Dreaming of adventures that flit across time zones in pursuit of the world’s untouched beaches? Instead of snapping a golden sunset to capture that feeling, try wearing the richness of its flame-licked yellow-to-orange palette. The sun-drenched shades of the new dresses make perfect packing solutions for the first escape of summer.
No matter how many we encounter, there is just something about a sunset that ignites the imagination. Perhaps it’s the pure romance, or the memories of salty, sunkissed holiday skin, or simply the magic of that moment when dusk turns to night. It got designers thinking, too; from yellow to fiery orange and cinnamon, there isn’t one colour this spring but an ombré of glowing sunset hues.
For his second ready-to-wear collection at Gucci, Alessandro Michele (who took over from Frida Giannini at the beginning of this year), presented a wealth of ideas that firmly and strongly built on what he started to show us his intentions were last season.
But where those had a slight softly-softly approach, this time the ideas came with gusto, staunchly setting out to follow up and consolidate what he started and take it somewhere even better. You know this is going to be one very desirable collection and one that will have significant impact on the season ahead.
It was his blend of geek-chic still but with solid Gucci accessory references and everything was amped up – from colour to decoration, frills and glitter, shine, sequins and embroidery which dazzled down sheer column flounced dresses or climbed and wound round the backs of those sheer pussy-bow blouses he so managed to put on the map for autumn/winter 2015 (he’s the reason you have one, or are soon to, in your wardrobe).
The house’s signature red and green was used to strong effect, as were its GGs that featured on backless shoes – in fact the accessories offering, what with its brooches and pearl-punched shoes, shimmering shades and more – was a magpie’s dream, expensive vintage. Everyone will want a piece of it – once it becomes too hot to wear their fuzzy Gucci slippers from last season, of course (there were a lot of these gracing the front row).
The show notes described a “treasure chest of aesthetic references”, which was entirely apt. It was a continuation of that studious Seventies sensibility, this time overlaid with a disco effect and the beret proves still to be the Gucci girl’s best friend. The Alessandro effect looks set to stay.
Big sleeves and high necks, there was an Edwardian feel to the Fendi collection – even slouchy bombers getting a historical and voluminous revamp with billowing leg-of-mutton sleeve action.
It opened in blocks of colour – red, coral, white, and moved on through to teal and black: a Fendi rainbow proving to best show off all the tactility going on here. Pockets and brace details were thickly stitched into place or appeared stapled (but not); cut-outs flashed flesh so that an expanse of back was revealed behind or at the waist; pieces seemed industrially patched together; thick suede latticework for neat boxy jackets; gleaming petals punctuating bodices; there was a distinct historical feel and an armour quality to the pieces. Those flowers weren’t the traditionally pretty variety – their stems had stealth.
But this toughness, this edge, was counterbalanced by those billowing blouses and gowns that invited a breeze to pass on through them. And as always at a Fendi show, the eye is on the lookout for new-season accessories. Here boxy bags held in the hand with just a hint of a strap to slip your fingers through to keep them close at all times – for, let’s face it, you never really want to let a Fendi bag out of your sight.
THE ballet pump – a starlet classic which we all have at the back of our wardrobes – hasn’t had an easy ride over the past few years. Deemed polite to the point of prissy, the staple shoe developed a bad rep after the high street was flooded with every variation imaginable a decade ago… the patent, gingham or leg-toning adaptations during the Noughties.
Now is the time to switch your attitude to the humble ballet slipper. The simplest of all-day, everyday shoes has made a comeback thanks to Celine: Phoebe Philo showed a stretchy, pliable style on the spring/summer 2015 catwalk. The key to the new-look ballet pump is an elegant almond-shaped toe (rather than round) – try Lanvin, A.P.C or French Sole. Pick a punchy red or tan, matte leather – extra marks go for authentic balletic details such as ribbon ties or blush silk, which works particularly well with suiting, where a box-fresh white trainer now feels a little obvious.
Over on the red carpet, the ballet shoe is elbowing the lace-up stiletto out of the limelight: Karlie Kloss made a very convincing case for the uber-classic Chanel pump at the Tribeca Film Festival last week, pairing hers with a little tweed dress. They look chic, in a sprightly sort-of way, don’t they?
Maybe heels are simply feeling like too much hard work, or post-normcore there’s enough irony to dressing safe to make it appealing now. Either way, the modest ballet pump feels refreshingly feminine for summer 2015 – which is something we shouldn’t be afraid of.