Milan Fashion Week: Fall 2009 RTW: #7-15
current mood: frustrated
Unfortunately both bear arms and the 80s came over from New York and exerted their presence at Milan Fashion Week. This resulted in a horrifically bad Gucci collection - essentially every piece was a cheap-looking nightclub garment in black, blue, and silver with an obscene amount of glitter. Blumarine also caught the tacky 80s bug - my eyes are still sore from the blinding bright colours. Dsquared was ridiculously awful-cheap in a different way- aping the incognito wear of celebrities - and badly - even sending Starbucks down the runway. Dolce and Gabbana didn't look cheap, but it was still awful - ostentatious, gaudy, cartoonish, taking the dramatic proportions of last season way too far...the garments were glutted with Marilyn Monroe fifties ritz (or Madonna's material girl mimicking) and Minnie Mouse cuteness.
But other designers stepped up their game, bringing a new vision of where style should go. Here are some of the laudable collections that appeared.
Multi-layered knits for a soft look that is both pretty and tough - a modern desert nomad. Individual pieces would bring comfort and style to more appropriately urban looks.
14. Antonio Marras
Somehow Marras can take normally dowdy shapes and old fashioned prints and turn them into strikingly romantic, casually stylish, and fantastically magical clothes. A true, under-appreciated talent.
13. Jil Sander
A master of minimalist fashion, the first half was full of classic styles appropriate for any Hitchcock heroine; the second, an experiment of gravity defying clothes in vaselike shapes. At times these structural experimentations were just awkward and unflattering, but when they worked these exquisitely cut pieces were truly something artistic, modern, and special.
This year, Dolce and Gabbanna was awful frankly, tacky and cartoonish with unwieldy proportions and....Marilyn Monroe prints? D&G however, was surprisingly elegant - for D&G anyways. Of course there were times that it's operatic theme veered of course - usually with the incongruous introduction of jeans - but if there is one thing this pair knows how to do, it is over-the-top. Bravo to the brocade, velvet, chiffon, opera poster prints, bustier tops, quilting, lush and rich colours applied to more casual shapes, especially short and sweet dresses; these are the perfect clothes for a young woman wishing to unleash her inner diva - of the elegant Maria Callas variety.
Designer Jonathan Saunders delivers a brightly coloured collection with equestrian details and a groovy 60s feel. Scrolls of various colours, both imprinted on silk, and attached as appliqués brought surrealism (especially since many of the shoes had coloured scroll heels!)
Etro is fabulous in using vibrant artsy prints in wearable daywear, Byzantine touches including copper, gold, and bronze and faux-jewel patterns and colours set this collection apart, but it is still distinctly Etro - sleek and sophisticated yet artsy and unique daywear and individualist scarf gowns.
Gone are the days of Versace tackiness. Now while Versace still embodies the spirit of the vivacious and sexy woman, she does not need to make herself look cheap and gaudy to get attention - just an accent of sparkle on a dark background will do for glitz. Leather jackets and skin-tight pants exude the powerful driven nature of the Versace woman. The hemlines are longer, the pieces often minimal shapes of bright juicy colour - drawing attention to the woman and her natural sex appeal. Aquatic tones and scale detailing emphasize that she is Venus, arising from a seashell
I'd always considered Marni to be overrated, but this collection has altered that opinion. The darker, romantic tones of the collection make the eclectic assortment of prints, patterns, and accessories seem to be a more mature sense of personal expression. This is a masterful use of textiles - rich jacquard, velvet, and your more basic fabrics to ground the collection - their assemblage is perfect. It appears distracted and romantic, but there is a masterful eye at work, that knows how to put these outfits together. This collection is also a thrill for the accessory-whore, full of fabulous bits and baubles (although I would avoid all the glorified oven mits) - particularly spectacular are the ornate gold flowers wreath the neck, picked up in metallic threads in the garments. However this is still day wear, because these richer elements are rendered casual and street chic by more down to earth elements and simple shapes.
7. Allesandro Dell'Aqua
Sexy urban warrior -wear. light chain-mail tunics, short metallic armour dresses, skinny pants and casual, loosely structured furs make this a very unique take on the trend towards 80s nightclub wear. The look is Joan of Arc ready for the city streets and even dancing - a sandswept, standout beauty who is glitzy, but not cliché , striking against the black-and-blue dominated world of nightclub dress.