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Months after Milan Spring Summer 2014/2015, Milan had the privilege to assist to an astonishing catwalk, full of collors, mixing materials, providing romantic and exotic environments, taking several times the attendance to”WOW”. Definitely, the best Milan Fashion week since Milan Design Agenda make its debuts in this fashion events. This is a weekend report from 19th to 22nd February.
Wednesday, 19th February
“The show” started with Gucci‘s 3 p.m. catwalk, where jet-lagged editors were offered chocolate and champagne in a mirrored, cream-carpeted room off the Pizza Oberdan before being escorted into the first show. Like New York — and unlike London — Milan shows tend to start a half hour late, and Gucci was on Milan schedule. Plus one to Milan Fashion Week…
For pre-fall, Frida Gianni surprised us with a collection that lacked the overt sexiness of seasons past, and she continued on that thread for autumn/winter 2014, opening with perfectly preppy pea coats in pastel blue and green and a pale blue leather shift dress with a ruffled front.
It’s tempting to think that with such a collection, Gucci is looking to strike a more commercial note even on the runway: that is, to create fashions that appeal to an older, wealthier clientele — perhaps one outside of Italy, where unemployment sits at 12.7 percent. But it’s more likely that Gianni is drawing creatively on a different part of Gucci’s past — the one rooted in more casual, sportier wear, which we’ve also seen more of in recent collections.
Later, No. 21 showed one of the better collections we’ve seen this season — the looks were nothing new, but the garments themselves were covetable and, just as importantly, the styling was on point. There were sparkly, patterned coats, dresses and separates, and skirts in feathers and lace paired with big knits and jeweled boyfriend coats. One coat, made of cow hide, was particularly memorable — a refreshing alternative to the many dyed and printed calf hair coats we’ve seen in recent seasons. The accessories were strong: pointed flats mostly, and large envelope clutches of various skins and furs.
Thursday, 20th February
Max Mara is one of those trusted Italian brands that never lets us down. With deep roots in no-nonsense outerwear, we always get a perfectly cut camel hair coat, or a well-proportioned tweed tailleur. At this fashion show, Max Mara strode confidently down a route filled with unexpected twists and applauding turns.The collection was based on the brand’s trusted wools, tweeds and cashmere but new voluminous, elongated silhouettes and patchwork constructions shifted the eye completely.
The sheer amount of power that reverberates off a Fendi show runway is increasingly making it one of the most seismic shows in Milan. This season, Fendi had some help broadcasting its message with a series of flying drones – illuminated disks that zoomed across the show space over guests’ heads and that transmitted real-time video to the folks back home in front of their computers. Futuristic act, was Fendi’s statement. From the collaged pieces of fur that were assembled like a puzzle over perforated leather coats to the rock crystals that scintillated like stars in a midnight sky of shaved mink, each look in this collection was an example of the phenomenal workmanship that only the Italians can muster. But the striking moment, without space to discussions, was when the fur-helmeted Cara Delevingne opened the show effortlessly dangling a shaggy handbag in the shape of the Karl Lagerfeld’s unmistakable face. A priceless moment to Milan Design Agenda though.
Miuccia Prada packaged her womenswear to another unpredictable but promissing show space in Milan. Oddly enough, the power tool vibe had more to do with the girls than the boys this season, as Prada worked her women’s outerwear into the proportions of giant cardboard moving boxes. Prada’s main design conceit was her magnificent colour blocking, which she achieved on stiff wool coats trimmed in contrast taping. From there, both the materials and the décor went into happy overdrive, moving to black and gold shearling trimmed in colourful cherry, lemon and rust curled lambswool. The effect – when paired with monochrome neck scarves, white plasticised wedge boots, and flat leather handbags – looked artfully assembled and brought a new graphic quality we have yet to see in burly ranger coats.
Friday, 21st February
The Italian designer Giorgio Armani loves a bold piece of headgear and this season he fashioned large bowler-style crowns on the tops of his hats for Emporio Armani. The oversized volume was a theme that weaved in and out of the collection as Armani introduced a new cropped wide-leg pant that was blown up with air. When cut in stiffened wool silk and paired with pointed flats the new silhouette looked fresh and fun. Shiny plastic neckwear almost took the collection off track but Armani got back on his rails with rows of miniature white beading that added graphic borders to his jackets, trousers and bags.
The sense of ostentatiousness a declared war to “austerity and frugality” in favor of “overpowering” extravagance. With a global recession still in full swing, the message was too much, too soon, but there were some great moments: namely, a pair of python trench coats with thick belts, one brown with a black skirt (see above center), the other all-black. The skin was manipulated equally well in a red python skirt slashed with white over one hip. By mid-show, Sportmax had already converted its audience with a strong outing but things only continued to bubble more vivaciously with woolly multi-coloured mohair coats, dip-dyed wool suiting and a brilliant neon jacquard, with Jackson Pollock-like squiggles and drips, that was imagined in narrow Modernist 2-piece skirt suiting.
Expectations were high that night at Versace, but the mistress of maximalism didn’t dissapointed, beginning her show with an almost sober long sleeve, bias-cut dress with asymmetrical hems. Brilliant shades of turquoise, jade and cinnamon – created a calming canvas that felt newly tranquil. Boxy jackets and trapeze shaped coats, especially in deeply hued couture duchesse silk satin, also gave the collection an altered – and welcomed – calibration. In fact, gold metal sprouted liberally along studded trims, on coin bracelets, across embellished bags, and even on gold embroidered sashes that wrapped around figure-hugging gowns, not unlike a beauty pageant queen. As usual, Versace’s collection was short, sexy and colorful, but this time especially military-inspired.
If there was a single trouser on the Bottega Veneta runway this morning in Milan, we certainly didn’t see it, as creative director Tomas Maier was fully entranced by the feminine power of the dress and the practical pairing of skirt with sweater. Maier is a well-seasoned expert at womanly dressing, so the challenge for Winter was how to make all of this look new. He accomplished this with pleating and slits, which he cleverly cut into the constructions of the skirts and dresses. The workmanship built, as it typically does in a Bottega show, slowly and subtly, as more substantial wools, satins, leather inserts, and beading were introduced.
The scalding ring of fire that curved around a pool of water at the Roberto Cavalli show ignited a fierce setting for the Florentine designer’s tribal infused show. Imagine ancient goddesses hooting and hollering on their stiletto pin-heels like ancient warriors giving thanks to the gods before the flames. In reality, the Cavalli woman will shower her thanks directly on Roberto next winter as the designer delivered a fantastic fusion of roaring wild kingdom sexiness and 1920s chic. Cavalli brought his own unique flavour to these classic shapes by cutting the fringe from every leather, skin, feather and fur he could get his animal loving hands on. Similarly speaking, printing and metal studding created intricate patterns over the clothes, adding to the indigenous vibe.
EMILIO PUCCI (more pictures)
Peter Dundas’ ‘Call of the Wild’ Pucci collection could have easily signified an animal print stampede for his gilded runway. In actuality, though, the Pucci girl roared with a much more sophisticated sensibility this season, playing off the noble roots of the Florentine brand, but wrapping it up in a still smoking hot package. The fil rouge in Dundas’ work for this venerable Italian house is the way in which he reinterprets classic notions of print. This season the motifs took on a Navajo meets Inuit tribal quality, a cross between the two cultures this half American, half Norwegian designer feels a natural affinity for. The results, especially when mixed with spotty appaloosa pony skin, yards of metal studding and racy lacy high stiletto boots, was graphic, punchy and yes, wild, but in a savage chic sort of way.