Here we are, the first day of Milan Fashion Week and what happens? Yes, it’s raining. A constant drizzle for most the morning, punctuated by heavy showers timed just about the moment one needs to dash from the taxi to the entrance of the nearest building. Getting a sense of street style is a bit difficult when everyone is hiding under umbrellas and big coats. Milan is a city that gets high on pomp and procedure, so there were festivities to be had and proclamations to be read before the first show could actually get underway. Of course, that was late. Milan rivals New York when it comes to not being able to start on time. This morning’s delays were totally understandable, though.

Angelo Marani had the distinction of being the first designer to send his wares down the catwalk this season. For most Americans, for a large part of the world for that matter, the name Marani is more closely associated with jeans and casual wear. His eponymous label, however, is extremely well tailored and can compete with every other fashion house in town, thank you very much. He demonstrated that fact this morning with a gorgeous set of clothes that are elegant, artistic, and well refined.

What one won’t see from Marani is gaudy. There’s no stiff leather here, nor PVC, nor metallic fabrics, nor much of anything else that shows off too ostentatiously. Instead, Marani makes great use of traditional materials, especially knits, to wonderful effect. For this season, he plays heavily with geometric shapes for a majority of the collection, working the knits with suede and fur touches and accessories to marvelous effect. He is very much into scarves this season and follows a trend we saw in London for wearing a scarf asymmetrically, with the right side longer than the left. Different, though, is that Marani doesn’t belt his scarves. That works well when the scarf is a light-weight print. But when he uses heavier material, one wonders just how well the scarf stays in position as one walks around.

Toward the end of the collection,  Marani comes out with a beautiful set of prints that achieve perfection when he offers them on chiffon. The effect is light, delicate, and stunning. Marani manages to keep the chiffon seasonally appropriate through knowledgeable use of layering, which just adds to the beauty of the ensemble.

Throughout the collection, there are a few evening dresses tastefully done in sequins, as well as a few where the fur is probably a little excessive for US tastes, but this is Italy where such looks are perfectly acceptable.

Angelo Marani provided a wonderful start to this season’s Milan Fashion Week and gives women an elegant and refined choice for this fall.

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