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Jan 17, 2015 3:53 PM

Mary J. Blige fetes DSquared2 at Milan Fashion Week opening

The Associated Press

MILAN (AP) Designer twins Dean and Dan Caten kicked off the Milan Fashion Week Saturday with a 20th anniversary gala celebration featuring Mary J. Blige serenading the duo in a former airplane hangar-turned-art gallery.

The first day of the festivities also featured preview collections by Dolce & Gabbana, Jil Sander and Versace, who all stand ready to capitalize on a strong 2014 that saw Italian menswear revenues grow by 1.2 percent to 8.6 billion euros ($10 billion).

In coming days Frida Gianni will roll out her last menswear collection for Gucci, which she leaves after a decade, while Italian design newcomer Stella Jean, who claims singer Rihanna among her followers, will preview her first men's collection.

Here are some highlights from the first day of the fashion extravaganza, which is expected to end with a performance by Snoop Dogg.


Viva la familiga. Dolce & Gabbana kept the family close at heart during the menswear preview for next winter, featuring real-life families on stage, and even childhood snapshots of the designers' own families on the scrapbook-style invitations.

Eight Italian families posed in the labels' finery to create a tableau vivant background for the runway show with a 2-year-old boy clad in gray short pants squirming charmingly in his father's arms.

In a tribute to real life, designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana featured not just the usual casting of young models but also more distinguished gray-haired gentlemen in formal business suits, eveningwear and big shearling coats.

Family portraits adorned many of the looks: from rich sepia photographs of the assembled families to reproductions of Renaissance-era paintings of the Holy Family reproduced on velvet tops adorned with golden brocade stitching.



Belting out U2's "One," pop diva Mary J. Blige celebrated the designing twins Dean and Dan Caten on the 20th anniversary of their DSquared2 fashion label.

The Caten twins, decked out in matching celebratory tuxedos, showed their tribute collection to 1,300 guests amid towering sculptures by German artist Anselm Kiefer at Pirelli's capacious Hangar Bicocca on the outskirts of Milan.

"We want to look ahead," Dan Caten said. "In these years, we brought the brand exactly to the level that we always dreamed, we learned the tricks of the trade and now we have again found the same enthusiasm as when we started out."



The designers dug deep into their Canadian roots for their anniversary collection with looks befitting the funkiest of lumberjacks, fur traders and rodeo riders.

Supersized fur caps with big ear flaps and oversized fur coats gave the collection a lush impression. But much of the collection had a distinctly utilitarian feel: Red plaid shirts were worn under down vests with fur accents, and paired with the designers' de rigueur jeans and knee-high boots.

The mannish aesthetic was belied only briefly by flashes of hot pink on a pair of jackets and a shirt.



White shoes for winter, oh my!

Roldolfo Paglialunga, Jil Sander's new designer, played with color and form for his first menswear collection ever, not just at his new label, and made clear he meant to adhere to no fashion rule book in particular.

Footwear epitomized the playfulness of the collection, whose lines and colors were as easy to read as the Sunday morning comics. Shoes were monochromatic and chunky, ranging from rubbery white to equally un-wintery orange, to more classic leather shoes in black and tan.

Trousers were either both trim and snug, or amply pleated and roomy for a softer, perhaps even feminine look. There was an oversized vibe to the collection, with belted overcoats and sweatshirts with deliberate and intricate creases suggesting the precision of Japanese folds. Colors defined each look as cobalt blue played against rust and saffron against navy and camel against gray.


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