With the success of New York and London’s spring/summer ’10 collections behind and the growing anticipation before Paris, all eyes were on Milan Fashion Week. Italian big guns now must set out to demonstrate why the country’s reputation as fashion epicenter still holds strong.
Recent health problems aside, Giorgio Armani is still going strong at 75. Trousers were the name of the game in his collection—predominantly in silk, hung on the waist and draped beautifully to the ankle with a cuff to show off a flash of skin. Blazers in houndstooth or silk were both long and business like, and cropped for a more casual appearance. Layered over paneled tops, everything felt luxurious, dressy. Giving knees a break he did show some dresses and skirts—puffball organza creations perfect for an up market prom. Colors were strong but never flashy in navy, teal, aquamarine, black and the odd show of pink, marking a reinforcement of classic Armani dressing.
Prada has always set the standard when it comes to innovation and creativity, and s/s ’10 was no exception. The collection felt like Miuccia’s take on a summer of the future: bleak, dystopian, almost robotic. Various shades of gray and black were seen on structured jackets, shorts and dresses tailored, but remained unfinished at the edges. Cold, hard and armor-like, this certainly wasn’t the poetic, dreamy s/s ’10 we’ve seen elsewhere. The collection certainly wasn’t devoid of wit, however, as models with roughly bunched hair and laminate-looking lips were poised with references to seaside vacations in realistic palm tree prints and beach scenes printed on jackets and dresses. This contrast brought a touch of quirkiness, but felt surreal in the context of the collection.
Raf Simons presented a Jil Sander collection to remember, and for many this was the show of the season. Fashion commentators are looking to be challenged and provoked, eager to be given something to think about, and Mr. Simons efforts went down a storm. The collection succeeded in pulling off the daring feat of combining the wearable with the conceptual. Designs paired the familiar with the unfamiliar—blazers, suits, cinched waists and dresses were offset by small touches and tweaks that elevated this above the norm. From rips to transparent panels, tassels, shredded edges, see-through knits and off beat structural elements, there was so much to take in and yet it never felt over the top.
Ever-likable Marni, meanwhile, offered a collection that was fresh, light-hearted, pretty and tomboyish. It’s easy to see why this instantly recognizable aesthetic has evolved and yet essentially stayed the same. There were plenty of ethnic elements, layering, whimsical accessories, clashing pattern, soft draping, knitwear, florals and references to vintage cuts and shapes, but colors were more autumnal than summery in beige, chocolate brown, leaf green, cream and pastel shades of yellow and pink. Key items include loosely tied headscarves, black and white striped humbug leggings, woolen belts and wood heeled sandals.
Fendi took a similarly light touch with Karl Lagerfeld’s featherlike collection, consisting of linen, chiffon, silks, frills, lace edging, ruffles and feathers. Delicate blouses were tucked into shorts and tulip skirts, drawing attention to the waist with belts and overflowing fabric. The collection felt like a youthful take on grandma’s trimmings, as hair gathered in loose buns and Peter Pan collars conjured images of stylish old ladies and glamorous librarians given the Lagerfeld magic touch. It was a s/s collection so ethereal it nearly floated off the catwalk.