milan fashion week: bottega veneta

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it’s sharing time!  i’ve never been a particular fan of bottega veneta.  okay, that’s an overstatement.  generally, i’m so bored with the prettyprettypretty collections i kind of sigh when tomas maier designs another one & i know i should really look at it.  it’s not that his clothes aren’t lovely, it’s just that they would be much more exciting to me if i saw a woman so attired strutting down a street somewhere looking impeccable than on a runway where i like drama.

the latest collection shook things us, however, making even cynical me take interested notice.  instead of making the same bunch of ‘nice’ clothes that classier, richer ladies than anyone i know where to work, to lunch, or some benefit, he split lines between several options.

of course, the executives & trustees are still covered, with smart suits and breathtaking evening gowns, but he added a dose of punk-rock to the whole thing.  many of the girls sported metallic, jewel-toned heels or bags, while other outfits were toughened with the additions of black gloves or leather.

there were also the strangely not-quite-fitting heidi style dresses, with lace-up frontspieces and little cap sleeves or calico prints.  when he styled one of these dresses in black & metallic green, it nearly verged into a goth moment.  nevertheless, these were particular standouts to me, a wink to a customer looking for a more fun-loving moment than a champagne-drinking fundraiser.

it was refreshing to see a truly skilled designer expanding beyond the girls he has long loved & dressed, perhaps suggesting to them the exploration looks a little less stilted than all those past full-skirted, mid-calf dresses of the past.

additionally, and as a final thought, he gave us a few nods to particular directions without any over the top screaming, “THIS IS MY THEME!!!!” as many seem prone to of late.  a little subtlety goes far.


milan fashion week: marni

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marni’s shows have a way of making just plain weird looks palatable.  and, strange as they all look together, broken down, it seems to make even less sense.

for example, this season, we were shown some bermuda-short combinations which reminded me of outfits my great grandmother used to wear with those thick, black-soled shoes.  at age 90.  however, stare as i might at them, trying to reinvision them in a different scenario, nothing seemed to work.  perhaps this is the true art of marni; to capture a customer whole.

what might more likely translate to the everyday from the travelling carnival that is high fashion are the color combinations.  oxblood, which we have already seen in new york, was paired with teals, tans, and dark browns.  these are colors, which, for the most part, are much more universally flattering than recent “it” colors, such as the mimosa yellow-orange.

marni’s looks tend to suggest a more sophisticated, slightly older customer than many of the labial glimpse-inducing labels we have seen of late.  she tends to hide more unflattering bits under several layers of quirky, generously-cut pieces.  however, this season i’m wondering if we will see a newer, younger girl join the ranks of resident fans at marni.

with prada also having a few granny-esque moments, i’m wondering if the tongue-in-cheek, old-is-new thing will take on.  we have prints reminiscent of ’70s wallpaper, color schemes recalling the cabinetry, little librarian glasses, and sculpted updos.  youth are ever on the prowl for something to make them appear both silly & weary of all the drama they have to endure.  this could be just the thing.

milan fashion week: emilio pucci

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somewhere in the mine that is the fall 2010 season, there is a seventies vein running through.  it may not be the strongest trend among the bunch, but several designers have made references to it, and of course, it inspired the beloved nineties grunge we have seen so much of.

peter dundas of emilio pucci gave us sexy, rockin’ girls with perfectly mussed hair who slam drinks backstage between pulls from clove cigarettes held between chipped-polish fingernails.

there were dripping feathery jackets and fringy dresses, lace side-panels, high-waisted bell bottoms, and more of the crotch-skimming minidresses so frequently seen for the spring season.  these were slightly slovenly girls, alluring not just for the flashes of skin, but for the stoney ‘i don’t care’ attitude, reminding us of the decade of burgeoning sexual freedom.

doubtless, this will appeal to many.  there are a whole host of women with no intentions of ever getting off the “check out my ass” bus, but this presents a differently-themed decade to reveal themselves with as we slip away from the eighties.  you already know which side of the sexy camp you are on.  those who like it, looove it.  and this.  and there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, for they are gorgeous clothes.

