Stars check out the latest fashions from Armani, Versace, and other designers in Milan

Latest fall fashions from Milan

Heard of basketball’s March Madness? Well, the fashion world has its own version, and the setting is a lot more chic than a sports arena. At the fall fashion shows in Milan last week, hems swooped longer than Naomi Campbell‘s legs, and fabrics flip-flopped as sharply as the supermodel has on animal rights. As designers served up clothes made of everything from boiled wool to plastic, the fashionistas buzzed about a gaggle of no-shows. Which veteran model was stuck in a hospital with anorexia? How red-faced was the Genny design house about Erykah Badu‘s last-minute concert cancellation? And most pressing, where were the Spice Girls? Although one editor spied Ginger Spice, wearing little more than a camisole and black underwear, darting in and out of an elevator looking for her hotel room, the group (in town on a world tour) failed to appear at a single show. But why stare when you can shop? As fashion week came to a close, the fivesome stocked up at Versace’s Milan boutique. What will other celebs — not to mention civilians — be buying come fall? Here’s the runway rundown. — Degen Pener



The Look Always timeless and classy, but the collection was also surprisingly in tune with Milan’s biggest trend: floor-grazing hems. From flowing satin skirts to shearling-lined greatcoats, Armani sold nothing short.

Star Power Salma Hayek, who loved the ”outrageous” red dresses

React Kiss-kiss. ”Giorgio’s done it again,” exclaimed Barneys’ Simon Doonan.

Perfect for Armani loyalist and mom-to-be Jodie Foster. Long’s great when you’re also going wide.


The Look Tin is in! It may sound tacky, but the Italian duo successfully combined metallic fabrics with vintage-looking florals. Shiny never looked so sumptuous.

Star Power Though Gwyneth Paltrow and Sigourney Weaver are devotees, D&G cut out the celeb quotient, giving the clothes the only spotlight.

React Modern love. ”Retro with techno,” says Bergdorf Goodman’s Lillian Wang. ”It was very reminiscent of Galliano…but very interesting.”

Perfect for Madonna, whose new CD melds old-fashioned longing with electronica


The Look A love-hate relationship with sparkles. Alberta Ferretti buried shiny beading beneath netting and layers of wool (sounds itchy). Here, beauty really did come from within.

Star Power Andie MacDowell, with a daughter in tow: ”It’s her birthday.”

React ”It’s all about hidden luxury,” says Nicole Fischelis, fashion director of Saks Fifth Avenue. ”[Ferretti’s] like a new romantic.”

Perfect for Any actress who deep down would really rather direct


The Look Long, lean, and military mean. The wittiest twist was an ankle-length skirt with a very masculine-looking crotch. ”I call them trouser skirts,” says designer Tom Ford. ”They are really like wearing pants.”

Star Power Only Ford himself, who’s been talking about directing a movie.

React ”The long skirts are flattering even if you don’t have great legs,” says Bergdorf’s Wang. ”Tall, short, skinny, fat, it works.”

Perfect for Demi Moore, who could have used one of those skirts in G.I. Jane


The Look Back to the future, with ’60s-style white plastic and film stock on dresses. ”I’m interested in beauty that comes from technology,” says Miuccia Prada. Talk about celluloid dreams.

Star Power Who needs stars when you’ve got shoes? Video projections of the footwear meant even backbenchers could see the hot heels.

React A mixed bag. Many admired it, but Bergdorf’s Wang says,”I thought it wasn’t really a way that a woman wants to look.”

Perfect for Heather Graham. A techno shift is perfect for her Lost in Space premiere.


The Look A serenely cozy but commercially questionable collection featuring, of all things, padded dresses. Do women really want to look like fencers?

Star Power Zippo, and the room could have used some heat.

React ”We’re all a little confused about the padding,” says Bloomingdale’s Kal Ruttenstein. ”We don’t think our customers [will] get it.”

Perfect for Titanic‘s Kate Winslet, but only if she’s still suffering from hypothermia


The Look In her first truly solo effort, Donatella Versace went searching for the Holy Grail, relying on her brother’s trademark chain-mail look and introducing her own floaty Guinevere-ish dresses.

Star Power Bush’s Gavin Rossdale (right), Melanie Griffith, and Jon Bon Jovi

React ”[It] was Gothic,” says Ruttenstein. But Griffith, looking at the dress above, remarked, ”I don’t think I could get away with that.”

Perfect for No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani, whose boyfriend, Rossdale, was taking notes. ”I saw some cool dresses I can impress someone with,” he joked. Now that’s devotion.