MILAN (AP) - Model Bianca Balta won applause of approval as she walked down the Dolce&Gabbana runway in an advanced stage of pregnancy. It was part of the designing duo's early Mother's Day present to women, a collection dedicated to mom.

MILAN (AP) Model Bianca Balta won applause of approval as she walked down the Dolce&Gabbana runway in an advanced stage of pregnancy. It was part of the designing duo's early Mother's Day present to women, a collection dedicated to mom.

Elsewhere around Milan, the 1970s got a revival by the young design team Au Jour Le Jour, Missoni reached out for a younger audience and Giorgio Armani launched what may become his It Bag.

Highlights from shows Sunday, the fifth day of Milan Fashion Week, include Dolce&Gabbana, Marni, Missoni and Salvatore Ferragamo.


Dolce&Gabbana paid tribute to motherhood in full flower, sending an expectant mother, model Bianca Balti, swathed in pink down the runway against a backdrop of 11 mothers and their children.

Maternity's bloom set off a wave of applause among the usually unflappable fashion crowd which excited one baby on stage to start clapping himself.

The theme-hewing designers are dedicating next winter's men's and women's collections to mothers in an effort, according to the show notes, to allow "fashion to be seen as an extension of where one comes from."

The menswear collection, presented last month, looked up the generational chart to grandmothers, while this season focused on young mothers a group that perhaps does not get enough attention in a country with among the lowest birthrates in the Western world. And they sure made motherhood appealing.

Designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana kept the shapes simple, with flared skirts, wrap coats, shift dresses and some hip minis, and incorporated all of the brand's sensual elements, including lace, sequins and appliques.

The designers endearingly turned drawings by their nieces and nephews into a colorful fabric for flared skirts, strapless dresses and scarves, scrawled with a child's expressions of affection, including "You are the most beautiful mother in the world."

The mother-pairings gave a brief window on the designers' children's line. A radiant model in a floral skirt and black sweater adorned with a red rose a recurring motif held her squirming infant in a Dolce&Gabbana vest and trouser outfit, and a mother and daughter sashayed in matching pink dresses.

Handbags were larger-than-usual carryalls, keeping in mind everything mothers must tote along. And models wore bejeweled headphones, considered by the designers to be a modern crown. The label's traditional finale was entirely in black, including some pretty negligees, because mothers need some down time, too.



Missoni has tapped a hip vein for next winter's looks.

The family-run brand beloved for its zig-zag patterns appears to be reaching out for the younger set with a new marbled pattern, suggestive of veins and hinting of tattoos, that gave the looks an electric pulse, along with edgier styling and funkier footwear.

The T-shirt dresses of the finest knit were snug fitting, often with athletic or asymmetrical necklines, and typically worn over body suits in complementary but contrasting patterns including black-and-white patterns resembling lightening. Designer Angela Missoni elaborated the looks with metallic yarns for a very urban street look. Colors ran from bright shades of purple, red and orange to flatter shades of light blue, gray and pink.

Footwear included metallic-heeled boots slashed across the foot, pointy-toed shoes and clogs.



Marni's woman for next winter is a regal warrior, hailing from a region that stretches from the Nordic lands to the Mongolian plateau.

Creative director Consuelo Castiglioni kept the silhouette long, centering the collection around the coat, which formed the basis also of dresses and tunic tops worn with flared pants and neat skirts. All of the pieces shared a common architecture, long slits, that created an elegant air and allowed Castiglioni to play with the dramatic belting. On some coats, the thick leather belts ran inside the rear of the garment, leaving the back to flow as if a royal train.

Sleeveless creations came with panels of rich fur to keep the core warm.

Bags were worn cross-body suggesting a nomadic lifestyle with thick straps identical to the belts. Colors and jewelry came from the natural world: brown, black and charcoal with dashes of red, powder blue and pale pink, while earrings were fashioned from stones into swinging orbs or discs that graphically encircled the lobe.

Footwear included open-toe boots with chunky heels and a serrated pavement-gripping rubber sole.