to the reinvigoration end, peter dundas has done well, bringing whiskey, cigarettes, & youth to a table too long covered by tea sets & pucci’s aging fans, or no one at all.  but if this show feels too literal, are we being minutely picky?

i’m sure a lot of people will throw potatoes at me for trying to advance the idea that right now sexy is a little boring.  but sometimes it just feels like the predictable next step to take in appealing to a younger customer, and it would be interesting to see the challenge go somewhere unchartered.  panty flashes have lost their shock value.

milan fashion week: moschino

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moschino’s show was not dissimilar to blumarine’s in spectacle, if not in target customer.  in the-sober-fall-feeling-be-damned effort, girls with enormous cowboy hats, black sunglasses, and hoop earrings strutted out befitted in swathes of ruffles, lavish gold detailing, and eighties glam.

there were almost no pieces to speak to the more conservative customer, with the safest bets perhaps the suits which spoke of the loudest moments in chanel’s history.  mostly, though, it was, while not for a sexy girl, for one who likes to be noticed all the same.  she is likely standing near the bar in some cocktail lounge, speaking in loud & brassy tones about all her afternoon exploits, for the benefit & edification of everyone in the place as much as for her own party.

unfortunately, this collection felt inappropriate for the time & place.  as we are moving forward into a new decade, it seems time to leave the eighties behind and all the ostentatiousness that entails.  darker colors and grunge-era themes seem more appropriate than another revisitation of ‘dynasty’.

basically, i think most fashionies can agree they are feeling a little weary of showy.  we’ve had seasons (the one we are in now in particular) of ‘if you’ve got it, flaunt it’-feel with regards to both body and luxury goods.  while moschino’s show may not have been about t&a, no one is in the mood to see a gumball-sized diamond ring right now.

some have asserted that the pieces may break down better once they are in a shop, that they will be easier to digest in solitary bites.  perhaps this is true.  but all of this was simply too much, too late.

milan fashion week: jil sander

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raf simons allegedly took his inspiration for the fall 2010 collection from the lara croft: tomb raider movie.  that sounds all well & sexy & good, like we’d be getting something with a lot of straps & leather.  but of course, this is jil sander after all, and any ideas must first be looked at through the distillation filters of both minimalism and appropriate workwear for the professional woman.

thus, we rarely got anything full-on risky, and the black body suit that did appear on the runway was remarkably tamely devoid of any of the character’s trademark allure.  mostly, there were pants-or skirt-suits, the stranger items being the shorts-suits.  these were a boldface didn’t work.  while it’s nearly impossible to imagine women trotting to work in them, neither were they a particularly appetizing item for the boudoir-supplemental list.  (we’ve already seen plenty of good choices there.)

so, where does that leave us?  flat black boots and several nicely prim dresses, if somewhat stiff, were perhaps the most standout items.  (the piece on sigrid agren, in the top picture was divine) and of course, the suit prints, which must be addressed. some critics are comparing these to the nineties and/or grunge period, with their plaid patterns that conjure up the ubiquitous flannel jackets lying on everyone’s bedroom floor or backseat in those days. (it also reminds me of the clueless costume prints)

unfortunately and surprisingly, in simons hands, what has been so fascinating a period when revisited by other designers, turns clunky.  it looks old, like a time not yet ready to emerge from the archives.

scrutinizing it, i can’t help but view this collection a bit of a hot mess.  the more provocative looks feel mundane, while even the more ‘classic’ pieces, the pieces meant to be chicly modern have an air of those polyester wastrel clothes one finds in a vintage shop…you know, the place where you go with your mom & she tells you that all these clothes were incredibly cheap back in the day, only now they’ve cranked the price up ‘cause they’re ‘trendy’.  and you’re, like, ‘this looks scratchy & uncomfortable.  no wonder it’s in such good shape.  no one wanted to wear it.’

basically, it seems the designer was reaching.  the inspiration is varied, as is the quality, with the look drifting in the wind. and i’m left feeling, for the first time since this designer has taken over, jil sander looks outdated.

