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Models lined up backstage at Marni, Milan, September 24.  

To use a sometimes cryptic fashion expression, this was not the most directional of seasons. Which is another way of saying: The trends were kind of here, there, and everywhere. Hemlines were up, down, and occasionally both at once. The great news is that the options are many. Play it safe with beige—this season’s black—or go gutsy with wild mixes of color, texture, and pattern. There were rustic Laura Ingalls looks straight from the prairie, and also nearly nude, sheer evening dresses. Punchy, graphic blacks and whites were countered with romantic three-dimensional florals. And accessories abounded! Shoes were big, nutty, dangerous, and there was giant jewelry too. But as these add-ons expanded, handbags contracted. The new shape is the clutch: sleek, portable, and not much bigger than your hand. In the middle of it all, though, ran a stream of elegance and confidence: French twists, red lipstick, and grown-up silhouettes. Consistent, no, but plenty of directions worth following.


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