Milan isn't known for it's subtlety when it comes to fashion, but on the penultimate day of the Italian fashion calendar it took Peter Dundas at Emilio Pucci to really let rip, with a ritzy, glitzy, over-the-top ode to unabashed, undeniably Italian extravagance. Dundas may be Norwegian, but he worked with Roberto Cavalli - Italian - and headed Ungaro - more Italian - before finding his feet at Pucci. His collections have thus become a seductive cocktail, combining Ungaro's couture hand with Cavalli's unabashed exuberance, throwing in some of his experience with Parisian fourrure specialist Revillon, and shaking the whole lot together with a resolutely modern taste. It's an intoxicating draught and one that's already won his very many very young fans - if this mixture is anything, it's an elixir of youth, with an age limit somewhere in the mid thirties.
That said, Dundas continued to define and refine his feeling for this Florentine print-house. A Latin Lothario par excellence, Emilio Pucci himself would have appreciated some of Dundas' numbers - redefining short, they zipped around the torso from throat to crotch (and little further) in a cornucopia of adornment, bristling with beading, tufted with feathers, dripping in lace. The silhouette was tight, the colours were bright but the hand was light. It takes great skill to handle these kind of passementierie embellishments without losing control, but Dundas has a sure hand and enough confidence to trust his judgement when troppo is just troppo enough.
It is true that this is a path being worn very well by Christophe Decarnin at Balmain, but Dundas isn't just a one-stop shop for a racy buttock-riding cocktail shocker. This collection showed a subtler, softer side, with floor-length evening gowns in fils coupe and jacquard worked in those curvilinear Pucci swirls in an opium-saturated palette of rich, iridescent shades of cyan, violet and poisonous greens from emerald through to chartreuse.. The self-same swirls came voided into chrysophrase velvet, or woven into inky 'Pucci lace', veiling bared backs in a clever update on the houses' heritage. It was fantastic to see him tackle this with such aplomb, but equally exciting that he didn't feel constrained by the oft-albatross weight of those signature prints. The mix of all the elements in this collection was perfectly balanced, from seÃƒÂ±orita fringing frothing jackets, scarves and wrap-around dresses, to metallic inserts on furs, to stack-heeled brogues and gypsy bags - tiered in leather and hung with a trapper's haul of mink tails. It sounds like it shouldn't have worked, but it was superb. For those looking for something new, and, perhaps, less razzle-dazzle, his tailoring was outstanding: trenches in exotic skin, flawless knee-length coats and jackets sliced to angular boleros. In lacquered crocodile hung with shredded tassels, those jackets were another example of his eye-popping technique, but in firm doubleface navy and cream wool they had a chic reality, paired with those serpentine dresses or high-waist wide-leg trousers fluidly-cut like palazzos. It was these longer, covered-up silhouettes that felt genuinely new, exciting, and infinitely wearable by a whole range of women. If the rest was just enticing window-dressing, it was superbly done.