2009 March 2
(MILAN) Bottega Veneta
Tomas Maier is on a roll. His Fall 2009 collection for Bottega Veneta was as luxurious as it was practical, full of tweaked and chic-ed basics in the most luxurious fabrications possible. His silhouette was modelled after an opening envelope, an effect achieved most memorably in several loose charmeuse gowns that appeared to melt off the body. Seamed black day dresses and lean boucle cocktail frocks held up with a sliver of strap are the kind of items evert woman deserves, while the most exciting fashion moments came in the final gown story, which featured pale grey, cream and white pleated silk gowns, two of which were Grecian and knotted seductively at the neck. The result was breathtaking, reminding the audience how very few designers are able to endow a legendary Italian fashion house with modern ready-to-wear that moves spirits while moving on the sales floor.
No matter what Frida Giannini shows, it governs dinner-table discussions in Milan at least until Miuccia Prada has her say. The critical debate, of course, surrounds the merchant-versus-designer question, with some applauding Giannini for delivering trends directly and accessibly to the Gucci customer while others suggest that such a storied house merits a bit more vision. But in these times, Giannini's straightforward approach makes more heaps of sense. She delivered her own take on '80s glam-rock, with models in slicked-back hair and fuschia eyeshadow paying respects to David Bowie. The silhouette was hyperlean on the bottom, with second-skin pants, thigh-high leather boots and/or headband-size skirts. Iridescent mesh also figured heavily in disco-ready dresses and tiny slivers of top. Giannini's signature pantsuit made more than a few cameos, just as it has in the past two seasons. Clearly, the girls go for it--a serious accomplishment indeed, these days.
Rossella Jardini always indulges her flights of fancy, and this season, quirky little touches threatened to overwhelm the classic silhouettes. But this is Moschino, after all, and that's how it should be. Navy jackets were studded with rosettes or topped with twisted silk collars and cuffs, while a red sheath was gussied-up with cascading ruffles from hip to knee. These exaggerated curves, which have emerged as one of Milan's most cohesive trends, exemplified this brand's obsession with playfulness. It worked beautifully in a navy silk frock with a layer of rose petals trapped between the base and a chiffon overlay.
Cristina Ortiz's third collection at Ferragamo was a welcome (and required) antidote to the generally desconstructed looks she's shown at the house so far. Her take on Fall was dignified, tailored and (dare we say it?) classic, offering up some very tempting ready-to-wear options for the house's loyal accessory customer. The palette of mostly brick, blood red, oyster, plum and chocolate conveyed that historic luxury, while details like fur armwarmers and red leather motorcross gloves dotted with a single rosette were sufficiently trend-driven to spice up the more straightforward pieces. Memories of cableknit sweaterdresses in brick and navy, the latter worn beautifully by Tanya D., undid the damage wrought by a smattering of sheer sweaters, which had the audience focused more on breasts than the masterful floorgrazing skirts that accompanied them.
This designer has a particularly strong following of his native Italians, and Dell'Acqua's Fall collection was full of the sort of lifestyle pieces that take his woman from the trenches to the club. Fur is required. A loose, deconstructed mink coat worn over a fitted sweaterdress, or a hooded mink lining underneath a straightforward bomber. Then came the clubby frocks, all metallic and crystallized, whose heaviness was only counterbalanced by their small, lean shapes. (Very Posh.) When draped with a fur, well, the crowd went wild.
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