Hits: Milan & Paris

Our top looks and trends from Paris and Milan Fashion weeks. By Christene Barberich & Piera Gelardi
For the fall/winter 2008 shows in Milan and Paris, it was more like a tale of 10 cities—from different times and galaxies—than just two. Many designers didn't just pick up where they left off last season, but launched forward into some daring (and in some cases, perplexing) new territory.
Choosing favorites seemed tougher this time around than ever before, given all the fanciful explorations and experiments: Could Miuccia's hefty, brutish lace even be compared to McQueen's fantasy Girl in a Tree? Regardless of the misses (some designers really need to master the art of the edit, despite their eccentricities), the hits—from Haider Ackerman and Lanvin to Balenciaga and Burberry—were nothing but solid-gold and platinum. Here, we've sized up our favorites looks and trends from Milan and Paris.
1. Blurred, blown-up prints—There was something about the oversized blurred-out prints that reminded us of crafty knitted '70s wall hangings or those incredible vintage sand paintings. The effect, however, was entirely cool and fun, thanks to Sonia Rykiel and Stella McCartney's gutsy, fuzzy, blown-up renditions. From left: Sonia Rykiel, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, Sonia Rykiel
2. Evening skirt suits—We're definitely onboard with the return of the skirt, but the sharpest takes elevated those classic 2-piece suits to glam post-work, party-perfect proportions. From left: Lanvin, Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney, Chanel
3. The amazing lace—We heard that Miuccia who (allegedly) previously deplored lace sourced this giant drapery style fabric in Switzerland. We're not sure we care where she found it, only that it's absolutely amazing that she did—and was unstoppable with it. It seems other designers were similarly attune to her frequency using gorgeous, thick webby lace as their own new brooding canvas. From left: Stella McCartney, Prada, Chanel, Miu Miu
4. Tell tails—It's unclear why it's taken this long for long sweeping tails on beautifully tailored jackets to emerge. Regardless, these dramatic, sometimes militaristic styles are a welcome newcomer that any woman would want to wear. From left: Yves Saint Laurent, Chloé, Givenchy, Nina Ricci
5. Bundling up—Haider Ackerman, Alberta Ferretti, and Ungaro were just a few of the designers who brought some major emphasis back to the neck and shoulders by piling, cocooning, wrapping, and draping. In most cases, it was both exciting and appealing given the interesting new chapter it brought to proportion. From left: Emanuel Ungaro, Haider Ackermann, Emanuel Ungaro, Haider Ackermann
6. Ruching and the new jodphur—It was hard to distinguish which was the more interesting look: delicate ruching on silky long harem-style pants or a new evening-ready spin on last year's jodphur. The shapes may be tough for many girls to pull off, but from our vantage point, they're still pretty hot. From left: Haider Ackermann, Balmain, Nina Ricci, Haider Ackermann
7. Dress meets pants…meets dress—It wasn't too many seasons ago that Michael Kors declared on Project Runway that "dresses over pants is so over!" (or something to that effect). The truth is, he was right. But the dresses topping pants that we spotted this season introduced a clever new play on contrasting fabrics and textures revealing a more modern, blended layering. We love. From left: Dries Van Noten, Veronique Branquinho, Fendi
8. Purple passion—In New York it was pumpkin and cobalt, but the shade we loved the most in Europe was this rich and romantic shade of satiny, silky grape. Sweet! From left: Alberta Ferretti, Burberry Prorsum, Alberta Ferretti

9. A new fur—Designers were eager to experiment with all manner of texture, and that definitely revealed a new interest in furry, hairy, fuzzy, and feathery vest, skirts, and coats. It's a bit costumey for our taste, but we can definitely see the statement appeal. Worst Dressed offenders, be warned. From left: Fendi, Marni, Dolce & Gabbana, Burberry Prorsum
10. Sixties middle ground—Hints of Courrèges and early Cristóbal Balenciaga were more than detectable with some of the mod'ish sculptural mini-dresses we spotted. And the best as with 6267 and YSL were those that added graphic—and slimming—panels of black at the torso. From left: Yves Saint Laurent, Miu Miu, Alessandro Dell'Acqua
11. Modern tweed—The functional frump of classic tweed was nowhere in site, thanks to this season's artful twists and turns. Both Marni and Jil Sander proved that warm winter-wear can still be gorgeously conceptual and wearable. From left: Jil Sander, 6267, Marni
12. Winter chiffon—Ahh, to be 18 again with a brand-new Amex! Youthful joy was all we could think about when tallying up the many wispy dresses and gowns we spotted for next fall. What made them newer this season was the delicate pleats, layers, patterns, and embellishments that gave these light-as-air fabrics more heft and substance. From left: Chloé, Emanuel Ungaro, Valentino
13. Puttin' on the glitz—Studding, beading, sequins, you name it—all-over bling was the thing, Big-time. From left: Lanvin, Sonia Rykiel, 6267
14. Pierrot-inspired collars…again—You saw them in New York and London, and by golly, you've got them in Milan and Paris, too. Are they something we would wear? Maybe. For a dinner at the White House. After the election, of course. From left: 6267, Valentino, Viktor & Rolf
15. Battlestar shoulder—Were they architectural, Blade Runner, or more Brazil? Whichever look appeals, the outerspace-by-way-of-medieval shoulder shape and added adornment (pleats, epaulets, STUFF!) was a more dramatic continuation of the bold shoulder we loved in New York. That is, sharp, sexy, and bad-to-the-bone. From left: Veronique Branquinho, Anne Valerie Hash, Miu Miu, Fendi
Images via style.com.
Our top looks and trends from Paris and Milan Fashion weeks.

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