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Demure yet devastating, D&G shine with bra tops and big pants in Milan

THE highlight of Milan Fashion Week's fifth day was without doubt Dolce & Gabbana's intensely Italian spring/summer 2012 show.

After last week's announcement that the house will close its second line, D&G -- and a show for that range which was something of a bittersweet swansong -- the design duo proved with their main line that they and their hyperbolic glamour are here to stay.

Models were in skimpy bra tops and knickerbockers, crochet pencil skirts and cropped cotton swing jackets, sashayed to Mambo Italiano sung by Sophia Loren, in a collection based on the designers' reverie of life in a southern Italian village and the 1955 film Pane, amore e.

Prints came via a farmers' market, daubed in a rustic, painterly fashion on simple cotton tunics and sundresses.

The collection continued with the demure yet devastating Forties-line of structured black dresses, bejewelled bras, big knickers and bodysuits, sparkling with sequins, metallic brocades, rhinestones and beaded fringing. Current face of the label Scarlett Johansson sat in the front row and enjoyed a collection that suited her down to the ground. Angela Missoni's collection used the label's signature chevron stripes, colourful zig-zags and fine gauge weaves and re-cast them in bright flamenco styles.

Ruffles cascaded down one-shouldered tops and dresses, while sheer, striped and bias-cut long skirts in indigo and royal blue fell to dipping handkerchief hems.

The family-run label's mastery of the loom was evident in pieces that blended abstracted animal prints into diverse and deconstructed patterns to startling graphic effect.

Also working with a headstrong sense of her own style is designer Consuelo Castiglioni of Marni, which showed yesterday.

The former furrier founded the label in 1994 and has become known for idiosyncratic collections that plunge deep into trends others nervously paddle at the edge of.

There were architecturally cut dresses and tunics in pastels so prevalent for spring, but the hues had been souped up.

Electric floral and intarsia flourishes came on shirtdresses worn over sheer organza underskirts, while brown and yellow lozenge prints were reminiscent of Bauhaus simplicity.