Milan Days and Nights

Narciso Rodriguez, flying solo, showed real clothes for real women.

MISSONI: This is a benchmark season for Missoni, the first collection designed by Angela Missoni rather than her parents, Rosita and Tai, who officially passed the baton this year after 44 years.

Actually, Angela's influence has been strong for some time.

Now that she is officially directing the firm's creative efforts, a key goal is to evolve the house's legendary knitwear focus into a more complete collection, and she was instrumental in signing a licensing deal with Staff International to produce wovens.

Certainly that change brought a freshness to the Missoni look, not to mention a more realistic take on the way people dress. For the most part, the sportswear looked good, if not particularly distinctive, although some silk dresses with oversized stripes were too artsy-craftsy.

As for the sweaters, shown in versions from sexy camisoles to dancing dresses with miles of fringe -- they were characteristically strong and often discreet. But no sweater is discreet enough to slip on over a broad-shouldered leather jacket without looking silly.

Such styling conceits have run their course -- particularly in Milan.
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