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Milan Fashion Week: Day Two

20 сентября 2014

Emporio Armani: Rhapsody in blue

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At a recent exhibition at London’s National Gallery called Making Colour, about the origins of colour in art, I was fascinated to discover how precious and pricey to artists was the shade of blue pigment ground from lapis lazuli stone mined in a distant land. 

Emporio Armani весна-лето 2015

The blue hues at the Emporio Armani show in Milan brought back that thought about the intensity and beauty of a colour that seems to be connected to nature’s finest things: sky, sea, blue mountains, precious stones such as sapphires, aquamarine and – lapis. 

Emporio Armani весна-лето 2015

The rebirth of the blues at Emporio’s spring/summer 2015 show was an artful collaboration between blue and white. The clothes carried a sense of salty seaside freshness: brief jackets, cropped pants and blue and white horizontal stripes.

Giorgio Armani was also thinking about texture, from the faded cotton dress that opened the show to an intense shiny bracelet to semi-transparent PVC petticoats peeping out from under skirt hems. 

Emporio Armani весна-лето 2015

This rhapsody in blue was a little forced, but gave an eerie beauty to what is essentially a sportswear collection. And when Giorgio Armani took his bow, the focus was, of course, on his famously blue eyes. 

Fendi: An orchestra of orchids

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Fendi is hot and for the new Milan show it went up to boiling point. 

Guests were greeted by a long runway with Coliseum-style arched windows, as interpreted in the Mussolini-era building that is Fendi’s new headquarters in Rome. 

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Then there were the sparky accessories, like Silvia Venturini Fendi’s glamorous, be-jewelled “Tres baguette” bag; or that little, furry, sold-out-in-a-second “Karlito” (for “little Karl”) bag charm. That was swung by top model Cara Delevingne, who opened the show in a cute, short, orchid-print dress. 

The orchid is a new Fendi “logo”, worn by Lagerfeld himself as a necktie jewel. It was translated into handbag decorations and also appeared at the nape of each model’s hairstyle. 

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Thinking back to the poetry of last season, when Karl buried fresh flowers in Fendi furs, I could see the logic of the floral branding. But the new spring/summer 2015 show was in no way romantic – unless you counted pale blue and pink as the colours for long chiffon skirts. 

Most of the collection was hard and strong: short dresses where straight lines were drawn into graphic decoration or  bodices that were sliced like strip curtains at a car wash. The shoes had similar straps but they were more delicate. 

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Denim was included in Lagerfeld’s tough geometry, which was drawn with a compass for weird, jodhpur-shaped jeans. 

I surmised that Karl had been influenced by the new Fendi HQ, Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana in Rome, which he had photographed so graphically in the Fendi programme. title="Fendi SS 2015" width="650" />

The bag accessories have been a luxury super-hit, as evidenced by Marigay McKee, new President of Saks Fifth Avenue, rushing to beg for first dibs from Pietro Beccari, Fendi Chairman and CEO, who has done so much to revitalise the brand. 

I asked Pietro if the orchid will stay as part of the Fendi branding. 

“For at least the next two seasons,” he replied. “But you know Karl…” 

MaxMara: Rebranding the Seventies

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Mustard was the colour, soft cloche hats framed the face and floral patterns ran right down to knee-high boots. 

MaxMara весна-лето 2015

MaxMara revisited the Seventies – not an original concept – but like other brands, namely Gucci, the Milan shows are giving the hippie years a sophisticated makeover. 

MaxMara весна-лето 2015

MaxMara chose cultural icons from that period, like Vittorio de Sica’s film, The Garden of the Finzi Continis, or the angular elegance of the actress Anjelica Huston. The result? Outfits head to booted toe in a small floral pattern and the occasional crochet patchwork. 

MaxMara весна-лето 2015

Being British, it all looked to me like a scrubbed-up version of Biba. But this gentrified vision of the hippie years was nicely done with its well-cut coats – MaxMara’s heartland – and mid-calf skirts. The lightness of the fabrics made them look fresh. 

MaxMara весна-лето 2015

Why Matteo Renzi should be Milan Fashion’s Role Model

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Matteo Renzi

There is a favourite line from rockers, hippies and love children about their misspent, drug-filled, manic youth: “If you can remember the Seventies, you weren’t there!” 

title="1970s look Costume National SS 2015" width="650" />

1970s look Costume National SS 2015

One person who can honestly say he was not present is Matteo Renzi, Italy’s youthful new Prime Minister. Now just 39, he was born in 1975, well after the Age of Aquarius and the Summer of Love back in 1967. 

