Designer Nora Bourelly (right) poses with friends in her creations on a street outside Valentino's Spring/Summer 2021 women's and men's show during Milan Fashion Week on Sunday in Milan. (Photo: AFP)
Face masks may have been the standout accessory at Milan Fashion Week, but designers who defied the coronavirus pandemic to put on shows dispelled gloom with love letters to Italy and sunnier times.
The week ended Sunday with Valentino, which had moved its catwalk from Paris this season as a show of support for an Italy devastated by the virus earlier in 2020.
Here is a round-up of the top three Spring/Summer 2021 trends:
Italy my love
Whether or not people will be permitted to travel to Italy in summer 2021, they can be transported there through their wardrobes.
Dolce&Gabbana paid homage to the designers' beloved Sicily, with a patchwork collection evoking the island's warmth and colors, while Etro was inspired by the picturesque Amalfi coast.
"I started the collection during the lockdown," designer Veronica Etro said.
"Like everyone else, I was at home doing housework. And my mother and I restored an old record player and started listening to old Neapolitan songs, and we were bewitched by the serenity, timelessness and elegance.
"Then I started thinking about a trip I made in 2019 to Ischia, Capri, Naples and Positano, and - maybe because we were feeling so patriotic then - I thought, okay, let's do the collection on Italy," she said.
Silky caftans in sorbet colors, patterned bikini tops and straw hats suggested walks on the beach before enjoying chic aperitifs.
Pucci instead headed for the island of Capri, distilling the fashion house's signature prints and 1960s silhouettes in pastel silks and organzas.
Max Mara's creative director Ian Griffiths thought not of seaside pleasures but summer in Italy's art cities and the Renaissance, with hexagonal motifs mimicking the mosaic floors of cathedrals.
The nationwide lockdown also appears to have prompted Italy's luxury brands to dust off their archives and reinterpret key pieces from the past.
Versace led the way, with Donatella Versace building on Gianni Versace's "tresor de la mer" collection for Spring 1992, with its starfish, coral and seashell motifs.
At Fendi, the collection was inspired by the finely embroidered household linen owned by designer Silvia Venturini Fendi's family.
Over at Marni, coats made from up-cycled pieces from previous collections were then hand-painted with words that designer Francesco Risso collected from exchanges he had with friends and his team during lockdown.
It was an oft-heard debate of lockdown: Does not leaving the house mean you can stay in your pajamas all day?
Italy's designers gave an out to those reluctant to suit up: Armani proposed silk sweatpants, while Fendi paired outfits with slippers.
Etro encouraged lounging in caftans and nightgowns, while Max Mara indulged slouchers with hooded sweatshirts.
And Valentino provided the cherry on the home-comfort cake with a surprise collaboration with Levi's that produced a coed model of the 517 boot cut jean.