2012 February 27

Milan Fall 2012: Jil Sander, Emporio Armani, Bottega Veneta, Dolce & Gabbana, Pucci

Jil Sander Fall 2012 Jil Sander Fall 2012
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(MILAN) Jil Sander
Parting is such sweet sorrow. On Saturday, Raf Simons took his final bow as creative director for Jil Sander. A standing O (instigated by Anna Wintour) followed, along with an endless stream of boisterous applause that warranted a teary-eyed encore. The 44-year-old Belgian designer summed up his six and a half year stint at the German brand with a medley of polished pastel outerwear over slinky slips and sweetheart fifties frocks. Grace Kelly look-a-likes floated down the runway, back-dropped with six floral pillars, clasping their button-less double-faced coats closed and showing off dual-tone lapels or contrasting linings up top and colorful, neon-tinged Mary Janes below. A tough act to follow.  

Emporio Armani
"Little winter follies" was the theme on 
Giorgio Armani's mind for his latest Emporio Armani collection. What does that entail exactly? A hankering for knickers! In particular, the 18th century, cuffed and to-the-knee variety. They came in black or sapphire, velvet or rumpled silk, printed with florals or patterned with plaid. And Mr. Armani didn't stop there. More was more on this quirky catwalk. The oft-repeated britches peeked out from under dotted toppers, striped jackets, ruffled taffeta blazers, shaggy rainbow Mongolian lamb furs and velvet-on-velvet dresses. Adding to the "fun little touches of pure fantasy" was chunky Art Deco costume jewelry and topsy-turvy chapeaux that seamlessly transition from runway to reality.  

Bottega Veneta
Sleek and structured, just short of severe, sums up the latest offerings from Tomas Meier at Bottega Veneta. The runway tale du season began with strong tailoring in shades of midnight, cocoa, and tons of noir, got momentarily lightened via sharp shifts in paler neutrals in hues of butter and concrete, before heading into marigold-kissed patterns with a brief moment of blush along the way. Vampy evening looks sported tufts of ruffles, and peplums spiffed up mottled, slightly marble-y patterning on gowns. Hemlines erred on the side of demure, with a spate of slim calf-grazing skirts in the mix, paired with ankle booties or knee-length boots. More on the accoutrements: Black leather gloves got hiked up at the elbow—some soaring towards the shoulders—and crystal-accented necklines came out for a few spins. For day (easily segued into night), a nude and black number with burnout floral detailing, blooming at the clavicle and entwined down the sides, was a standout; for the evening hours, pieced-velvet gowns looked unexpectedly rich in a shade of mauve. Added bonus: brilliant, almost-black lips. Molto chic, Maier!

Dolce & Gabbana
Domenico Dolce 
and Stefano Gabbana proved once again they have the Midas touch with a golden collection veering toward the romanticism of Sicily (Dolce's birthplace) during the Baroque years. Towering gilded mirrors and two-tier chandeliers, intertwined with fairytale floral arrangements, set the lavish stage for a lineup long on opulent gold embroidery atop everything from black capes, onesies, and dainty ankle socks to sheer look-at-me dresses and their more conservative velvet counterparts. Later, darkness turned to light as black shifted to white on ruffled frocks and lacy shifts, cinched at the waist with Rococo belts dripping in pearls. This theatrical fancy was repeated on halo headbands, ladylike handbags, and covetable vintage-y drop earrings. For the finale, needlepoint florals and cherub fresco prints injected a delightful dose of color into the provocative Hail Mary procession. 

Farewell, haute hippie; in lieu of Spring's luxe bohemian trope is Peter Dundas’ sexier, sleeker vision for Fall, rife with plenty of black leather (often in embossed croc), superior splicing via mesh paneling frequently edged in velvet, and excellent trousers—cropped, creased, mostly cumberbund-cinched, and smartly fitted. Per the brand’s swirly, pattern-festooned DNA, there were tweaked takes on those graphic trips in burgundy, blush, or icy blue—the latter of which popped up in a series of the pale, cool hue. That same shade of blue made for a crisp, instantly covetable tux jacket, nonchalantly draped off the shoulders. Also on the docket: a wet-looking splatter of metallic-marred cornflower suiting, some fur-chapeau-topped B&W Fair Isle action, and an improbably sumptuous series of peachy nude monochrome ensembles. To that effect, look 27 is a standout—a hip-grazing, flared collar chubby atop a seamed, sheer shell and slick, belted cropped trou. For the final few getups, Dundas ratcheted up the sauciness via those cutouts, rejiggering the mesh-solid fabric ratio to flash more hipbone, fully-bared clavicle, et al. Finishing with flourish indeed.