In the Seventies, he was barely in his cradle. So with this dynamic role model of the youngest leader in Europe and beyond, why would designers at Milan Fashion Week appear to be mad about the Seventies? 

title="1970s look Alberta Ferretti SS 2015" width="650" />

1970s look Alberta Ferretti SS 2015

The colours of that decade are everywhere: mustard, apricot, mud brown and burgundy. There are suede tunics – or suede anything. There are dangling fringes galore. And even – Oh horror! – variations on flared trousers. 

At Gucci, designer Frida Giannini was half in love with the era, recreating it in a luxurious, streamlined Gucci way. 

title="1970s look Gucci SS 2015" width="650" />

1970s look Gucci SS 2015

Alberta Ferretti’s love children wore fringed suede and some flowery dresses. 

MaxMara went mad for the moment when floppy hats and high-rise boots were in vogue. Then they were shown with matching clothes – in the same print. 

Even at Costume National, designer Ennio Capasa went for suede and fringe. 

Of course, modern suede and laser-cutting give a more 20th-century look to the old hefty hide. And digital patterns give a new meaning to Flower Power. 

title="1970s look MaxMara SS 2015" width="650" />

1970s look MaxMara SS 2015

But surely it is time that Italian designers looked forward – not back – however witty and stylish some of these pastiches can be?

For Prime Minister Renzi, with his penchant for taking off his jacket and appearing in a sharp shirt, has the right fashion idea. Shirts are hot. Or rather, they are cool. And they are much more suited than suede and fringe to modern times. 

Just Cavalli: Hippie de Luxe

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With California’s Coachella music festival hosting Hollywood celebrities and England’s Glastonbury festival no longer about counter culture, the current Seventies revival is very hippie de luxe. 

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The Just Cavalli show has always been fashionably Bohemian, and since floating chiffon and billowing skirts are back in fashion in Milan, Roberto Cavalli’s feather-light maxi dresses offering leg room up to the waist, his flower prints, and even floral overalls were on target. 

title="Just Cavalli SS 2015" width="650" />

title="Just Cavalli SS 2015" width="650" />

This show proved how the Seventies should be revisited: in fresh colours, instead of murky mustard and muddy brown. By inserting tailored summer trousers suits or a white broderie anglaise dress,  Just Cavalli offered a 21st-century Bohemian rhapsody. The look was not so much new, as fresh.  

Prada: Updating Antiquity

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Somewhere on the far side of an undulating sand dune, where the sound of the sea issued from beyond the plush gold carpet, Miuccia Prada staged her confrontation between the beauty of antiquity and the present’s demand for simplicity. 

On the one side, intense brocade pieces that looked as though they had been found in an old attic, their beauty and handwork still more or less intact, except for the fronds of unravelling threads. 

PRADA весна-лето 2015

On the other side of this struggle between sense and sensibility were severe coats and dresses, their plain shapes traced and retraced with overstitching. They seemed like a fashion version of Arte Povera, while the brocades suggested 19th-century grandeur. 

Take Prada’s water or the wine. And you get the same socks with a band of flowers at the calf and a stout-heeled shoe. 

PRADA весна-лето 2015

But as ever with Prada – and this show was comprehensively Miuccia in spirit – nothing is as it seems. 

“It is the irresistible work of artisans, like making chandeliers,” said Prada backstage, explaining how she had set the best Italian craftspeople to re-work and re-interpret the antique brocades.

PRADA весна-лето 2015

Prada’s wrestling to align opposites has been one of her ongoing challenges of the last two decades. The roar of excitement and applause, as she took a surprisingly generous bow, showed how much people respect her and admire her fashion courage. 

PRADA весна-лето 2015

What was different about this collection was its historic beauty. No more of the ugly aesthetic, yet neither a nostalgia for times past. No more male/female conflicts, for all the clothes were feminine, with no trousers, just a decorative brocade skirt with a simple sweater. 

Instead, Miuccia followed her delirious desire to preserve the skills of the past but always and forever remain relevant. 

Moschino: Barbie goes to Milan

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“Barbie, Barbie, let’s go party,” urged the sound track, as models with big blonde hair, pneumatic bosoms and pink wheely bags walked – or even roller skated – down the runway.

Moschino весна-лето 2015

“Moschino for age 5 and over” read the T-shirt on a Barbie-dressed model – and on the chest of designer Jeremy Scott. 

“Barbie is so joyful – and I wanted to bring some joy and fun into fashion,” said Jeremy Scott backstage. 

In his second show for Moschino, the American designer has elevated the Italian brand to super-hero status for a young audience whooping and snapping every gaudy, gilded leather mini skirt, skinny silver pair of trousers, whoosh of white tulle and outfit with appliquéd bikini tops and bottoms as decoration. 

Moschino весна-лето 2015

Jeremy Scott has a real sense of humour and style. Removed from the Barbie setting, the wigs and the kooky accessories, there were the perky tailored suits that have always been a Moschino staple. And until the show blew up into balloon skirts, the show was not so much burlesque as fun dressing. 

