Milan Fashion Week Fall 2015: Day Two
MaxMara: Some Like It Hot
MM and MM! Marilyn Monroe does MaxMara! Really? A fashion house known for sturdy coats and sensible working-woman apparel took on cinema’s blonde bombshell with a swelling bust line?
Lagerfeld – who showed a powered-up, hyper-modern Fendi collection in Milan, inspired by the graphic work of the 1920s Swiss artist Sophie Taeuber-Arp – said that the Paris show was definitely scheduled.
“We don’t have the space in this Fendi collection to do high fur, because the ready-to-wear is now doing so well,” said the designer, who took his traditional bow with Silvia Venturini Fendi at the end of a long runway with blown-up images of the geometric, abstract artworks painted on the side walls.
Fendi CEO Pietro Beccari, who has done so much to propel the brand forward over the last two years, could not immediately be reached for comment about the Paris fur show. But it would make sense for LVMH, which owns the label, to cement Fendi’s status as the most important global fur brand. Significantly, the Fendi store that opened this month in New York offered an exceptional showcase to fur.
Paradoxically, but understandably in the new circumstances, fur was not the attention snatcher for Autumn/Winter 2015. Instead the collection opened with a lean, white silhouette,maybe set off by red. After that palette cleanser came patches of colour in shades of orange, mustard and red, which were the dominant hues. The fur focus seemed to be on shearling, although Fendi always offers a furry puzzle.
Sometimes there were just fur ‘extras’, such as Mongolian lamb leg-warmers. The same curly fur came at the elbow of long gloves. Another variation on leg interest were leather chaps as worn by Latin American gauchos.
Fluffy fur accessories were challenged this season by the ‘shark’ effects of Bird of Paradise flowers that were used as decoration for handbags.
But what stood out were the shapes and volumes extracted from Sophie Taeuber by Karl’s artistic eye and cultured mind. A few were fashion ‘Geometricks’ using vast triangular shapes for short coats; or gigantic riffs on squares, worn as a midriff frame on a panelled dress.
“Very graphic, very lean, only modern shapes and not from the recent past,” said Lagerfeld backstage. Then, in a characteristic swipe – this time at Gucci’s new romantic designer – Karl added, “No flea market here.”
Is Karl, at 80-something, really going to do yet another collection, with Fendi Fourrure bumping up against Chanel? Knowing him as I do, I would say that the answer is a resounding YES.
Just Cavalli: Style on Speed
The music was Chicks on Speed’s ‘Utopia’ and the metallic ever-changing backdrop made the Just Cavalli show seem hippy and trippy.
But the designer, with a merry smile on his face as he left the show space, suggested that it was all just good fun.
It was also – as always with this designer – exceptional workmanship, which made this version of the 1970s seem more precious and less like vintage flea-market purchases than when other designers revive those halcyon days.
I am not sure how much the patterned shirts, suede skirts, furry jackets, and floaty dresses varied from previous outings of this line, but perhaps it is Cavalli’s depth of knowledge about photography that makes him such an exceptional colourist.
The russet tones of light orange through mustard velvet to the burning red of a dying winter sun gave these young and sporty clothes a fresh feeling.
Prada: Sweet and Sour
Backstage, Miuccia Prada asked me what I thought of her show title suggestions – “Variations on Beauty”; “Soft Pop”; and “Strange Fairy Tales”.
I said I couldn’t tell until I had watched the show, not realising that by walking through the low, metallic-ceilinged room with its carpets in different sherbet colours, I had seen an essential part of this atmospheric collection.
Maybe “Sweet and Sour” was the appropriate name for the compelling, flat colours: primrose yellow for a tailored coat; a pink jacket with narrow rotting-shrimp-coloured trousers; a vivid peacock-meets-lagoon-blue dress. Not a pastel rainbow of shades but a vivid expression of deliberately off-colours.
There were more painterly effects on shoes, such as uplifted Mary Janes with box heels, and crazy mixes of outfits, especially as the intense colours crept up bare arms as over-the-elbow gloves.
And the jewels! Real and fake, decorating a horsey dressage of a hair-do, ponytail swept up sideways.
“It’s Hitchcock!” announced fashion It Girl Alexa Chung, adding that she was “obsessed with Prada”. She, like Vogue Japan’s creative consultant Anna Dello Russo, was wearing one of the leafy green outfits from the current collection.
I liked the show for its vision of pretty modern women as clear as the jewel stones, even if in its fake innocence it reminded me of a Miu Miu attitude.
Mostly I found the collection romantic, mysterious, and miraculous – for how does the indefatigable ‘Mrs Prada’ do it all? There is ‘The Iconoclasts’ project that has involved three visionary costume designers ‘dressing’ different Prada stores; Miuccia is now curating the art exhibition that will inaugurate the Fondazione Prada’s new permanent Milan venue in Largo Isarco this May; and she is also working on an exhibition for the Venice Biennale.
I asked if there was a link between all these projects. “I always say I don’t want to mix them them, but my mind is one,” said Miuccia. And it is her singular approach, so clear, sure, and often discomforting, that makes me, too, obsessed with her vision.
Costume National: Back to Black
Backstage, Ennio Capasa was in a reflective mood about his Costume National line, which was the essence of Nineties cool and one of the rare Milan names with an international streetwise allure.
“I don’t have stimulation from the fashion world. There is pop, there is vintage; so many things that don’t give much. I need to re-think my past,” the designer said.
The result of that fashion soul searching was the Amy Winehouse mantra: “Back to Black”. Capasa called the collection “minimal chic”, “music inspired”, and included an ode to creatures of the night in the form of huge artworks of birds by Alberto Tadiello, whose images of owls were displayed at the show entrance.
The clothes were dark, although iron grey and ink blue came among with black. And texture ruled the runway, with wool, silk, velvet, and so much more used to give surface interest. Literally on top of that came metallic decoration that might contrast with the flow of a soft dress.
I tried to think what was indisputably from now. Techno fabrics, which had not been developed last century and which Capasa said he has used a lot inside the clothes. Then there were feathers, which the designer used today as an intriguing surface for a dress.
The show was streamlined and modern. But Ennio Capasa cannot really re-set the past. Like any other artist, he just has to look forward, not back.
Moschino: Loony Tunes
“This is Not a Moschino Toy” shrieked the T-shirt worn by a teddy bear. But unlike the cartoon characters magnified on sweatshirts on the runway, this particular sign left on the chairs at the show had an important message. ‘Toy’ is the name of the kooky brand’s latest fragrance, and this is where the financial reward (hopefully) flows in.
Jeremy Scott has been Creative Director of Moschino for just over a year and already the Italian house has changed radically. It is not so far from the sparky larks of the original Franco Moschino, who died in 1994, although he had an underlying depth to his signs and symbols.
For Scott it is all Fun! Fun! Fun! He showed puffa coats wider than anyone else’s and colours more deliberately primary and bright with yellow, blue, and green. Quilts were fully stuffed. The baseball effects were vibrant. (Although football would be a better Italian match.)
It is still tough to position the new Moschino in the fashion hierarchy. Is it similar to DSquared, a sportswear brand that has now extended to tailored and evening clothes? But there was no real tailoring at Moschino, although that was once an important strand to the brand. Jeremy did do evening wear, however: cheap ’n’ cheerful long party gowns.
Yet the Jeremy Scott mantra is irresistible. It is almost impossible to leave a Moschino show without wearing a smile. The front row was peppered with the pop music world’s stylists. Be happy that there is one designer who can find fun in fashion.