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Milan Fashion Week opens with #metoo moment of reflection

Milan Fashion Week got underway Wednesday with a moment's pause to put focus on women who have come forward as victims of sexual misconduct.

Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, who accused Harvey Weinstein of groping her in 2015 and worked with investigators on a sting targeting the producer, walked the runway for Rocco Barocco. She told reporters afterward, "Finally something positive. I am happy to be returning to my craft."

The Humans of Fashion Foundation non-governmental organization was also in Milan, where it plans to launch its global initiative connecting people in the fashion industry who have experienced sexual harassment or assault with a support network, including legal and emotional.

Here are some highlights from the first full day of womenswear previews for next fall and winter, with a smattering of shows combining menswear with womenswear:

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SURGICAL GUCCI

Alessandro Michele fully covers his models from the top of elaborate headpieces to the tips of their bejeweled toes in a seeming effort to hide the person in order to reveal a character.

And there was a full range of new characters in his show combing menswear and womenswear for the next cold weather season.

The cast included a masked Inuit in a furry lined jacket, a Renaissance woman in a long velvet dress, Victorian characters in layers of pleats, a blue turbaned man in tan leisure suit, and Middle Eastern woman in beaded head covers and long, flowered robes.

Backstage, the creative director said he wanted to explore "the codes that constrain us."

"All of this I robbed from others, in the sense that I imagined in the passe partout of the codes that ranged from the bourgeois to the thing that I put on in the morning to go to the bank, or all the suits that my father bought to go to work for Alitalia," Michele said.

Michele set the show in a mock operating room, complete with (unused) surgical tables and overhead lamps. The reference, he said, was to the surgical precision with which he approaches his craft.

In a spookier surgical/Frankenstein reference, two models carried replicas of their own heads in their hands. So it was perhaps a warm, fuzzy moment when a man in a long black skirt and jacket covered with crystals, carried a pet dragon, of plastic.

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MOD MOSCHINO

While some fashion houses really do design airline uniforms, Jeremy Scott created a retro-futuristic array of looks for an alien starship crew.

Models sporting Jackie Kennedy-style bobs strutted through Star Trek blue-lit gangways, wearing bright colors of the same assortment found in the non-edible box of sugar candies that came with the Moschino invitation. For the alien affect, some had blue-, or orange-, or green-colored skin — all very Deep Space Nine.

The silhouette stuck to clean lines of 1960s women's suits or uniforms, with neat zippers down one side, or dark patent leather trim, or reverse pleats. Skirts were mini and worn with matching color pumps. Pants were long and trim, elongated even more by vertical stripes.

Headwear included stewardess caps or berets. And the real accessories of the season were a series of detachable collars, including a black patent leather with a pointy collar and rounded back.

Other Moschino touches: peace sign earrings, clear colored plastic belts with the brand name spelled out in hanging letters and Crazy Fruit candy backpacks and pyramid-shaped clutches.

The collection closed with a series of evening dresses, including mermaid skirt in a shimmery purple contrasting with silk chiffon.

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MONCLER GENIUS

The elegance of down-filled winter wear came through in a Moncler collection put in the hands of eight diverse designers, from Valentino's Pier Paolo Piccioli to Francesco Ragazzi of his Palm Angels streetwear brand.

The collection, dubbed Moncler Genius, was unveiled in a series of pavilions each draped in a silvery fabric cast with shimmering lights. Visitors, including super model Naomi Campbell, wandered between each designer's world.

Piccioli created long graceful down couture gowns -- nominally the Moncler puffer coat -- that in their conical shape gave the impression of a forest, in stands of white, black and layered colors. The longer pieces, which sloped gracefully to the ground, were over-laid with vests or cropped jackets. Each finished in a snug-fitting hood.

Simon Rocha's collection was shown against a mountain backdrop, with Geisha-sherpa models in traditional robes or Victorian-inspired layered black dresses walking deliberately through a snowy landscape. Kei Ninomiya created elegant evening dresses out of Moncler nylon that was alternatively appeared as big weaves or pretty florets, the black patina picking up just enough light to give a shimmer effect.

