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Fendi honors Lagerfeld and fashion's 'longest love story'

MILAN (AP) — Fendi paid understated tribute Thursday to Karl Lagerfeld, who died this week and was the Rome-based fashion house's creative director for 54 years. The fashion house said in notes for its Milan Fashion Week show that the Fall/Winter 2019-2020 collection "is the final collection designed by Karl Lagerfeld, representing a lifetime of dedication and creation from 1965 until today."

Reproductions of five of Lagerfeld's sketches accompanied the notes, summing up the looks. A small card came printed with his signature and the Fendi "F'' that had a heart forming the cross-stroke. The date of the designer's death was on the back: 19-02-2019.

A video recorded before his death showed Lagerfeld being asked to draw himself as he appeared on his first day at Fendi. "Well, that's prehistoric," the designer said. "In the 1960s, we didn't hold back."

His personal Fendi preview look: a Cerruti hat over his long hair, dark sunglasses, a printed Lavalliere tie, a yellow-and-red English hunting jacket in Scottish tweed, French-style culottes and a bag that he had found in Milan.

"That was my style. Disreputable," the late designer told the camera in French. Other highlights from the second day of Milan Fashion Week:

LAGERFELD'S FENDI FINALE

Karl Lagerfeld's grand finale at Fendi emulated the designer's signature style, with striking high collars and the models wearing ponytails at the nape.

The opening look featured a huge bow tie and a double-breasted jacket with white accents, worn with a mini-skirt showing off Fendi tights. That look was elaborated on to show the same jacket as a long overcoat, then paired with wide-legged pleated trousers with white stripe accents. A neat, point-collared shirt buttoned to the top unified the outfits. .

A series of wide-pleated skirts in shiny finishes or sheers, as well as structured dresses with pagoda shoulders, pointy collars and cinched waists feminized the collection.

Coats were luxurious furs with the elegant double-F logo in cursive - known as Lagerfeld's curling "Karligraphy" - and laser-cut leather with zippers that opened the sleeves and the back. Shiny leather coats were shaped like capes and had open-zip arms and fur collars.

Beyond neutral tones, Lagerfeld included flashes of daffodil yellow, seafoam green and tangerine. The looks were finished with fur riding caps, the Fendi Peekaboo bag with perforated detailing or the updated Baguette bag with a multi-strap harness.

Gigi Hadid closed the show in a diaphanous mango dress with a snug Fendi-logoed bodysuit. A big bow floated on the back.

FENDI'S PUBLIC FAREWELL

Silvia Venturini Fendi, who was a child when Lagerfeld joined Fendi and revolutionized fur at her family's fashion house, thanked the fashion crowd and took a bow, then clenched her fists and stepped backstage.

A screen descended: Backstage was kept private.

Venturini Fendi in a note said the bond between Lagerfeld and Fendi "is fashion's longest love story."

"When we called just a few days before the show, his only thoughts were on the richness and the beauty of the collection," she wrote. "It's a true testament to his character. He shall be so missed."

MAX MARA CELEBRATES THE POLITICS OF GLAMOR

Max Mara dedicated its collection to the "boss lady," a nod to the women who have strode to power in their luxury outerwear and business attire.

The show title, "the politics of glamor," was also a not-so-hidden reference to the brick-red "Fire Coat" that U.S. House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi wore to a White House showdown with President Donald Trump. A flurry of social media attention prompted the fashion house to reissue the high-neck coat.

Most of the looks in the latest collection for next fall and winter were for serious day dressing, with a focus on short skirts or longer versions that appeared cut from trousers, but with deep slits to show off knee-high, faux croc boots.

Outwear varied from ankle-length sleeveless coats with oversized pockets and to poncho coats with furry collars. Zips and pockets gave a sense of utility.

Max Mara punctuated its trademark neutral monotones with trios of colors and prints, opening the show with identical mini-skirt, business looks in an emerald green, sky blue and canary yellow. The outfits were topped with large, enveloping alpaca cardigans.

Wools mixed with technical fabrics, leathers and fur for contemporary styling. Neutral monotones in ivory, camel and caramel toast gave way to animal prints and heritage prints with heart motifs.

Accessories included an innovative bag that draped around the neck like a scarf and incorporated two compartments on each end, or a small clutch attached to the body with a harness.

Eva Herzigova closed the show with a black mini with the slightest golden sheen, worn with a black granite textured coat that was mined from the depths of fashion. Kaia Gerber rocked a layered off-white look with a rich, furry overcoat and single-button suit coat.

EMPORIO ARMANI FOR EVERY AGE

Emporio Armani is Giorgio Armani's line for youthful dressers, but the designer sent an older model down the runway to emphasize that age is not the defining measure.

For this collection, shapely legs certainly were. The looks included shorts that looked like skirts, or mini dresses with swinging hemlines. Armani included a low kitten heel on booties or knee-high evening sock boots, because "the low heel gave a sense of freedom."

He said a faux crocodile jacket could give an older woman an edgier touch at a price tag not out of this world.

The Emporio Armani freestyle styling included a sweatshirt with a new gold-embossed EA logo pairs with fluid, elegant trousers. An off-shoulder jumpsuit with a deconstructed jacket top projected a day-to-evening derring-do. Pretty dresses were paired with latex-effect leggings.

For Armani, the limits of fashion are defined by "good taste."

The collection included a series of red looks, perhaps a tribute to the growing Chinese market.

Red, along with black and white, "resets everything you see around, that is so much, too much," Armani said.

PRADA EXPLORES LOVE AND WAR

Prada's collection for next fall and winter explores the dichotomy between war and romance, the tug between better and baser impulses.

The collection veers from military looks in Loden textiles with combat boots but softened with furry backpacks to romantic styles with dresses strewn with floral appliques or layered with lace accents.

"It is about romance, but romance and fear," the designer said after the show. "In the sense that the two forces I feel at the moment are fear and danger, but at the same time romance is the solution. So these are pieces of love stories, introducing good in a world that has a lot of bad.

THE PRICE IS RIGHT AT MOSCHINO

Jeremy Scott staged a tongue-in-cheek Moschino game show to show off his collection of slinky dresses and gold lame on women with 1970s bouffants.

The collection fully embraced the early television era, with handbags shaped as TV dinners, toothpaste tubes and champagne bottles, reflecting the reality of home cuisine, a major TV-era advertising force and the millionaire dreams of the television audience.

Models shimmied up against a red Ferrari, a grandfather clock, kitchen appliances and a La-Z-Boy recliner -- the latter of which boasted price tags below most present-day luxury brand apparel.

Scott basked in the irony, taking a star turn under a shower of big gold confetti.

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