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Suzy Menkes Международный редактор VOGUE
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Milan Fashion Week: Day One

18 сентября 2014

Bratis: Grecian purism for the 21st century

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“It’s not just him – it also helps us. It is refreshing to see what other people are doing,” said Giorgio Armani, working on his new collection, while on stage Angelos Bratis, an award-winning Italian designer of Greek origin, showed his summer 2015 collection. 

It was a promising start for the Milan season, where the sweet bird of youth is trying to find a voice. 

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Angelos Bratis opened his show as he meant to continue: with dresses shaped and draped with apparent ease – but actually with great skill. He turned Grecian folds into 21st-century clothes, adding blocks of bright colour to break into the curves. 

“I’m not a minimalist – I am a purist,” said Bratis backstage, showing on his mood board the work of Greek artist Yiannis Moralis, with its sensual, even sexual, forms. 

Bratis took the sensual side, draping dresses but often breaking up the waterfall of fabric with panels of subtle colour, such as stormy sea blue with grey and light tan. For a brief moment there was a dot of pattern.

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He also displayed bold jewellery by Maria Mastori, the shapes snaking around the neck or creating an amulet. 

The Bratis short, draped dresses seemed even more convincing than the long, which, with a dropped arm hole, looked a bit too much like Clytemnestra on the operatic stage.

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But this was a fine show, setting a new mood of elegant ease in Milan. And Angelo Bratis showed his appreciation for Armani hosting the event by waving a sign with the words: “Thank you, Giorgio”. 


Gucci: A New Crop of Denim

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Was it the presence of Charlotte Casiraghi, Gucci’s equestrian ambassador, sitting front row with a snakeskin-covered Kate Moss, which made the show on the opening day of the Milan season seem rather frisky? 

“Crazy Girl” went the soundtrack, while out came the models in suede outfits with a hint of the Seventies, and then denim, partnering with Glitter Gulch sparkles and patchworks of hairy furs from fox to goat. 

Gucci весна-лето 2015

“And Asia!” said designer Frida Giannini backstage, pointing to the flowers patterning her silk top. Perhaps that was a nod to the presence of Chinese actress Yang Mi in the audience, or to Fran?ois-Henri Pinault, who heads Gucci’s luxury group and who explained how strategy for high-end sales in China cannot follow the same path as in America and Europe. 

Gucci весна-лето 2015

Although there were a few dull passages in Gucci’s spring/summer 2015 collection, when the show seemed focused on product, it was mostly well mixed. Simpler tailored blouses dosed down the hippie-de-luxe glamour and the cute dresses printed with Chinese flowers or Japanese cranes that melded seamlessly into eveningwear. There was none of Frida’s favourite and familiar black. The after-dark clothes were therefore less red carpet and more real world. 

Gucci весна-лето 2015

What seemed fresh this season was the casual luxury that should be the essence of Gucci. And also the brand’s heartland: accessories. There were belts circling twice around the waist, tough Seventies-style bags and, on the cropped denim culottes, gold naval buttons, strategically placed just below the navel. 

Embellishment did not end with the buttons. There were also recurring examples of military frogging, which gave a hard edge to glamour. 

Gucci весна-лето 2015

A significant fashion story was colour – the  Seventies’  bordeaux, rust and orange that switched later to blue and green. The way the colours were shaded, especially for the fur, was subtle. 

Gucci весна-лето 2015

The one mystery is why Gucci, which launched a beauty line this season and was responsible for the luscious lips of Charlotte Casiraghi, does not put more focus on one of its existing and iconic products: shoes. There were ginger suede boots, orange bootees and green sandals with thick heels, but nothing approaching the instantly recognisable bar-and-bit shoes that were the origin of Gucci’s fame. 


Stella Jean Works Her Magic

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With oversized sporty T-shirts, blouses patterned with foliage and skirts printed with an image of a hut dominated by palm trees, Stella Jean went on a different destination for her new collection. 

“I went home,” she said, meaning that for the first time in her career as a designer she looked at Ha?ti, part of her family blood line. And it was not just as background to colourful pictorial patterns, printed even on swimsuits.

