Last week the men’s shows in Milan showcased the collections for spring 2013. The sweltering July temperatures ensured that buyers and editors were in the mood for refreshing summer fashion. Some houses played it safe, presenting designs that exemplified the company in the most familiar of ways, while others pushed the envelope, imposing a level of futurism that menswear may never fully accept. Then there were those—like the five selected below—that hit it just right, balancing essential brand elements with forward-thinking innovation.
Etro: The most inspired collection thematically, referencing India and the Middle East—complete with turbans, mandarin collars and harem pants.
Bottega Veneta: Beautiful styles conjuring up images of the Southwest, with moccasins and ’60s-style suede tunics. Big, beautiful bags—what Bottega does best—also made their way down the runway.
Gucci (pictured): We know that Gucci’s Frida Giannini loves a ’70s reference, but this collection seemed a more refined riff on that theme, including elegant silk prints and perfectly proportioned jackets.
Missoni: The house of Missoni offered more Eastern-inspired looks: Moroccan feeling pieces played more with tonal hues than a mishmash of colors. The result was both fresh and soothing.
Burberry: The general rule of thumb is that three times makes a trend, so with metallics dominating the runway at Versace, Roberto Cavalli and Burberry, we knew they were on to something. Though quite a bit of shine came down Christopher Bailey’s runway, he was also clever enough to hide the glitter behind the lapel of a classic trench for a more wearable version of the trend.
Something strange happened during New York Fashion Week—at the presentation of Norma Kamali’s spring 2012 collection this past September, the industry’s most frozen-faced elite looked on, and (crack) smiled. Having been given 3-D glasses at the door—in Kamali’s iconic cat-eye shape, of course—editors marveled at the giant projection of a 3-D fashion show, featuring her “dancehall girls” shimmying and twirling right off the screen to the sultry singing of Imelda May. The result was pure delight, the energy in the room almost ebullient. People were having (gasp) fun at a fashion show.
Kamali, who says she has “always felt like an outsider” and therefore feels “comfortable on that edge,” gave up traditional runway shows long ago: “I really felt that there are so many new ways to tell a story,” she explains. “Not this sour girl walking down the runway looking very unlike anybody that you would ever want to be—whether they’re beautiful or not—it’s just uncomfortable how unnecessary it seems when you look at it.” Instead, she opts for mini fashion films, which the very democratic designer makes available online. The 3-D campaign is no exception, Kamali fans can receive free glasses here, as well as shop in 3-D on her website. Before buying a dress, you can see the way it moves right before your nose, without leaving the comfort of your chair.
With women's Fashion Weeks wrapping up around the globe, these cocktail conversation talking points will take you all the way to Spring 2012.
New York: Jason Wu showed a collection that perfectly exemplifies his place as a designer who understands the romantic silhouettes women want to wear— à la Oscar or Carolina—but amps them up with a youthful kick. Case in point: floor-sweeping gowns in highlighter hues.
Milan: Prada thrilled us again with what are sure to be the season's most coveted accessories. Shoes and bags are embellished with one of Miuccia's inspirations for the collection—vintage muscle cars—such that clutches display fenders and stiletto heels are bursting into flames.
Paris: Alber Elbaz created the sultriest collection for Lanvin to date, focusing on silky separates and strong shoulders. Dresses coiled with sequined snakes provoke a question: Had Eve slipped on Lanvin after the Fall, would it all have been worth it?
Lately it seems as though America is experiencing a certain nostalgia for the nineties. And capitalizing on this mood is Giorgio Armani, who this month opened an exhibition of glossy photographs called “Momenti di Emporio,” a selection of advertising campaigns and fashion shots from Emporio Armani Magazine. Published from 1987–1997 under the creative direction of Rosanna Armani, the experimental publication commissioned fashion photography heavyweights—Michel Comte, Roxanne Lowit and Mario Testino, to name a few—to capture the youthful exuberance and sexually charged ease of the brand. In honor of this perfectly preserved moment in fashion history, Armani is releasing Emporio Armani Remix, a capsule collection of both men’s and women’s clothing inspired by these images. The exhibition and collection will be on view and for sale this month at the Fifth Avenue flagship location in New York, as well as the newly renovated San Francisco store. 717 Fifth Ave., New York; 278 Post St.; San Francisco; emporioarmani.com.
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