2010 March 1

Runway Reviews: Dolce & Gabbana, Roberto Cavalli, Missoni

Dolce & Gabbana Fall 2010 Dolce & Gabbana Fall 2010
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(MILAN) Dolce & Gabbana
Love is in the air. Set to the Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman rendition of "Come What May" from Moulin Rouge, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana showed a very commercial collection--and that's a good thing. It began with a series of nipped black jackets and coats, and as footage from the atelier played in the message was clear: we are tailors, and we do this stuff best. There was no flash--well, very little of it---but instead, polka-dot silk chiffon skirts, blouses, and the occasional lean dress. And what, no gowns? The fashion world felt robbed of one of the week's predictable highlights. But instead, the models all stormed the runway in silk briefs and black jackets. Practicality is all.

Roberto Cavalli
Cavalli is an infectious designer, one of Milan's most-imitated and a source of much of the city's fashion energy. He's also a larger-than-life personality whose ability to move fragrances and even drinks at his club in Dubai make other "lifestyle" designers look like amateurs. His joie de vivre is clearly alive and well for Fall, albeit with a more neutral color palette (black, beige, grey, and nude) and an urban-warrior silhouette. Brocade jackets and pants provided a touch of baroque to the drop-crotch leopard-print chiffon pants and ultra-narrow transparent styles. Scores of toss-on fur vests and jackets staved off any hint of glitz, as did wrap-around scarves finished with fur bits. But it was Cavalli's take on loose-fit goddess gowns, backless and made from rough-pleated silk, that were easiest to love, especially the last look in a splendid shade of blush, with a racerback and scores of pieced-on lace. Plenty of sense there, and even more sensibility.

Whomever has dared to doubt that knitwear could be rendered in so many shapes, so many colors, and so many textures needs to take a long, hard look at the chronically inventive house of Missoni. The brand's Fall collection was a mismash of all of the above, and the effect was great fun. With blanket dressing as a focal point, Missoni was especially strong in outerwear, with wraparound jackets left open in the back and fastened with a giant safety pin. Skirts, for the most part, were full and swingy, while a few cropped, taut turtlenecks bared eqally taut navels. Multicolored crochet dresses played against toggle sweaters in teal and chestnut and bubblegum pink and cream. Shades of lipstick red, burnt orange, marigold, and lime also made cameo appearances. The strongest fur pieces were pieced-together styles in multicolor chevron stripes--perfect for any Saturday afternoon, whether that means walking around the city, lounging in Litchfield or escaping to exotica. Angela Missoni took her runway bow along with a half-dozen family members, many (if not all) of whom are appearing in current ad campaigns. Happily, this collection attested to that idea by appealing to different generations, tastes, and budgets. (Confidential to Missoni newbies: Start with the leggings.)