White tailoring defined the season’s confident wardrobe for the luxe-inclined, decadent peacock. Continuing with the Visconti-esque designs he offered last season, but adding a slightly ’80s übermensch twist to the action, at Gucci John Ray did shapely double-breasted white suits and piano-player tails, placing them on muscular Adonises with slicked-back hair. The similarly inclined Valentino conjured up a heartbreaking Capri scenario through cream shantung tuxedos and seersucker suits in a tasty aquatic palette. Dolce and Gabbana‘s Italian Job was the usual mix of chiseled tailoring and urban ease, with an emphasis on white nightly attire and — yes! — flashy metallic suiting. Meanwhile, Roberto Cavalli went full-tilt Hugh Hefner, complete with immaculate jackets and Playboy Bunnies as ultimate arm candy. Over at Alexander McQueen, pencil-thin, three-piece white suits had a chic schoolboy-ish allure just ready to be messed up. Taking inspiration from William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies, the story of a group of kids who end up on a remote island after a plane crash and reorganize themselves as a tribe, McQueen quickly left the sartorially splendid accurate to dress punkish boogeymen in coq-feather capes and color-blocked bodysuits with matching savage face painting.
Shorts were everywhere, preferably paired with tailored blazers and crisp shirts for the perfect formal/informal combo. Neil Barrett, owner of the sharpest British scissors in town, has been championing the look for a while with his shrunken, athletic tailoring. Barrett introduced the season’s diminutive tuxedo — an abbreviated one-button jacket over narrow Bermudas — and played with notions of day and night dressing throughout, with pleated-front shirts done in faded denim and tiny cummerbunds and skinny bowties as recurring accessories.
Seersucker, gingham, Bermudas, and lots of white had a squeaky-clean, vaguely preppy allure at Jil Sander, a trait that emerged insistently, but never too literally, in other collections. Not far were Fendi‘s well-to-do yachting club beaus in crested navy blue blazers and striped polo shirts. Byblos was a stripy Bigger Splash, and Luca Missoni celebrated the optimistic ’60s — à la West Coast — with kaleidoscopic patterns, bright flowery motifs, and white jeans. Chris Bailey’s romantic take on ’70s eclecticism for Burberry Prorsum was high on brass buttons and dusty prints. The steely Ennio Capasa, on the contrary, wasn’t in good-boy mode at Costume National, where drape jackets, banana quiffs, and studded biker vests reminded of a modern-day teddy boy, tough and dandy-like at the same time.
Oh, the ’80s! From opposite ends of the fashion spectrum, both Donatella Versace and Miuccia Prada paid homage to the decade of unashamed hedonism. La Versace plundered her brother’s archives for garish prints, which she splashed all over shirts that screamed Miami Vice. At Miu Miu, it was square-shouldered gray suits with the sleeves rolled up against a vintage soundtrack of electronic bleeps, while pop prints à la Fiorucci bloomed somewhat unexpectedly on short-sleeved accountant’s shirts at Prada.
Finally, summer’s unavoidable great-escape agenda took the form of Wild Wild West Americana. With toothpicks in mouth and a fiercely sexy stance, the buff beefcakes over at D Squared looked ready for the rodeo in low-rise jeans, dungarees, and jet-trimmed dinner jackets, while Calvin Klein‘s Italo Zucchelli took a rugged trip into the American desert. At the same time, Japanese wunderkind Mihara Yasuhiro mixed cowboys, ’50s rockers, and punky types in his unique fashion shaker, avoiding any predictability. Yasuhiro’s spaced-out Elvis; in inky blue polyester suit and cowboy belt with an LED buckle; was refreshingly out of this world, and showed a fashionably twisted way forward.
Photos: Gucci s/s ’06
Alexander McQueen s/s ’06
Neil Barrett s/s ’06
Versace s/s ’06
Miu Miu s/s ’06
D Squared s/s ’06
Mihara Yasuhiro s/s ’06