Milan Fashion Week: Day Three
“She’s a free spirit – an artist in the middle of nowhere putting things together that are washed or burned out,” said Veronica Etro. “I call it ‘Organic couture.”
might label the Etro show “hippie de luxe” but that does not quite sum
up the lovingly lived-in materials worn on the runway as the hypnotic
“Riders on the
Storm” by The Doors played in the background.
Jim Morrison bringing fashion back from the Seventies – again? Veronica Etro’s offering seemed more convincing than most this Milan season because the mix and meld of fabrics and their original creation are all symbolic of the brand.
Sandals and boots dripping with suede fringing are Etro’s way to go. But there was so much more in the show: the graphic shape of a Native American poncho, and dresses with faded patterns and elegant shoes to move from California dreamin’ to the global world.
Missoni: Silk shirt serenade
With all the Seventies hippie looks washing through Milan like the city’s rain storm, Angela Missoni made a smart decision. She stripped the layers off and bet her collection on a shirt.
was not just any shirt, but a roomy, mannish shape with a bold print,
worn billowing over a dress or a long skirt. A turban on the head – in
more patterned silk
– gave the feeling of Elizabeth Taylor's Hollywood. But there was no
obvious reference, just a faint gesture.
see Missoni prints after drowning in patterns the entire Italian season
is to experience a master class in style. Angela cited Pop Art and the
collages. But her skills ran from hazy horizontal stripes on a wrap
coat to a single orchid, its curling lip placed strategically at the
cleavage on a beige top. That floral beauty was worn with a skirt of
It was brave and so right to take Missoni forward, using fresh, natural colours like green or shell pink. The show suggested that for all the brand's fame in the 1970s, it is relevant to now.
Versace on a Loop
“Bold and fresh – it's more sophisticated,” announced Donatella Versace backstage.
She was wearing an all-black look, lit with a narrow, signature Versace Greek pattern around her hips – suited to a show where the invitation was a block of “gold”.
Indeed the show opened with pared-down black tailoring with white stitching running through. The fact that skirts were either short or side-slit and the models balanced on transparent Perspex heels brought a sexy vibe.
The set runway had more transparent glass effects, with blush pink and blue lighting, giving promise of a boudoir.
Those girly colours were picked up on short satin dresses where geometric lines gave the clothes a feeling of modernity.
But really we have seen all this stuff from Donatella before: the peek-a-boo of flesh, thinly veiled with chiffon; more transparency with sportier mesh or laser-cut leather. And, inevitably, that famous Medusa head, mixed with some digital geometric effects to give it a modern spin.
Versace the brand is in a bind. It has to keep in its own loop. But the message just keeps going round and round with a slice of red ribbon here and a shimmering panel of vivid coloured pattern there.
When I saw the wedding dress that Donatella created for her friend Angela Jolie, my eyes pricked with tears at the innocent beauty of the concept and the exquisite workmanship.
I wish that Versace could break through the hard surface and, just for once, send romance, sweetness and love down the runway.
Veni, Vidi, Valli: Introducing Giamba
“It's the 'pretty' side of Giambattista Valli: it's about my girls, my friends, but mixed with the spirit of women's sexual freedom in the Seventies,” said “Giamba” himself.
That is what his close friends call the designer and is the name of his new brand.
faithful front-row clients – artistic Euro socialites – had come to
Milan for the launch of dresses with brief hemlines but dense
combination seemed original: bringing the effect of haute couture
(which is a Giambattista strength) to a younger and supposedly
Intriguingly, Giamba had brocade – the fabric regenerated by Miuccia Prada this season. His version was politely pretty, but other floral decoration was wilder: amaryllis embroidered on a dress that had a giant, more sexually suggestive version of the flowers at the neck.
success of this collection, with its A-line dresses, fuller Fifties
skirts and occasional slender, long gowns, was that it joined seamlessly
with the other two
existing lines. To create this little fashion empire, without the
backing of a big group, by intelligence and hard work, is quite an
Marco De Vincenzo: Controlled complication
/> Only in Italy could the silken fringes that were once associated with flapper girls in the Twenties seem so sophisticated.
Marco de Vincenzo is a master of embellishment – especially for a relatively young designer. The exceptional skills at what he himself calls “controlled complication” brought him to the attention of Fendi, which offers support through its parent group LVMH.
/> As a designer he also seems intensely Italian in his desire to elaborate
clothes in an artistic way, with the silken threads morphing into
All that in one outfit? This compression is Marco de Vincenzo’s exceptional skill, so that a coat might have squares with woven strips of python and a skirt be interwoven with chiffon.
Each outfit would require a paragraph to describe, yet the clothes seemed so simple. And that is the originality and the strength of the Marco story.
Tod’s: Botanical Luxury
The set was of topiary in a green garden, vistas and verandas, box hedges, gravel paths and a feeling of sweet privacy.
“Botanical luxury,” said Alessandra Facchinetti about her Tod’s collection, where a sporty serenity was the theme. There were some flower patterns, gracefully drawn, like the sketches on the designer’s trellis-covered programme.
The Birds of Paradise flowers, which had a spiky sexuality, gave a touch
of the exotic when optically printed or translated into trouser suits
in vivid yellow or lagoon turquoise.
Facchinetti is getting into her groove at Tod’s. Of course there was leather from this house famous for its shoes and bags. Its treatment is so exceptional that the skin becomes like cloth. There were even curving leather obi belts, wrapping gracefully around the torso.
The good thing about this designer is that there are no obvious fashion clich?s. She thinks of a contemporary look, fine for work when a hemline falls smartly above the knees in a geometric cut, or when a safari jacket and trousers make a summer suit.
If Tod’s can keep the price of the clothes at the same luxury, but
bearable, level as the shoes, this collection could be a real hit with
women looking for a fashion soul sister.