THE money shot at this morning’s Giorgio Armani show was the finale look: a shimmering, shining bejewelled being complete with a bob of beads. She encapsulated the glamour of Armani and the designer’s inspiration this season: the sea, the sand and the landscapes they shape.
He started proceedings with a short film directed by the Oscar-winning Paolo Sorrentino and in it, we saw a mystery couple lying on the beach, hand in hand, with only rope to protect their modesty. Had they come from the deep blue sea? Were they from this world of Armani that Sorrentino was introducing? Were they simply on a nice beach day out?
Regardless, when we did get into that Armani water world, the designer took his theme and ran with it – to create multiple dresses that riffed on jellyfish proportions, shapes and movement. Pronounced short skirts splayed over sheer trousers (still an idea that might need some time to catch on) to perfectly replicate the entity in clothes. Fringes trailed from long skirts to reincarnate fish tails and scales and trousers came with pleats that looked like sand ripples – just as though the tide had come in.
The trousers here were mostly cropped and tapered, jackets languid and loose – a series of white suits were particularly beautiful – and shoes flat throughout. This style note helped to keep the collection feeling fresh and youthful too – those glistening dresses somehow seeming less obvious as obligatory eveningwear.
Armani isn’t the only designer diving deep this season – Philipp Plein made his own splash in Milan last night while back in London Ryan Lo took the plunge in his own irreverent way.
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THAT Seventies Show – is fast becoming the way to sum up Milan Fashion Week, from Gucci to Prada and onto Emilio Pucci.
“It’s always resonated with me. I think it’s a reaction,” said Pucci creative director Peter Dundas backstage by way of explanation. “I really wanted to do it last time so just thought I’m just going to do it.” Fair enough.
Whether the fashion forces of Milan got together to conspire in favour of the era or not, it’s on next summer’s agenda for sure – but it just depends on what kind of Seventies spirit you are.
“It’s my girls,” said Dundas, referring to Poppy Delevingne who was bejewelled and Pucci-fied out front. What he meant was that bohemian and carefree spirit – but situated in a contemporary context.
And this was very much a happy-hippy collection: plunge-neck crochet dresses embroidered with flowers, be-tasselled ponchos of the same effect, wispy butterfly-billowing maxi dresses, psychedelic shades and prints of Zap ice lolly optics, waistcoats, skinny suits, flares – tick, tick, tick for the Seventies. There were even those orange and brown colour clashes.
Halter necks, empire lines, gypsy tops and gilets – the repertoire continued as a mash-up of Fleetwood Mac played out – and then Naomi Campbell took a turn on the catwalk.
With all its colour and exotic psychedelic prints, Pucci is a brand that sits well in the Seventies – and will do in the second wave of the Noughties with so many trend boxes ticked this season.
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WOW. And in one fell swoop Raf Simons redefined what modern is. And that didn’t mean sci-fi futuristic or normcore anodyne.
What it meant was an incredible collection that continued on from where his couture show started off in July and gave us historical clothes and references like we’ve never seen them before.
“I started to think ‘What is modern?'” explained Simons in his show notes. “It was an idea of confronting what people now think is an aesthetic that is modern – it felt more modern to go to the far past, not the ‘modernised’ look of the last decade.”
And in doing so he managed to make history look new and modern look old. Never have frock coats or tapestry cuffs and turn-ups looked so appealing, relevant and real.
So he borrowed – and sweetly added a “strict” accuracy disclaimer in the notes – from the Eighteenth century onwards for a collection that somehow managed to combine the French royal court with the uniforms of pilots and astronauts, school girls and skaters and make it all cool, all utterly desirable and leaving the audience, frankly, wanting more.
Court coats in bright cerise or marigold worn with skate shorts; bar jacket dresses punctuated with poppers instead of buttons on the hip; high Edwardian collars that could so easily drift into the realms of scuba wear; vest-top dresses that revived his full skirt and top combinations from his first couture season even; languid night dresses; leather-laced jackets belted on an empire line; flashes of rich embroidery here and there and just when you least expected. This was everything and more, and on paper probably shouldn’t have made sense. Yet it did – it was a revelation.
“The challenge was to bring the attitude of contemporary reality to something very historical; bringing easiness to something that could be perceived as theatrical,” elaborated Simons. “It is the attitude that matters.”
There was drama, there was character and there was fantasy here – a collection that will appeal to Dior customers old and new (everyone’s wearing those bejewelled couture trainers of his right now). And there was tangibility.
Move over normcore, Raf’s ignited a renaissance.
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VIKTOR & ROLF got bitten by the sportswear bug for their spring/summer 2015 collection today, unfamiliar territory for the duo who have a penchant for performance wares. Well, these were performance wares of a different variety – less froth and drama, more streamlined scuba shorts and leggings, jogging bottoms and little vests.
But they came with a side of extravagance and the unexpected – voluminous, inflated, gathered and twisted floral tops that used the torso as a canvas to create hugely contrasting shapes to the sleek nature of what was below. Not exactly practical for a workout.
These tops were draped and pulled and fashioned, entwined and tucked and there came a continuation of the sports note by the use of mesh on some of them too.
Sportswear has found itself providing the fashion fuel for many a designer collection these past few seasons so their dabbling into it now couldn’t help but feel a little late.