Italian designers put craftsmanship before reckless glamour at the Milan fashion week, in a bid to defend their tailoring tradition in the face of global competition.
Fashion houses PPR’s Bottega Veneta, Roberto Cavalli and Ermanno Scervino on Saturday proposed sculpted flannel coats and steel-embroidered dresses for their 2013-14 autumn-winter collections.
“I am based in Florence because this is where I find a know-how that I don’t find anywhere else,” Scervino said in the backstage of his packed show.
Both Scervino and Cavalli dedicated their events to Florence, a city famous for its artisanal leather goods, also the signature lines of Italian fashion giants Salvatore Ferragamo and Gucci.
“What does art represent for a Florentine? A sense of place, a form of nostalgia, a necessity, a consequence,” Cavalli said in a statement to accompany his show, attended by American singer Janet Jackson.
The Florence-based designer, known for his leather-fringed dresses in animal prints, said he was inspired by floral motifs by 16th century painter Caravaggio for his classic collection.
Bottega Veneta looks project strength and decision
Bottega Veneta’s looks for women next winter project strength and decision.
Creative director Tomas Maier’s collection was precisely constructed, with blunt pleats, ruffles and draping that created both volume and movement while enhancing the figure.
Materials define the fall-winter 2013-14 collection previewed Saturday, the fourth day of Milan Fashion Week. Maier worked with wool to create new looks, from plush to felty to subdued.
“The collection is about proportion, precision, ease and the simple beauty of the material,” Maier said in collection notes.
Coats, which led off the collection, were belted with thin leather strips or ribbons, the look finished with fine leather gloves. Architectural structuring catches the eye from a distance, and detailing like raised decorative piping keeps the viewer enthralled from a closer view.
Hemlines were modest, falling just below the knee, and pretty overlays formed precisely tailored skirts that still projected a freedom of movement. Felt dresses featured squared shoulders and surprising decorative bursts in mustard, red and brown created from pieces of leather, silk and satin.
Pants were roomy and worn at three-quarter length, paired with satiny blouses with artful folds.
Colours tended toward the dark, black and greys, with flashes of red, yellow and curry.
Shoes were inspired by a men’s loafer or lace-up booties with chunky heels, and some interesting details like tabs on the back of the heels. Bags were smaller than in seasons past, with no handles, and made of woollens mixed with napa leather and decorated with raffia.
While most runways have shown long hair left slightly wavy or pulled back, Maier’s models sported voluminous styles, which from a flat crown burst out into fizzy curls.
Pucci Girl spreads 2014 winter cheer
It was a naughty little show, but quite a relief from the Goth fashion prevalent on the current Milan runway.
The mood at the Emilio Pucci show for next fall “is playful and unapologetically optimistic,” Norwegian designer Peter Dundas said in the notes for the collection presented Saturday in a downtown Milan palazzo.
The “Pucci Girl” is carefree, glamorous and sassy.
She likes hot pants, miniskirts and thigh-high boots that cling like a second skin. She’s not satisfied with just a mink jacket. It has to be fabulously pink and puffy.
For evening she decorates her shorts and matching top with glittery sequins, and switches to stiletto pumps, baring her legs.
Much of the collection’s night wear is a flirtatious combination of sheer fabrics, prints and embroidery. The Midas touch comes in tunic dresses and gowns held together by myriad gilded beads.
Diamonds might be a girl’s best friend, but Pucci this round is not far behind.
Cavalli offers winter glitter
For designer Roberto Cavalli, it was a very quiet and surprisingly elegant show.
The master of sexy fashion shuns his trademark animal prints and body-clinging clothes, replacing them with sparkling fabric in high society styles.
But despite the glitter there was something dark about the womenswear collection presented Saturday, a reflection of the prevailing aggressive mood of this round of preview showings.
The extravagant fur coats for example, shaggy and black with splashes of bright red or yellow, were something Cruella De Vil, Disney’s despised dognapper, might favour. The shoes, too, came with a nasty high metal heel.
But the series of cocktail and evening dresses, with hand-stitched sequined prints inspired by works in the museums of designer Cavalli’s native Florence were literally awesome. Whether floor length, with dipping neckline, or short with demure pleated skirt and sleeveless top, the outfits are a treat to the eye and a relief from the edgy feel of next winter’s fashion.
Jil Sander asserts tailored heritage
Jil Sander is back, and it shows. Belgian designer Raf Simons, now with Dior, had livened up the minimalist label with bold colours and inventive styles. But since the company’s founder took back the reins a year ago, the style has reverted to precise, disciplined tailoring, for the most part in no-nonsense colours.
Big double-breasted coats, jackets with sculpted shoulders, pleated skirts and tailored dresses, all combine to create a fashion code based on geometric shapes in the collection presented Saturday.
Sander’s designing discipline jibes with the winter trend of constructed, almost architectural styles, seen on many runways of the current preview showings for winter 2014.
But if the style and, sometimes even the fabric, are rigid, the effect of the latest Sander collection is more sensual than sensible, obtained by the generous pleating and draping used throughout the show.
Although the wools in the collection are soft, leather and even fur tends to be stiff. The new winter shades are berry blue and a warm shade of apricot, the designer’s shift away from her traditionally drab palette.
To underline the disciplined look, models had their hair severely pulled back, and wore mannish walking shoes with a thick high heel.