Mary J. Blige fetes DSquared2 for 20th anniversary

By Colleen Barry, AP

MILAN, Italy — Mary J. Blige feted designing twins Dean and Dan Caten on their DSquared2 label’s 20th anniversary and Snoop Dogg brought down German designer Philipp Plein’s house as Milan Fashion Week opened four days of menswear previews Saturday with a musical bang.

The first day of the festivities also featured preview collections by Dolce & Gabbana, Jil Sander and Versace, who all stand ready to capitalize on a strong 2014 that saw Italian menswear revenues grow by 1.2 percent to 8.6 billion euros (US$10 billion).

In coming days Frida Gianni will roll out her last menswear collection for Gucci, which she leaves after a decade, while Italian design newcomer Stella Jean, who claims singer Rihanna among her followers, will preview her first men’s collection.

Here are some highlights from the first full day of the fashion extravaganza: Paris Hilton Salutes

Snoop Dogg

Snoop Dogg came out singing, and urged the crowd to raise their hands in the air: In the smart phone era that was a cue for everyone to raise their phones and start snapping away. And that included Paris Hilton, in the front row at the Philipp Plein show wearing a rich crystal-studded black and silver jacket.

Hilton, who was on hand for the DSquared festivities and was due later to play DJ at Just Cavalli, joined the crowd in moving to Snoop Dogg’s beat as she recorded images of Snoop Dogg performing inside a mock boxing ring. Snoop wore some Philipp Plein originals, a quilted hoodie and sweat pants with a 78 across the front for the designer’s birth year.

Dystopian Prison

Philipp Plein knows how to create a spectacle within a spectacle within a spectacle.

His runway show Saturday night featured a faux boxing match inside a metal cage that was surrounded by tribal musicians with painted faces banging metal drums pacing models who walked the perimeter of a concentric metal fence in dark rocker/urban warrior looks.

The crystal studded wardrobe, from shoes to bags to jackets, in luxury materials like crocodile are pure indulgence. Yet the athletic wear-accents like knee pads and football body armor, coupled with baseball bats brandished in a menacing Clockwork Orange-way, gave the whole caged spectacle a dystopian prison feel. Which only raises the question: were those two figures with crystal-studded helmets fitted with ram horns guards, or escapees? Versace Unadorned

Here’s a word you don’t often use to describe Versace: Cozy.