2011 February 26

Milan Fall 2011: Bottega Veneta, Emporio Armani, Sportmax

Bottega Veneta Fall 2011 Bottega Veneta Fall 2011
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(MILAN) Bottega Veneta
Merging the minimal and the maximal is what Tomas Maier does best, and his Fall collection was the amalgamation of deceptively simple silhouettes and an assault of texture. Vaguely sixties shapes predominated, like A-line shifts, same-length coats, pleated wool skirts, and even turtlenecks. Maier, master of palette, was right on target with his use of rust, topaz, vermillion, garnet, persimmon, and peridot. But the showstoppers were really the textures: a deja-pilled mohair shirt/skirt combo, a jacquard mohair coat in "fire opal" (the most palpable we've seen all season), a chiffon printed in tulle. The lace---and/or lace-printed dresses---are Maier's big idea. One dress, made of a lace print, was decked out in long, same-fabric fringe before the whole thing was sheathed in an overlay of the same black lace. The final four evening gowns, silk duchesse that had been handpainted in ombre (or dirty hem) style, were grounded with linen-like boned corsets. Of the blackened silver, colored gemstone, and lacy jewels, the pieces featuring spookily floating eyes were most effective in de-sweetening the ladylike looks. The best bags were heavily un-woven clutches that felt more like pets---as, no doubt, they will be beloved.

Emporio Armani

Rarely does an Emporio Armani collection snub menswear, and for Fall 2011, Giorgio Armani riffed on his signature mostly-noir silhouettes---slouchy silk trousers, angular jackets, full-skirted coats, and flutter-hem cocktail dresses---to perfectly sales floor-friendly effect. The seasonal styling treatment of leather-brimmed, velvet-capped baseball hats, platform slippers, and leather legwarmers will give editorial stylists plenty to play with. Mongolian lamb bags and jackets, occasionally in energetic shades of cerulean and teal, contributed a necessary shot in the arm. The pleated culotte worn with a shimmering beaded t-shirt style blouse was Armani's most directional take on evening.

An appealing palette of rust, burnt orange, lipstick red, and cerulean are only one of the reasons why this Sportmax collection is successful. It began with a relatively basic assortment of neutral-hued separates, but when the colors brightened, the energy level increased exponentially. A tonal, washed rust silk blouse, paired with a chocolate trouser and a red leather pouch, is just the kind of thing a young (or young-at-heart) woman is aching for. Embellished fair isle sweaters and an ankle-length luster patent leather coat in chestnut added some shine to the mix. The lingerie-like dresses, featuring floral embroidery over net, are clearly intended for the Millenials.