The idea behind Genius is to offer new products continually to consumers with the aim of appealing to diverse consumers. The first collection, by Hiroshi Fujiwara's brand Fragment will be available in June. The looks include down-filled flannel shirts, sea blue and green Nordic-style sweaters and down parkas for the world traveler emblazoned with the cardinal compass points.

The Latest: Brits pays tribute to Manchester bomb victims

The Latest on the Brit Awards (all times local):

9:30 p.m.

Liam Gallagher has performed at the Brit Awards in tribute to victims of last year's Manchester Arena bombing.

Twenty-two people were killed when a bomber blew himself up as concertgoers were leaving an Ariana Grande show in the northwest England city on May 22.

Grande had been due to perform at Wednesday's awards show in honor of the victims and survivors, but was forced to cancel on medical advice.

Gallagher, who grew up in Manchester, stepped in to perform the Oasis classic "Live Forever."

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8:45 p.m.

Grime artist Stormzy and singer-songwriter Dua Lipa have been named British solo artists of the year at the Brit Awards.

Stormzy won the male artist prize for his distinctly London style of rap, and thanked his mother, his team, south London and God.

Lipa, who topped U.K. charts with her song "No Rules," took the female prize and dedicated her trophy to all the female musicians who "have allowed us to dream this big."

She said: "Here's to more women on these stages, more women winning awards and more women taking over the world."

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8 p.m.

Dua Lipa says celebrity gestures can help put an end to sexual harassment and abuse.

The singer wore a white rose on the red carpet at the Brit Awards as a sign of solidarity with campaigns against sexual misconduct.

She said making the symbolic statement to "millions and millions of people, not just in the U.K. but all over the world, it does make a difference, it does make a change because we are standing, we are protesting in our own way and this is how we're going to make a difference."

The 22-year-old singer is nominated in five categories at the music awards, including album of the year for her self-titled debut.

Guests were given white rose pins to wear for the ceremony at London's O2 Arena. Some, including Lupa and Ed Sheeran, also wore the flowers themselves.

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2 p.m.

Music stars will wear white roses on the Brit Awards red carpet to support campaigns against sexual harassment and assault.

Guests at Britain's biggest music awards show will be given white rose pins to wear in solidarity with the "Time's Up" movement.

Calls for change have swept through the entertainment industry since women began coming forward to accuse Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein last year.

There was a similar gesture at Sunday's British Academy Film Awards, where women wore black to oppose sexual misconduct and bullying.

Rising star Dua Lipa, grime artist Stormzy and ubiquitous singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran are among nominees for Wednesday's awards at London's O2 Arena, hosted by comedian Jack Whitehall.

All three are also set to perform, along with Justin Timberlake, Rita Ora and Foo Fighters.

Universal launches plans for third 'Jurassic World' film

Four months before "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" hits theaters, Universal Pictures has announced plans Wednesday for a third installment in the rebooted dinosaur franchise.

Universal says "Jurassic World 3" will land in June 2021. The film is to be written by Emily Carmichael and Colin Trevorrow, the director of 2015's "Jurassic World." Carmichael co-wrote the upcoming sci-fi adventure "Pacific Rim Uprising."

"Jurassic World" ranks among the biggest box-office hits. It launched with a $208.8 million opening weekend and finished with $1.7 billion worldwide in ticket sales.

Trevorrow and Steven Spielberg are executive producing each new "Jurassic World" film.

Directed by J.A. Bayona, "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," starring Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, opens June 22.

Wendy Williams announces 3-week hiatus due to Graves’ disease

Wendy Williams is taking three weeks off from her talk show.

The former radio personality turned daytime TV show host was candid with her live audience Wednesday as she made the announcement. The 53-year-old has Graves’ disease and hyperthyroidism, both of which she has spoken about in the past. 