Moschino весна-лето 2015

Moschino весна-лето 2015

Moschino весна-лето 2015

But there is one thing Scott has to sort out. When the late Franco Moschino used the anti-nuclear symbol as fashion, it was from deep conviction about the state of the world. That was then. But there are causes and issues in the 21st-century – ethical fashion, for example – that Jeremy Scott could work into Moschino. 

But then Barbie would have to stop peroxiding her hair.  

Kiton: Capturing the Neopolitan cut

Kiton SS 2015

As I walked into Kiton’s Milan headquarters, I was greeted by the Mediterranean colours of the models’ tailored jackets and by the bold, three-dimensional works of sculptor and painter Mimmo Paladino. 

I was transported back to my recent visit to Naples – the swelling bay, the marble sculptures, the grey streets with a touch of greenery and men of all ages in summer jackets cut in that soft, comfortable Neapolitan way. 

I also saw in my mind’s eye the tailors at Kiton, creating every piece of a man’s jacket by hand to such an exquisite result. 

My eye was caught by the intense colours of the women’s jackets: cherry pink, canary yellow, emerald, navy blue, a dawn-sky pink and a sea blue that looked a lot fresher than the water in the Bay of Naples. 

Giovanna Paone, of the Kiton family, let me touch the fabrics that felt as soft as only a mix of cashmere, silk and linen can.  

But when it came to the shape, my enthusiasm faded. The fit was perfect. Too perfect. Yes, there will be women bankers out there who want to wear a perfectly cut jacket to stride into the board room. But Kiton, with its skill and excellence in tailoring, might look again at those slouchy, seductive and deceptively casual suits of Neapolitan men. And transform them to a woman’s body shape. 

Fancy footwork at Italia Independent

title="ZX Flux adidas Originals X" width="650" />

The lights were flashing and the patterns were bouncing optically across floor, wall and ceiling as a background to the latest Italia Independent sneakers from Adidas Originals.

No problem! The vividly coloured camouflage patterns on these ZX Flux sneakers would stand out anywhere – and that includes the single shoe that Lapo Elkann could wear, having hurt the other foot in an accident.

title="Adidas X 'Lapo' Italia Independent" width="650" />

Lapo might have been confined to a wheelchair, but the rest of the crowd were dancing madly to the music of DJ Cassidy, whose name was up in lights at the theatrical show space.  

title="Adidas X 'Lapo' Italia Independent" width="650" />

The Italia Independent sneakers are not just made for dancing. They are loaded with the technology of ground-breaking materials, a cage-shaped heel and – what everyone was gazing at – the cheetah, giraffe and zebra patterns. 

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title="LAPO ELKANN with Suzy Menkes" width="650" />

DSquared2: Thinking Big

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Whatever the message at DSquared2, from the set with an iconic curved Sixties lamp through the colourful oversize clothes to the soundtrack of Disclosure’s “When a Fire Starts to Burn”, designer twins Dean and Dan Caten were thinking big. 

DSquared2 весна-лето 2015

The show had bright patches of leather to create graphic pattern, blocks of colour, and a general feeling of bold statements. 

DSquared2 весна-лето 2015

The design duo seemed wedded to evening clothes – or maybe the big fancy skirt worn with a T-shirt was just for partying. And this savvy brand interspersed the follies, such as crumpled patterned trousers under a floppy skirt, with smart trouser suits as a reality check. 

DSquared2 весна-лето 2015

Although perfectly fine as a sport-meets-art-meets-party collection, there was nothing but the music to set fashion on fire. 

Costume National: Sanitising the Seventies

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As I read the programme notes at Costume National, my eyes were drawn to the ‘bags’ section.

‘Burning Bag’, ‘San Francisco Pochette’, ‘Santa Fe Messenger’, ‘Palm Springs Bucket Bag’, read the notes.

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style="width: 650px; height: 975px;" title="Costume National SS 2015" width="650" />

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Could one of Milan’s rare minimalists really be looking back to the 1970s?

If Summer 2015 fashion has to walk the hippie trail, it was stylishly done at Costume National. The suede seemed as supple as silk, as a tunic was fastened with giant lacing or eyelets punctuated the seams. The fringed bags were classy, not clumpy. And the colours were deep purple, dusty blue and rich chocolate brown.

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Capasa said he had been inspired by the youth culture of the Stonehenge free music festival that ran for ten years until 1984. It was a finely made collection. But it was still those 1970s again.

показы · коллекции · Fendi · Prada · Giorgio Armani · Max Mara · Costume National · Moschino · Сьюзи Менкес · Неделя моды в Милане весна-лето 2015 ·