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Part of her mission was to have things made in Ha?ti, using the expertise of the United Nations’ International Trade Centre (ITC) Ethical Fashion Initiative, which lobbies for ethical and fair trade manufacturing centres in developing countries. 

So as much as the designer, who was raised in Italy, wanted to capture the country through its Art Na?f, she was also determined to help its people. 

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The recurring pattern of donkeys and “tap tap” painted buses were inspired by Ha?ti but were produced on modern skirts, full or narrow. They showed that Stella Jean had moved her fashion work forward. 

But Stella Jean also had artisanal jewellery – horn bracelets, wrought-iron metalwork and even decoration in papier-m?ch?.

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Simone Cipriani, who heads the ITC project, said at the show that plans are moving fast forward, and a dedicated factory is being built in Ghana. As the Stella Jean show proved, you can rejoice and be joyous while empowering hand-workers. 


Ferretti’s fairy-like fragility

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Alberta Ferretti is a princess of fashion fragility. The delicacy of her work for spring/summer 2015 included nude chiffon with pleats so tiny they looked as though they had come from the fingers of fairies. 

Flowers came in bowers, the petals spreading over a dress. Even denim in her hands looked as soft as silk. 

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But the intriguing thing about the Ferretti show is that red-carpet glamour had been exchanged for a delicate kind of casual. New looks from the designer included airy chiffon trousers, or there was cowboy fringing, as seen in the Seventies. 

What had melted away was anything body conscious or curvy. 

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Alberta Ferretti does not have a vulgar bone in her body, so her red-carpet looks in the past were always gentle and tasteful. But just the idea of using denim and treating it with cut-work showed a new kind of sporty casualness. The flowers formed a secret garden on the bodice, with nothing lush or sensual. 

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It is important for designers to move forward and Ferretti did that gracefully. Now let’s dream that the A-listers follow her lead and take a gentler approach to dressing up. 


Hail, Fausto!

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If Julius Caesar had gone clubbing, he would surely have looked like this: gladiator sandals stomping over an illuminated checkerboard floor.

Then robes in more checks, like mosaics from Herculaneum. And a sense of orderly geometry at every turn. 

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The collection that Fausto Puglisi sent out to the blasting music of Daft Punk was graphic, dramatic and to the point. 

The designer, after working in Hollywood, has a cinematic vision of fashion. Each garment – perhaps a skirt as stiff as a cornet flaring out at the hem, or a tailored piece doused in sharp colours of orange and lime – seemed like part of a modernist movie set. 

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The designer even cited the idea of “Star Wars meets Barbarella” and a tribute to Stanley Kubrick’s2001: A Space Odyssey. He also referred to the fashion maestros of the Sixties: Andr? Courr?ges and Rudi Gernreich.

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But the intriguing thing about Fausto is that for all his references – going right back to ancient Rome – his designs look rigorously contemporary. 

The geometric patterns and iridescent surfaces could surely be created only on computer and in a digitalised world. Although he has been compared to a young Gianni Versace, that designer too was pre-digital. 

Fausto may willingly admit his references. But the result is resolutely and explosively contemporary.

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Fay: Streetwise and oversize

FAY весна-лето 2015

Turning streetwear into fashion is nothing new. It has been a staple of 21st-century style to make oversize tops, graphic slogans and geometric lines into sporty clothes. 

So the re-branding of Fay, the outerwear and casual brand from the Tod’s empire, saw a sportswear dynamic with the tag “Fay Time” on tank tops, sweater seams or giant backpacks. Any space left was made over to images of Lucy, the cartoon character from Charles Schulz’s Peanuts.

FAY весна-лето 2015

The once aggressive connection with this rapper look was further sanitised by the use of pale pink and an overall feeling of youthful fun, rather than rebellion. 

FAY весна-лето 2015

Designers Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi, better known for their rich fabrics and historical vision, were on a mission to connect Fay to the wired world. They used techno fabrics, seamlessly connected to Italy’s luxurious and elegant manufacturing. 

FAY весна-лето 2015

But the stand-out pieces from this company built on footwear were the basketball shoes, feminised with a heel and a strap to make them a cute accessory for a Milanese schoolgirl or her global equivalent. 

показы · Gucci · Сьюзи Менкес · Alberta Ferretti · Неделя моды в Милане весна-лето 2015 ·