As we have already noted, Milan Fashion Week got off to a serious start this week with cerebral collections from Fendi, Gucci, and Prada. But not everything has to make you think. Sometimes the collections are just fun to watch, like reality television shows in which fashion is the star. Designers here are in the midst of transforming the reputation of their city back into a world-class capital, and that is happening thanks to a growing roster of new and adventurous labels combined with a sense of revitalized energy at the established ones.
Marco de Vincenzo is one of the new guard, and his work is as fascinating and mature as even the grown up designers like Donatella Versace, who, by the way, had a powerful show that set a new look for the house while mining its glamorous heyday. But more on that in moment.
The looks have been coming fast and furious this Fashion Week, so scattered and independent of one another that watching the shows almost feels like flipping through the channels on television. If there has been one common denominator, it’s Wes Anderson, whose Royal Tenenbaums has been a stylistic reference for the collections of Bally, Etro, and Gucci, not to mention the Lacoste show back in New York. Something’s just in the air. So get out your tennis headbands and granny’s fur coats and take a tour through our fashion TV guide to the fall collections, thus far:
Versace (pictured, above): On Cinemax After Dark tonight, there was more than a hint of Richard Avedon’s groundbreaking 1990s advertising campaigns for Versace in Donatella Versace’s latest collection that featured sequined dresses embroidered with large letters spelling out the Versace name in a mixed-up logo mania, as if she hit the reset button on a classic this season. Bold green and yellow chubby furs, wild mini-dresses, and thigh-high red patent boots – what else would you expect from Versace than the Red Shoe Diaries?
Moschino (pictured, above left): On the Cartoon Network, it’s a Looney Tunes marathon, in which Sylvester, Daffy Duck, and Bugs Bunny go to to a hip-hop rave party. Worth watching for the soundtrack alone, but the clothes were pretty amusing, too.
Marco de Vincenzo (pictured, above middle): On today’s after-school special, an up-and-coming designer who made his name with precisely pleated rainbow-lurex skirts and fabulously textured coats takes a walk on the wild side, showing a tougher edged girl in hiking boots trimmed with velvet braids. She looks dangerous in a laser-cut camel suit woven with ribbons that dangle darkly from her skirt. “I love decoration,” says de Vincenzo. “But also balance. It’s easy to do too much.”
Giamba (pictured, above right): A double-header on a similar track – Giambattista Valli creates sweet, sweet dresses in micro floral prints and acid-light colors for his newest, younger-skewing collection, only to cover them with leather harnesses. Is his customer naughty or nice? Or is she going to wind up on 16 and Pregnant?
Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini (pictured, above left): On the History Channel, Serafini, Philosophy’s new designer, making his ready-to-wear debut, opting for prairie dresses and knit capes with an old-timey feel. Particularly charming are his separates with tomboy-appeal, like high-waisted tweed trousers worn with a delicately ruffled blue shirt.
Bally (pictured, above middle): On Showtime on Demand, it’s a Wes Anderson marathon, featuring great new ready-to-wear with a 1960s vibe, including, rather unbelievably, a pair of crocodile pants. More probable for daywear were the Tenenbaum inspired looks, including some delightful tennis headbands à la Richie Tenenbaum, worn with a practical yellow blazer and white tunic over brown trousers.
Max Mara (pictured, above left): On the Biography Channel, the designers at Max Mara have uncovered a trove of early pictures of Marilyn Monroe, channeling the actress in her most vulnerable period through the form of outerwear. That’s right, multiple variations of deliciously cozy cocoon coats, which the models wrapped around themselves as cover-ups, as if they had just dashed out of the frigid ocean from a skinny dip. Gigi Hadid, the reality TV star turned model-du-moment, made a convincing Norma Jean, with her mouth posed in a wide-open pout as she made her way down the runway.
Stay tuned for what happens next.