>> Read more trending news 

“Wendy is a true champion and has never missed a day of work. But her health and well-being must be put before all else,” a show representative told People. “Wendy has been openly dealing with her Graves’ disease for many years, in addition to hyperthyroidism. Yesterday, Wendy’s doctor prescribed a necessary three weeks of rest to get her levels and medication in sync. The show will be in repeats during this unplanned hiatus. A live show was produced today so that Wendy could speak directly to her fans and explain her condition.”

“My doctor has prescribed -- are you ready? As of today, three weeks of vacation,” she said.

Williams then described the symptoms that come with Graves’ disease and hyperthyroidism.

“Along with hyperthyroid and Graves’ disease, it promotes nervousness,” Williams said. “No, I’m not nervous. Anxiety, please. I’m over 30 years in this game.”

Related: Watch: Wendy Williams faints on live TV

The wife and mother to a teenage son did admit she has some symptoms, including a rapid heartbeat.

“Now, I can cop to irritability, but I’m just thinking it’s me micromanaging,” she said. 

Ever the workhorse, Williams said she would be back in less than three weeks.

“I’ll be back in two (weeks). I’m not an heiress. Who is going to pay my bills? Are you serious? I’m just saying, I come from working class,” she said.

Williams said she blamed her symptoms on the stresses of being a working wife and mother, encouraging women to put their health first.

“What I want to say to women, more than men, is stop putting everyone first because if we’re not good, they’re not good,” she said. 

Williams took three days off last week after she said she was “feeling flu-ish.” It was the first time she was out sick from the show since it started in 2009. In October, Williams fainted on-air while introducing a segment.

Related: Wendy Williams addresses fainting on live Halloween show

“That was not a stunt,” Williams said at the end of that episode. “I overheated in my costume, and I did pass out. But you know what? I’m a champ and I’m back.”

CNN reported that there will not be a fill-in host for the show. Repeat episodes will air during the hiatus.

Watch Williams’ message to viewers below.

Geraldo Rivera talks weapons age-limits with Trump

Television personality Geraldo Rivera says he has discussed the idea of raising the minimum age to purchase assault-type weapons with President Donald Trump, adding that Trump "took it under advisement."

Rivera, a Fox News contributor, says in an email Wednesday that he spoke with Trump during a dinner at Mar-a-Lago over the weekend. He added that Trump "further suggested strongly that he was going to act to strengthen background checks."

Rivera says Trump was "deeply affected" by visits with survivors of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead.

The gunman used an AR-15. Rivera says Trump was "shocked and distressed" by the wounds inflicted.

On Tuesday, the White House said the idea of raising the age limit to buy an AR-15 was on the table for discussion.

Talk show host Williams taking time off for health reasons

Daytime talk show host Wendy Williams says she's taking three weeks off on doctor's orders.

Williams says that her doctor told her to take the break to deal with her Graves' Disease and hyperthyroidism. Reruns will air in her absence.

Williams told her audience Wednesday that she's been feeling like there are birds flying around her head, like a cartoon, and discussed other symptoms. She urged women in her audience not to neglect their health and to get regular check-ups.

The talk show host is 53 and recently lost 50 pounds.

Madrid art fair yanks photo exhibit amid political spat

Madrid's International Contemporary Art Fair on Wednesday yanked a photo exhibition called "Political Prisoners in Contemporary Spain," prompting charges of censorship against the government-funded body which operates the event venue.

The spat came during efforts by pro-independence groups in the northeastern Catalonia region to break away from Spain. Some Catalan political leaders and activists have been preventively jailed because of their secession bid, and their supporters claim they are political prisoners — a charge which the national government in Madrid has vigorously denied, labelling them "politicians in prison."

The ARCO fair organizers said in a statement that IFEMA, which runs the fair venue, asked the exhibiting gallery to take down artist Santiago Sierra's photographs of unidentified prisoners because the controversy caused by the collection had diverted attention from the rest of the exhibits. It said the Helga de Alvear gallery complied with the request, leaving a broad stretch of blank wall.

