The new, meanwhile, proliferates in the gap (or is it the clash?) between tradition and innovation.
Maybe it’s because we’ll soon be traveling in space or living on Mars, but "galactic" is the mantra du moment. The concept
reached a (very literal) peak at Dolce & Gabbana, where white- and silver-clad astronauts paraded down the catwalk in full Space Odyssey regalia — humongous jumpsuits and bubble helmets — to, predictably, Richard Strauss’
Also Sprach Zarathustra. Elsewhere, the pervasive space-age trip meant an abundance of metallics and a stress on streamlined forms. Dolce & Gabbana’s
lean, glittery suits, gilt blousons, and shiny lace-ups are more likely to translate into a real-life style option than those
flashy all-in-ones. The same goes for the sterling silver jeans and brogues over at Neil Barrett— not to mention Costume National‘s opaque silver parkas and Jil Sander‘s shield-like Lurex jumpers.
Alexander McQueen and Miuccia Prada, two self-willed (if extremely different) creators, both opted for a challenging fusion of futurism and atavism, by marrying
luxurious naturals like taffetas with stiff synthetics like scuba neoprene into angularly overblown tailoring. The Brit wunderkind
drew the slightly frightening image of a cartoon superhero — complete with pagoda-shouldered ’40s suits, plasticized hairdos,
and silver eyes — that relentlessly morphed from Max Headroom to menacing warlock. Miuccia Prada’s egg-shaped coats, day-glo
fuzzy tunics, and stirrup pants suggested an offbeat mix of space cadet, ’60s skier, and comic-strip caveman. The fabrics
were really outstanding; mirroring the collection’s double-faced nature, they often fused two different materials by way of
The ongoing drive towards full-blown minimalism continues. Even Donatella Versace reduced her designs to the bare essentials and her palette to monastic black and white, while keeping up the übermensch ante.
Not far off, Calvin Klein‘s Italo Zucchelli gave a sexy techno twist to collarless jackets and crisp suits devoid of fussy extra details, delivering
a fab plastic-encased lamb jacket in the process. During his turn, supreme purist Raf Simons for Jil Sander was all for intarsia
and subtle grids that need to be appreciated up close, and Marni‘s boxy coats and cashmere long johns were a similar ode to subdued, modern classicism.
A ubiquitous stress on androgyny made staid gender borders look like a thing of the past. At Burberry Prorsum, Chris Bailey delicately trashed militaristic tailoring with fey, lieutenant-gone-AWOL insouciance. Sultry Jagger-esque memories
surfaced at Haute, and Jim Morrison came dancing back from the dead in black and embossed leather at Roberto Cavalli. In a
league of her own, Silvia Fendi put effete beaus in stiff, bracelet-sleeve coats and blousons that looked like something taken
out of a stylish mother’s wardrobe from the ’60s — Balenciaga, anyone? Past the shock, what was left was an assured study
in new volumes that is sure to fuel a major trend.
Meanwhile, stiff formality is having a comeback, as celebrated in the Savile Row exhibition that opened with a strictly black-tie ball in Florence during Pitti. No collection, from Daks to Giorgio Armani to Emporio, looked complete without a tuxedo or ten; at D&G the black-tie repertoire even migrated to day and sporty pieces. The small-shouldered, three-piece suits over at Bottega Veneta, masterpieces in understated luxury, were Tomas Maier’s homage to the Italian equivalent of Savile Row — Neapolitan tailoring
— while the hyperclassic, superbly chic Valentino collection had everything that makes a true gentleman shiver with delight.
Finally, since it was winter after all, snowy fantasies surfaced erratically, regardless of global warming. A catchy Happy
Mountain flavor exuded from Luca Missoni‘s kaleidoscopic patchwork jumpers and soft knitted suits; Alpine chic melted into ’60s gigolo memories at Gucci; and jolly puffas punctuated Dsquared2‘s surprisingly sinister collection.
Contrast, it seems, is really the essence of modern masculinity.
Dolce & Gabbana a/w ’07-’08
Neil Barrett a/w ’07-’08
Prada a/w ’07-’08
Calvin Klein a/w ’07-’08
Marni a/w ’07-’08
Bottega Veneta a/w ’07-’08
DSquared2 a/w ’07-’08