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Norwegian designer Peter Dundas spearheaded a youthful revolution in Milan on Saturday, laying out his new vision for Roberto Cavalli as other top brands also embraced rejuvenation.

The Cavalli collection was one of the most eagerly awaited of the week, being the first to take place without the company's eponymous founder who has ceded control to a private equity group.

They brought Dundas in from Emilio Pucci and the Norwegian did not waste any time in signalling a dramatic break with the past.



The rock and roll edge to the brand and its sensual, sexy core remained intact but there was some carping in the Italian media that something of its essence had disappeared.

"The new start signals the end of glamour," reported La Repubblica, although its review was broadly favourable and noted that it was too early to say if Dundas was going to give Cavalli the kind of fillip enjoyed by Gucci since Alessandro Michele took the reins there at the start of the year.

The biggest change came with the virtual axing of red carpet-style night gowns from the collection in favour of lighter and more easy-to-wear nightwear such as one ultra-short dress featuring a long train.

Alongside that there was a range of accessible denim items featuring frills, tie dye and chain fringes.


- Maintaining Cavalli's soul -



"My first task since arriving here has been to think of something different that still maintains the soul of Roberto Cavalli," Dundas said.

"Today's women are freer and looking for easier, perhaps more sporty clothes."

Relaxed, comfortable clothes were also in vogue at Bottega Veneta, which put together a very sporty collection featuring high-tech jogging pants, hooded sweatshirts and fitted gilets.

Creative director Tomas Maier took inspiration from sailing for evening dresses made from a single piece of fabric modelled on a length of sail and held together by what looked like nautical rope.




Standing apart from the crowd was up-and-coming Israeli designer Daizy Shely, who says she makes clothes for women like her who believe that fashion should make you dream.

On the basis of her eye-catching debut Milan catwalk show , Shely wants her customers to be dreaming of California -- or a late 1980s nightclub thumping to the beat of S'Express.

The acid house pioneers' DJ leader Mark Moore may have been the last person to be seen sporting something akin to the oversized puffy marabou feather jacket that Shely made the centrepiece of her show at the Teatro Armani.

Orange bandanas and matching hotpants or bellbottom flares either side of halterneck bra-tops continued the rave theme in a collection where the brightness knob had been turned up to 11.

The winner of last year's Vogue Italia's "Who's on Next" prize, Shely was parading her wears at Giorgio Armani's state-of-the-art Milan headquarters after being chosen as the latest beneficiary of the veteran designer's scheme to help young talent get exposed to the international spotlight.




Previous recipients of the award, now in its 10th season, include Haitian-Italian designer Stella Jean, Au Jour le Jour's Diego Marquez and Mirko Fontana, and Angelos Bratis -- all of whom have considerably grown their business and their profiles in the aftermath of their Armani patronage.

Shely said the challenge of following in the wake of such creative talents had been daunting.

"First of all it was a big responsibility for me," she told AFP backstage after the show. "Because first of all, to get that chance to show your collection in Teatro Armani, the home of such a legend designer... I felt so stressed.

"I really felt like 'I must do something special to show I deserved it'.

"It was a big surprise and I had a very short time to organise myself. But already I had created my collection as I had dreamed it would be on the catwalk, so it was not so difficult. I didn't need to change anything." afp