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September 22, 2011 10:34 pm
The D&G show at Milan Fashion Week on Thursday was a swansong of sorts. News broke in the afternoon that D&G, sister line to Dolce & Gabbana, would close to become part of the house’s main range. Designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana said the move would give “even more strength and energy to our collections”. This show was a fitting finale to the line.
Golden coins encrusted flat sandals, earrings and necklaces, but the models moved too quickly for the audience to be able to see whether they were euros. It probably wasn’t a glimpse into the currency’s future as a form of decoration alone. In fact they looked more like pirate loot, their shiny and glamorous appearance entirely in keeping with the D&G brand.
Throw in young, fun and unashamedly sexy and you have the DNA of D&G. When the design duo go for a theme, they don’t hold back and this time, for spring/summer 2012, it was silk foulard scarves. Thus the backdrop to the catwalk featured screens depicting scarf squares, which constantly changed to show off the different designs.
These included grand baroque swirls, as well as butterflies and eclectic fusions of spots, stripes and leopard-print, and incorporated bright colours such as gold, hot pink, orange and emerald green.
The pieces were either made from scarf silk or looked as if they were constructed from actual scarves. The first outfit – a strapless mini dress of scarves wrapped around the body – set the tone for mini dresses with short, full skirts and twists around the bust leaving glimpses of flesh, knicker-like shorts and a tiny silk bikini that is probably more suited to the deck of a superyacht than a dip in the Mediterranean.
It wasn’t all mini dresses, though. Short silk jackets and tunics could easily be worn with trousers or jeans for a more understated look. Alongside the coins, jewellery and sandals, there were wedge shoes with foulards that encased the whole foot and tied at the ankle, foulard bags and giant straw hats. Foulard scarves have been a trend for about a year now, as well as being a classic accessory, so there was nothing radical about this collection, which also echoed early 1990s Versace, but it was a strong one nevertheless.
“You Do the Math” could have been the title of the Fendi show, where a giant protractor provided an arch-shaped backdrop to a catwalk covered in stripes reminiscent of a ruler. The collection itself also went back to school with elements borrowed from uniforms – not just those worn by schoolchildren, but also teachers and dinner ladies.
This being Fendi, however, designer Karl Lagerfeld had given these a luxe look not found in any playground. Stripes were a prominent motif, coming on short, full skirts, trench-like coat dresses and wide trousers, while short black silk dresses – one buttoned up the front to give it a utilitarian look of a maid’s uniform – came with striped collars.
Cutaway shoulders were also a recurrent theme – appearing on a double-breasted blazer worn with wide grey trousers and a black dress with tiered cape shoulders.
The mix of the functional and the luxurious worked well for the most part, with the uniform motifs ensuring that the overall effect felt mixed-up and modern. Michael Burke, Fendi chief executive, described the importance of “staying true to your brand, but being contemporary and relevant”, which was a balance reflected in the collection.
Of course there were more conspicuously luxurious elements, such as fur gilets: one in fox dyed blue, black and green, and mounted on strips of organza; another with tufts of fur on a net of linen. Yes, the Italian customer likes to see fur all year round, and these could work in spring, just not for high summer in Puglia, say. But this is also a time when emerging markets are critical to luxury brands, and the concept of the European seasons is becoming less relevant.
Hot weather – more specifically the desert – provided the inspiration for the colour palette at MaxMara, but the overwhelming impression of the show was that it was an ode to beige, and at points that was about as exciting as it sounds. While the “beige nuances” from pale sand to an iridescent gold were inspired by the desert, that’s where the theme ended; no Lawrence of Arabia or nomad references here.
The shapes were clean and sporty, sometimes even aerodynamic, and to wear clingy pieces such as a racer-back bodysuit and knitted dress in white, pale coffee and mint, or a gold strapless jumpsuit, you would need an equally aerodynamic figure. More wearable were short bomber jackets and a cotton cocoon coat with ribbed knit cuffs.
At Alberta Ferretti a softer and more feminine look prevailed. Tunic tops and culottes with sheer panels had a soft drape, while beading was a recurrent motif. A silk dress came with beaded geometric panels and dresses that looked like they were macramé were actually embellished with thousands of tiny beads.
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