2011 February 25
Milan Fall 2011: Versace, Gianfranco Ferré
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Au revoir, corporate Teatro, and bonjour, Via Gesu. Donatella Versace showed her Fall 2011 collection in the courtyard of her brother Gianni's Milan manse, and she provided a fitting homage with an eighties-riffic parade of brights, pleats, minis, strong shoulders, and gold buttons galore. It wasn't as aggressively flashy as we've come to expect from Donatella in recent seasons, but it packed plenty of attitude. Beginning with straightforward black sheaths and jackets, dazzling with those medusa-bearing gold buttons, the looks were flush with the sort of big-pleat, big-pocket add-ons that make Versace, Versace. A scroll motif, presumably abstracted from Medusa, snaked up lean black and white dresses. A sheared mink jacket featured the motif as well while providing the only injection of red in a palette of silver, white, black, navy, plum, Big Bird yellow, and purple. (Yves Klein has his blue, but Donatella has her purple!) Even for evening, the effect is day-ish and modern—until you get a glimpse of those maribou feathers cascading down the backs of gowns. The house has never scrimped in the gown category, and accordingly, the priciest pieces have earned the most devout following. But this collection, with its pleated skirts, python jackets, and fearless boxy jackets, is just as strong during daylight. Power dressing, all the way.
Making minimalism pulse-quickening is not always an easy task, but it’s one well suited to Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi. Their Fall 2011 effort for Gianfranco Ferré pioneered a blissfully Italian take on this school of thought. When it comes to fabrics, these guys are Milan’s answer to Francisco Costa. They lend themselves beautifully to un-tricky silhouettes, like the knee-length skirts, fitted sheaths, and dropped-shoulder jackets that comprised the strongest looks. Calfskin and pony played against satin and organza, with transparency—a Ferré trademark—adding the requisite gravitas.
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