A BUBBLE GUM pink suburban house sits on pink gravel in the Park Lane Armoury. The audience are seated on banks of shagpile pink carpeted benches and each given a pair of Beats by Dr Dre headphones to wear for the show. Through the headphones a disembodied voice intones instructions: “Bring out the crooked smile and the backpack”; “Go into the house and take a shower”.
Is he talking to the Marc Jacobs army parading around the exterior of the house in military serge with their mandarin-collared jackets and oversized buttons? Is he controlling the girls with their shaggy black bobs and their satin-belted army style? Who is he?
Fashion shows as theatre is something Jacobs is a master of and possibly it distracts from seeing the clothes for what they are. Certainly some of the details like the huge resin buttons, the macramé lace inserts, the rich luxury of the wool and linen were of the highest quality. It didn’t look much like a spring/summer collection but the glitter-strapped sliders will no doubt be on everyone’s wish list any day now.
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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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WELL, there can’t be many one-year-old babies with their very own front row seat at Paris Fashion Week. The current count tallies to one in fact, at Givenchy, where mademoiselle North West, dressed in a custom-made full-length Givenchy black sheer dress took her seat alongside parents, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, dressed in a plunging, sheer black lace jumpsuit. It was a family affair with Kendall Jenner on the runway.
The family certainly looked the part as the show opened with a series of graphic, sexy black dresses with trussed up corseted bodices and lacy sheer skirts. It was hard-edged and yet… romantic.
It’s an odd parallel but part of Riccardo Tisci’s appeal is in his ability to meld those two disparate worlds so convincingly. These are dresses that are all-out fierce, a little bit slutty (further enhanced by the thigh-high boots they were partnered with) but all of that is counterbalanced by the divine craftsmanship at play. The lace here this evening was so fine it looked like it could have floated right off, up into there air were it not anchored with leather strips spliced into those pleats, or harnessed down with backless waistcoats crafted from stiffened leather with crocodile panels.
Pirate blouses flounced about like ship’s sales, while humbug black and white striped narrow-shouldered jackets festooned with corseted lacing kept the silhouette tight and lean. With legs clad in leather leggings or spray on jeans, the detail was all about up top.
The only sighting of colour amongst this entirely monochrome collection came in the shape of a fleshy pink leather dress, plunging, tight to the body with a pleated and ruffled skirt. Severe, and yet… oh so pretty.
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Francesco Scognamiglio has been through his share of downs and ups lately. Losing a business partner, going it alone in a city notoriously difficult for fledgling independents, finding a new business partner. Tonight he was in the ascendant, with a collection of delicate, just a little bit dirty 1930s-inflected dresses. Long sleeves, bias-cut silk, below-the-knee hemlines, lots of boobies. Scognamiglio has never shied away from the nipple, and they were on proud display here. It’d be nice to see him address modesty-preserving lingerie at some point, but for the moment we’ll let the sheer factor slide. Why? Put simply, there was a lot of prettiness here, from baby-blue silk habotai numbers with almost ineffable lacy white embroideries to slightly more wholesome floral print styles overlaid with more of that exquisite lace. A white silk blouse worn with a stretchy black net skirt embroidered with shiny round silver studs roused the audience to spontaneous applause, a rare sound at this, or any, fashion week.
Best of all were the stretch tulle blouses worn with salopettes that formed a V over the breasts. That’s one way to deal with the see-through issue; they also showcased Scognamiglio’s skills as a tailor. The designer himself was most excited about the white tulle gown that Karmen Pedaru modeled at the end of the show. Appliquéd with lace and embroidered with crystals, it was a taste, he intimated, of a forthcoming couture collection.
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