D&G pays tribute to Milan moms

by Colleen Barry, AP

MILAN (AP) – Model Bianca Balta won applause of approval as she walked down the Dolce&Gabbana runway in an advanced stage of pregnancy. It was part of the designing duo’s early Mother’s Day present to women, a collection dedicated to mom.

Elsewhere around Milan, the 1970s got a revival by the young design team Au Jour Le Jour, Missoni reached out for a younger audience and Giorgio Armani launched what may become his It Bag.

Highlights from shows Sunday, the fifth day of Milan Fashion Week, include Dolce&Gabbana, Marni, Missoni and Salvatore Ferragamo.

Dolce&Gabbana (D&G) paid tribute to motherhood in full flower, sending an expectant mother, model Bianca Balti, swathed in pink down the runway against a backdrop of 11 mothers and their children.

Maternity’s bloom set off a wave of applause among the usually unflappable fashion crowd _ which excited one baby on stage to start clapping himself.

The theme-hewing designers are dedicating next winter’s men’s and women’s collections to mothers in an effort, according to the show notes, to allow `’fashion to be seen as an extension of where one comes from.”

The menswear collection, presented last month, looked up the generational chart to grandmothers, while this season focused on young mothers – a group that perhaps does not get enough attention in a country with among the lowest birthrates in the Western world. And they sure made motherhood appealing.

Designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana kept the shapes simple, with flared skirts, wrap coats, shift dresses and some hip minis, and incorporated all of the brand’s sensual elements, including lace, sequins and appliques.

The designers endearingly turned drawings by their nieces and nephews into a colorful fabric for flared skirts, strapless dresses and scarves, scrawled with a child’s expressions of affection, including `’You are the most beautiful mother in the world.”

The mother-pairings gave a brief window on the designers’ children’s line. A radiant model in a floral skirt and black sweater adorned with a red rose – a recurring motif – held her squirming infant in a Dolce&Gabbana vest and trouser outfit, and a mother and daughter sashayed in matching pink dresses.

Handbags were larger-than-usual carryalls, keeping in mind everything mothers must tote along. And models wore bejeweled headphones, considered by the designers to be a modern crown. The label’s traditional finale was entirely in black, including some pretty negligees, because mothers need some down time, too.