The artist's studio said the move damaged the international prestige of Spain and of the annual fair. It said in a statement that the common denominator of the prisoners portrayed in the photos was that they had expressed their ideas without resorting to violence.

The collection of 24 black-and-white photographs featured head-and-shoulder portraits of prisoners with their faces pixelated. Captions explained who they were, such as Catalan and Basque nationalists, without naming them.

One group of photographs included people facing potential trial for their actions during the recent Catalan independence turmoil, and many Spaniards would likely be able to identify them despite the pixelation. They include Catalonia's former vice president, a former Catalan interior minister and two prominent Catalan separatist activists.

Carlos Urroz, the director of ARCO, said each gallery's space at the exhibition is a private area. Urroz said that Sierra, the artist, "is always very controversial and all his works have a very political slant."

Madrid City Council said it didn't support the decision to withdraw the exhibit, saying it defends freedom of expression and creativity "above all."

Chef Jose Andres writing book on Hurricane Maria relief work

Award-winning chef Jose Andres is working on a book about his efforts to help Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

Ecco told The Associated Press on Wednesday that it has acquired "We Fed An Island: The True Story of Rebuilding Puerto Rico, One Meal at a Time." The book is scheduled for Sept. 11 and is co-written by Richard Wolffe. A portion of proceeds will be given to the Chef Relief Network of Andres' nonprofit World Central Kitchen. Also on Wednesday, the James Beard Foundation cited his efforts in feeding millions of Puerto Ricans after the storm in naming him "Humanitarian of the Year." The foundation called him a "committed advocate of food and hunger issues."

"We Fed an Island" will be released through Anthony Bourdain's imprint at Ecco. In the book, Andres says he wanted to provide the "inside story" of the relief work by himself and World Central Kitchen last fall.

"We want to tell the inside story of what we saw on the ground," he writes, "the good and the bad— of the crisis, the response, and how a plate of food does more than just fill you up. It fills you with hope."

Dua Lipa, Stormzy win as Brit Awards join 'Time's Up' call

Hometown London stars Dua Lipa and Stormzy were both double winners Wednesday at the U.K. music industry's Brit Awards, where many guests wore white roses to symbolize the fight against sexual harassment and assault.

Stormzy, who has helped propel the grime genre of rap into the commercial mainstream, was named best male British solo artist, and also won album of the year, for his debut "Gang Signs and Prayer."

Taking the stage, he thanked God, his mother, his family his team and south London, where he grew up.

Stormzy said the album was "the hardest thing, I've never worked on something like this in my life."

"I've never given my entire being, I didn't have anything left after... we made something I feel that is undeniable, that I can stand by today," he said.

Stormzy also energized a show that bordered on bland. In an electric closing performance, he put Britain's prime minister on the spot, singing "Theresa May, where's the money for Grenfell" in reference to last year's deadly London tower block blaze.

Lipa, whose self-titled debut was one of 2017's breakout albums, was named British female solo artist and British breakthrough artist.

Lipa dedicated her solo artist trophy to all the female musicians who "have allowed us to dream this big."

"Here's to more women on these stages, more women winning awards and more women taking over the world," said Lipa, who topped U.K. charts with her catchy breakup anthem "No Rules."

Following up on gestures at the Golden Globes, Grammys and British film awards, guests at Britain's biggest music awards show were given flowers or white rose pins to wear in solidarity with the Time's Up movement.

Calls for change have swept through the entertainment industry since women began coming forward to accuse Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein last year.

The white rose symbol made an appearance at the Grammys last month. At the Globes and British Academy Film Awards women wore black to oppose sexual misconduct and bullying.

Performers at the show at London's O2 Arena, hosted by comedian Jack Whitehall, included Justin Timberlake, Rita Ora, Sam Smith, Foo Fighters and Kendrick Lemar.

