MILAN, Italy -- The neat nosegays, rather than elaborate flowering plants, that accompanied invitations to the fall and winter ready-to-wear shows here this week were a sign of the times: Ostentation is out. Extravagant nightly entertainment is a thing of the past, and the clothes, designed under the shadow of war, are more soothing than shocking. Hemlines are coming down, albeit gradually, a sobering fact in itself.
Ottavio and Rosita Missoni, the knitwear specialists who were among the designers who successfully campaigned 15 years ago for this city to become a fashion center, introduced their collection in their showroom, bypassing the mammoth fair where most shows take place.
The high spot of the Missoni collection was the knitted coats, usually reversible. The coats had the muted look of heathery tweeds or were pieced and quilted as intricately as mosaics. They topped pleated skirts and overblouses in patterns that used typical Missoni circle, zigzag an stripe motifs.