The new spring/summer 2013 collections in Milan herald a softer approach and looser shapes.
This is particularly apparent at Dolce & Gabbana and Versace, labels renowned for their celebration of la bella figura. D&G's joyful Sicilian holiday collection features A-line and trapeze-shaped sundresses in deckchair stripes and puppet-theatre prints, while Donatella's long dresses come in bold tie-dye prints and soft crushed silks.
Gucci's coloured tunics over trousers, trimmed with large ruffles and big, jewelled necklaces, evoke glamorous images of Italian high society during Gucci's early 1970s heyday.
Giorgio Armani's flowing layers have always been part of his vocabulary, with plenty of breezy swing jackets in shades of grey, delicate kaleidoscopic prints and beading.
Jil Sander's modern minimalist agenda is apparent in her austere, voluminous coats and dresses with gently sculpted, soft shoulderlines and a slender body that belled out into full skirts. This sense of volume is repeated at Marni, where boxy, trapeze-line tops seem to float around the body and over longer A-line skirts.
Both Fendi and Bottega Veneta present a strong, but not hard, shoulder. Karl Lagerfeld, at Fendi, adds volume around the body with fine nappa leather and silk taffeta for his jackets and dresses, while Tomas Maier at Bottega Veneta plays a retro tune with his 1940s-style dresses in sweet, vintage flower prints with wondrous artisan detailing.
The simplicity of the Orient threads its way through many collections, including a chrysanthemum print at Gucci and Marni and a series of voluminous kimono jackets at Etro and Pucci. The chief protagonist, Miuccia Prada, punctuated the simple lines of the Japanese kimono and neat, origami-folded tops with daisy prints and appliqués, but sparingly.
Colours for summer range from gentle lagoon blues and greens at Just Cavalli to spicy earth shades at MaxMara, interspersed with lots of bold, black-and-white graphics at Prada and Moschino.