International winners included Foo Fighters in the group category, female solo artist Lorde and male solo artist Kendrick Lamar.

Soulful singer Rag'n'Bone Man took the trophy for best British single for "Human."

Ubiquitous singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran won the global success award, which goes to the year's best-selling British artist. His album "Divide" has sold more than 12 million copies around the world.

In what felt like a symbolic handover between generations, Sheeran's prize was introduced by a video message from Elton John. He was given his trophy by Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood, who called Sheeran "a lovely young guy."

Ariana Grande had been due to perform, but was forced to pull out because of illness, organizers said. She had been due to make a surprise appearance in tribute to 22 people killed when a bomber blew himself up at a Grande concert in Manchester in May.

Manchester-born Liam Gallagher stepped in instead, performing the Oasis classic "Live Forever."

Once a slightly ramshackle and unpredictable event, the Brits has become a slick showcase for U.K. and international talent.

This year's show did feature some pointed moments. As well as Stormzy's Grenfell shoutout, former Blur frontman Damon Albarn alluded to Brexit as he accepted the best British group prize with cartoon band Gorillaz.

In an apparent reference to Britain's impending departure from the European Union, he urged Britons not to let the country become isolated,

"Considering our size we do incredible things in music, we've got a real spirit and a real soul, and don't let politics get in the way of all that (stuff), alright?" Albarn said.

Most winners at the Brits are chosen by a ballot of music-industry members, with several selected by public vote, including video of the year, decided by public ballot during the show. For years that prize was invariably won by One Direction; this year it went to a member of that band, Harry Styles.

Will and Jaden Smith create eco-friendly water company: Just

Jaden Smith's environmental consciousness was born when he was out surfing at about age 10. He saw plastic water bottles bobbing in the ocean beside him, and he was so upset by it that he told his parents.

Then he learned in school about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, those floating "islands" of garbage and plastic debris, and insisted that his family do something about it.

The result is Just, an eco-friendly bottled water company founded by Smith and his famous dad, Will Smith. The company makes its packaging from almost entirely renewable resources, including "plastic" derived from sugarcane.

"This was a company born out of a child's love for the ocean," Will Smith told The Associated Press during an interview with the father-son entertainment duo about their company's new offering: flavored water. They established the company in 2015, but the elder Smith said he wanted to wait until it gained momentum on its own merits before revealing the brand had celebrity backing.

"We did not want this to be a celebrity brand," he said. "We're just about to launch our second product and we felt like there were enough people who already have accepted the brand and it wouldn't look like celebrities trying to sell some water."

Jaden Smith's passion for the company's mission — reducing plastic and carbon dioxide emissions globally — is evident when he speaks about it, as well as in various videos he's released talking about climate change, sustainability and renewable resources. The 19-year-old said he's visiting schools to spread awareness about the problems caused by plastic and pollution and to inspire young people to help find solutions.

"School and education is where it all starts, because that's where it started for me," he said, adding that he tells students: "I just want you to know that I came up with this idea when I was your age, and that means you have the infinite ability to come up with any idea or any way that you want to change the world."

He said his goals for the company also include producing classroom furniture from used water bottles as a way of repurposing materials and diverting them from landfills.

Will Smith, speaking by phone from Atlanta, where he's beginning work on an Ang Lee film, said he's been inspired by his son's commitment — both to the cause and to himself as someone who can create change. The 49-year-old superstar said that's the most valuable thing he's learned from his children (including daughter Willow, 17, and son Trey, 25): "That you have to freely and unapologetically be true to you above all things."

"There's a certain expectation that has developed of me over the years, and in watching Jaden and all of my children, I'm learning to get free again to be me and do me without the absolute concern of every single moment trying to live up to an image of who I am," Smith said. "I found a really brand new freedom through watching my kids and how they tend, specifically Jaden, to not concern themselves with anything above honesty and truth and integrity to themselves first and foremost."

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AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen is at www.twitter.com/YouKnowSandy.

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