Financial headlines about Standard & Poor’s downgrading Italy’s credit rating a notch doesn’t exactly make the best backdrop for Milan Fashion Week. Not that the Milanese have ever been ones to sacrifice quality in the face of hard times (just look at the numbers of shoppers carrying designer shopping bags on via Montenapoleone.) Gucci kicked off the week with a collection that oozed luxury and was almost entirely dedicated to decadent evening dressing. Frida Giannini’s clothes (which she called Hard Deco) were dipped, embroidered, and accented with gold. It appeared everywhere: as buttons lining an ankle slit on trousers, bands of hardware around drop-waist dresses, the embroidery on a jacket and as the tip on a pointy-toed stiletto, to name just a few of a boat load of examples. It was Gucci at its flashiest and in a way seemed totally out of touch with the world. But then again, the price of gold is expected to spike to $2,000 an ounce by the end of this year due to its status as a foolproof investment in rocky financial times. A coincidence? Frida's no fool. –Kenya Hunt


Alberta Ferretti

The queen of all things ethereal and pretty has always been the go-to for soft, feminine dresses for weddings or the red carpet. So it’s been nice to see her break character these past two seasons with clothes that are a little less sweet and a little more seductive. She followed up the mod shifts she turned out for fall with sexier fare including bias cut silk dresses that had clean lines and sheer, Art-Deco shaped inserts and transparent, crochet knit dresses in tropical colors. These were clothes to

wear on the girls’ trip to Miami, rather than the long-lost cousin’s nuptials, which sounds a lot more fun, no? –Kenya Hunt

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