2010 March 1

Runway Reviews: Giorgio Armani, MaxMara, Versace

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Giorgio Armani Fall 2010 Giorgio Armani Fall 2010
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(MILAN) Giorgio Armani
In search of the "new chic," Giorgio Armani looked to velvet, mink, and of course, beaded and pailette-studded silk pieces to give the Armani customer more of what she craves. Key pieces include the softer-shouldered jacket, the pieced-together velvet skirt, and the cape swinging over a short, fitted dress. Black and white were amped-up with shots of lipstick red, emerald green, and even a shade of orange described as "Tibetan." One black jacket dazzled with swinging, crystal-strewn fringe, while jewelled embroidery topped off other similarly dressy styles. But it was a series of black velvet gowns and cocktail dresses, that fit beautifully and moved even more so, that make the chicest statement for evening.

"A new constructivism, a return to tradition," informed the collection notes. In all fairness, MaxMara has never really abandoned its heritage, although its Fall 2010 direction did feel fresh. A military theme infused the usual crop of tailored classics, which were made mostly in cashmere, flannel and corduroy. Floor-grazing skirts with plenty of kick and flourish mixed and mingled with ultra-narrow, wide-wale cord styles. A flannel uniform-esque shirtdress, seen on Karlie Kloss, was MaxMara's particular brand of sophistication at its best. But the more daring pieces, such as a series of skirts and dresses in burnished gold lame, were just as show-stopping as the billowing cashmere capes. No wonder front-row guest Zoe Saldana went for that luminous gilt day dress.

A Versace viewpoint is often executed aggressively, sexy, and aggressively sexily, and Donatella's masculin/feminin take on Fall was exactly that. Long coats worn over microminis, floor-grazing dresses unzipped up the leg o r left open in the back, motorcross jackets in high-tech fabrics, and even a pair of jeans (with leather insets, but still) made for a collection that resonated even more with Gianni Versace's collections in the early '90s now that everyone is reading Deborah Bell's hagiographic tome. The gowns, of course, were killer, especially a lemon one-shouldered number with plenty of hardware. Quintessentially Milan, these looks have global appeal, and most clients will agree that the time to buy Versace is very ripe indeed.

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