Thursday, September 25, 2008

A look back...

So here we are, the end of Milan fashion week. Some might say it's a bit late to start reviewing the S/S 2009 fashion shows. I say I'm right on time for the very best part, Paris.

But before we get to the mecca of it all, a not so brief rundown of Milan thus far....from my p.o.v. of course.


This was the first time, probably ever but I might be wrong, that I loved a Prada collection the moment that I saw it. Even last season's (admittedly genius) perversely prim lace took me a while to warm up to. I just don't like lace, so seeing a body smothered by an overblown guipure was hard to digest for me. But this time something just clicked. Maybe it was because of what was presented. Maybe it was more to my tastes. Or maybe, just maybe, it's because I saw something below the surface without it needing to be explained.

The dominant look was very Belle de Jour to me. Knee length pencil skirts cut high on the waist were paired with cropped jackets that were held closed by little strips of ribbon....well, that was the plan anyway. None of those tops actually concealed very much. Underneath the jackets, or in most cases out for all to see, were bra tops that looked like they were fastened in a hurry but someone who was fumbling with the hooks. That was the beauty of it, the jackets were in complete disarray, the fabrics were completely rumpled and the bras looked like they could fall off at any moment.

The whole look was balanced on shoes that can only be described as something a primitive pinup might have worn. Strips of colored snake perched on a mega high platformed instep paired with little ruffled booties that looked like they came with a baby's layette. Plenty has been said already about the unfortunate toll the shoes took on the models, so I promise not to add to it. Besides, I think the shoes look fabulous. My inner woman would be daring enough to try them out, sans booties of course.

But let your eye run up the model's swan-like necks and you see perfectly lacquered chignons, flawless tawny makeup and delicate little earrings.

I love the fact that even though their clothes seem to have gone from elegant and simple to rumpled and slutty, their hair and makeup still looks flawless. You have to wonder what they were doing to end up that way...

Jil Sander

Ever since last years gorgeous foray into color, transparency and airiness, Raf Simons of Jil Sander has been something of a favorite. This season is no exception. For Spring 2009 Simons was inspired by the work of Man Ray, the 20's and African tribalism. The image that summed up these inspirations was projected on the wall before the show began.

Man Ray's "Noir et Blanche" ca. 1926
image from

It was an amazing collection to see. The inspiration made itself known literally in the deep, earthy color palette and silky flapper fringe hanging in swags down the back of a mini dress or draped from shoulder to knee to make up the dress itself, which was worn over a thinly knit catsuit. But nothing veered too far into costume or historicism. Instead the fringe was used to enhance the body, hanging in such a way as to expose the curves underneath and showing every move the models made as they walked.

This being Jil Sander, there was plenty of sharp tailoring on display. The jackets were cut to the hip, boxy as per usual, but the masculinity was tempered by the fabrics, which gave some of the jackets a louche drapeyness. This season, Simon's version of the Jil Sander suit replaced drainpipe trousers with either shorts or tailored miniskirts. It had a very garcon sort of appeal, very much in the spirit of the gender bending avant garde woman that inhabited the smoky cabarets and artistic cirles of Paris in the 20's. Overall the collection exuded a sensuality that Simons has never captured before, and which is completely foreign to the Sander label. There was an eroticism in the waythe fringes parted to expose skin. More than that this was Jil Sander gone glam, summed up best in the incredible earrings that were designed in collaboration with Italian jewelers Damiani. Metal tusks speared through the earlobe with diamonds or pearls attatched to either end. Like the collection itself, they were a great blend of modernity and savagery.


The most disastrous show of the week, as far as I'm concerned, was Gucci. It's rare at this point that I ever have anything positive to say about Frida Giannini's collections, and this season is no exception. We all know by now that we're in some hard financial times, and I'd actually be willing to give Frida some leeway if I felt that she was battening down the hatches for what will likely be a fairly safe season due to sheer necessity. But this isn't the first time that she's picked up the crumbs of trends that other designers have devoured and simply tszujed them a little bit. It's not as if you can't find the same tropical printed caftans, safari-esque cargo pieces and colorful chiffon maxi dresses at stores ranging from Zara, Topshop or H&M for the same price as the sales tax on one of the Gucci items, and to be completely honest, they're just as nice.

Besides, chiffon can only be so soft, satin so smooth and colors so rich before you have to wonder exactly what else comes with that $2,000 price tag? At least back when Tom Ford was designing and you spent a month's rent on a pencil skirt, it made your rear end look amazing and you were getting an insatiable, if imaginary, sex life with it....the attitude that skirt might give you was like a fabulous free gift with purchase.

Sadly now the only gift you get is the satisfaction of knowing that you can afford to overpay for your fashion, but is that really luxury? By now I think it's fair to say that Giannini is a one trick pony, and when the trick isn't even that impressive to begin with it's easy to lose patience. I've started wondering, would anyone really care if Gucci just abruptly stopped showing during fashion week? Would it leave a gaping hole in the fashion calendar? I have my doubts because, quite frankly, Gucci just doesn't matter like it used to.

all fashion show images from


nele said...

Hello, just discovered your blog and I really love your style of writing, especially the Gucci review its exactly what I thought about it :D Kepp up the good work !

Anonymous said...

hi!! I just found your blog as well. It is a treat to get to read your full thoughts on things, expanded through your blog. You're the best... I always look forward to your posts in D&C especially and now will check your blog also ^_^