With Milan Fashion Week in full swing, fashionista’s the world over have converged on the Italian fashion centre, anxious for the Next Big Thing. The highlight of the week is certain to be the appearance of supermodel Gisele Bündchen on the Dolce e Gabbana catwalk on Thursday afternoon. Nevertheless, the shows themselves warranted as much excitement, if not more.

One of the most anticipated shows of the week is always Prada. One never knows quite what to expect, but one thing is certain: Miuccia Prada always seems to have her finger on the pulse of fashion forward tastes and design, and where she goes, the rest will follow. This season’s somewhat bizarre furry dresses, coats and skirts and armless overcoats might take some getting used to, though. As the designer herself puts it: “Something simple but strange.” Too right!

Contrary to his usual m.o., Giorgio Armani’s take on the fall 2007 collection for Emporio Armani is extremely girlish, childish almost. The only things missing are the big bow in the hair, the bobby socks and the Mary Janes. The puff-ball skirts and black ribboned on a few dresses were uncomfortably reminiscent of high school dances back in the Eighties and the skirt lengths were ultimately unflattering, even on the tall, slim models. Having said that, Armani presented a number of delectable swing coats and empire-waist cocktail dresses in dove grey and pale blue satin.

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Bottega Veneta once again proved that what it’s best at is simplicity. The brand’s signature luxury translates best into clean lines and fluid shapes, leaving the fussy adornment to the likes of Roberto Cavalli and Versace. Tomas Maier designs for mature women who are aware of their bodies and not afraid to celebrate them, even in the seemingly plainest of shift dresses. He stays away from the trends, neither creating nor protesting, but occupies a space where trends have no meaning. His palette was limited to black, cream, terracotta and mustard yellow, with the focus on playful details like ruched cap sleeves on a simple shift, layered fringes on a golden cocktail frock and gathering at the waist and bust to create a relief in the material.

Also showing their collections this week are Roberto Cavalli, Jil Sander, Anna Molinari, Gucci and Marni, among others. The week ends this Saturday.