jourdan dunn may be through with fashion month

though, yes, she is on the young-and-skinny side, one pork taco loves jourdan dunn.  she has been one of the most breakout models of the past few years, and was important enough for jpg to put her on the runway pregnant.

unfortunately, jourdan’s boyfriend was recently arrested and sentanced to several years in jail.  this almost certainly suggests she won’t finish out fashion month, after having just returned to the runway in london.

although there is no clear indication jourdan herself has done anything wrong, models with drug associations usually have to pay a certain price before returning to their former glory.  therefore, we unfortunately may not be seeing her for a while.

in the meantime, until she returns, she will be missed!  it seems like a good opportunity to revisit some of our favorite jourdan moments.

milan fashion week: alberta ferretti

(images via ny mag)

when i attended fashion school, though men were a much rarer creature, it was particularly interesting to have a class with them in which, week after week, we presented the sketches for clothing groups we had created.  without fail, the genders addressed attiring women in completely different fashion.

for some reason, guys are stuck on that high-waisted boyshort that pervaded the s/s 2010 runways.  not that there wasn’t a female or two into it, but they were much more likely to go…’um.  that basically showcases a problem area for 80% of women.’

alberta ferretti is a classic example of what i would consider a women’s designer.  she makes enchanting, delicate clothing which flatters the female body, and which, they in turn, want to wear.  it’s so simple, it can be easy to forget her in the flashbulb-light of the more showy designers.  perhaps this is why she is so underappreciated.

her fall 2010 collection was a study in muted tones of gray, pearl, and peach, with enough black pieces to remind us this isn’t for spring.  she worked with silky, translucent chiffons, and matte-shiny satins for evening gowns.  crystal embellishments were lushly restrained, adding texture along a line or sleeve of a garment, or sometimes around a neck.

as a reminder that the oscars are fast approaching (and just in time for the attendees and anna wintour’s short trip to see it), she closed her show with a host of phenomenal red-carpet gowns.  these were the kind of amazing fare that leave both bitchy fashion types (like me) and bitchy unfashionable critic types (you know who you are) both happily sated.

though she isn’t a ‘new’ designer, i firmly believe alberta ferretti is one to watch.  her talent and consistency in making the kind of quality, gorgeous clothes women need more of in their lives virtually guarantee she has yet to see her day.

milan fashion week: versace

(images via ny mag)

versace’s girl, like, prada’s, has been looking through her photo albums of yesteryear.  perhaps this is due to the financial struggles the family & company has recently endured, but today we are reminded of the high life when everything seemed possible.

working with a palette of many dark blues & blacks, donatella gave us a space age-y girl who showed signature flashes of skin unexpectedly with hip cutouts and asymmetrical hemlines.  though we didn’t see those bright & clashing prints which skyrocketed the label to fame, we did get plenty of flash in the form of foil-y metallic minidresses and plenty of leather pants.

perhaps as a nod towards those cautious about wading into the versace pool of excess, donatella gave us mainly monochromatic dresses, including several breathtaking white pieces, many of which appeared rather innocently (in versace terms) from the front view, but put the flesh on display as the girls walked away.

on a personal note, i’ve long loved versace’s beautiful, pajama-soft clothes and ability to make a variety of women look sexy & amazing in them.  thus, with all the discussions of ‘boobs are in’ or whatever such nonsense (yes, and will teeth be ‘in’ another season?), what better place to showcase the ‘girls’ than on a versace runway?

this show wasn’t a failure by any means; it gave us the clothes we know and love.  but houses stay in power not by resting on laurels, but consistently moving forward & challenging themselves.  the darker colors show a step towards something new, while perhaps we could have lived without so many miniskirts.

before he died, gianni used to depend on donatella to show him the future of fashion, what was up-and-coming.  and she did, helping to create the iconic brand we love today.  shows aren’t just about clothes, they’re about developing a mood for the future, and it’s hard not to feel she’s losing her edge a bit when the runway continues to feature 15-year-old stick figures.