Starfish sparkle at Versace show in Milan

MILAN, Sept 23, 2011 (AFP) - Giant jewel-encrusted starfish designs emblazoned a line of delicate pastel-coloured dresses at the hotly-awaited Versace summer/spring 2012 collection at Milan Fashion Week on Friday.

Versace - SS 2012 / Photo: Pixel Formula

The marine-themed lineup was shown off in the lush courtyard of Versace's palace headquarters in the Milan fashion district featured leather jackets and dresses in white, turquoise, pink, lilac and pistachio green.

Several of the dresses had open backs and shoulders, while the skirts were part-pleated, part-straight and multi-layered and the hem length was demure but figure-hugging -- creating the image of models as modern mermaids.

Included in the collection were some neoprene outfits and plenty of chiffon.

Versace - SS 2012 / Photo: Pixel Formula

Prints of shells and starfish and studded leather belts completed the collection presented by Donatella Versace, sister of late fashion legend Gianni Versace -- a key figure who helped shape the contemporary fashion business.

The image is of a mermaid "arriving in New York on a scorching summer evening ready to conquer everything: people, the city and herself", Donatella Versace told reporters after the show.

"Women have to bring out their aggressive side because they still have to jostle to assert themselves in a man's world. I'm certainly not a romantic but I felt I had to soften this determination," she said.

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