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2017 S/S Milan Fashion Week,Milan Fashion Week conference, spring and summer fashion week, Fashion Week

Milan Fashion Week

Here a collection of Milan Fashion Week, sharing from around the world performing shows a well-known fashion brands.
fashion conference information! Different fashion brand, brings you a different design inspiration!

YEARS:  2017 -  2016 -  2015 -  2014 -  2013 -  2012 -  2011 -  2010 -  2009 -  2008 -  2007 -  Other
MILANJil Sander Fall 2015 Ready-to-WearUPDATE ON: 2015-04-09   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Jil Sander Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear

Frédéric Sanchez's soundtrack—a blurry, impressionistic, almost atonal mesh of Nico's and Chet Baker's versions of "My Funny Valentine"—suggested chaos. But the set was a precisely ordered group of colored pillars, like a geometric Stonehenge. Rodolfo Paglialunga imagined his new collection for Jil Sander forming somewhere between the chaos and the precision. The designer would pluck order from disorder.

It's all any artist tries to do, but Paglialunga's challenge was a little more pointy, given the patchiness of his efforts to date. Still, he made huge strides with this collection. It won't set Planet Fashion alight, but it registered as wearable, real-world, and properly proportioned. Credit the designer's precision for that coup. Long coats and matching pants made a new kind of elegantly elongated suit. A bone-toned leather coat was a standout. The lines that traced a navy blue coat suggested something military, the most precise association of all. And even when Paglialunga started to mess with precision, he didn't lose that line; it simply went diagonal. Shaved black mink was diagonally pieced for a coat. Dark green pony got the same treatment in a skirt.

Coatdresses were shadow-striped or crisscrossed with tape, always maximizing the line. You could follow the footwear for a subtext. One look featured correspondents paired with a pencil skirt and a full-sleeved knit top. Joan Crawford? That, at least, underscored Paglialunga's disdain when he dismissed the ongoing debate about the dialogue between feminine and masculine in Jil Sander's women's collection as "banal." If he could silence that debate, he'd definitely be able to put his own thumbprint on the label. So he showed a lovely, simple slipdress, and he closed the show with Hedvig Palm in a blush-toned coat that was forceful in line but indubitably womanly. Paglialunga is finding his feet.

BRANDJIL SANDER  |  JIL SANDER OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.JILSANDER.COM

MILANRoberto Cavalli Fall 2015 Ready-to-WearUPDATE ON: 2015-04-09   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Roberto Cavalli Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear

Roberto Cavalli's Ming-vase dress from Fall 2005—the one made famous by Victoria Beckham—is apparently part of the Met Museum Costume Institute's big summer show, China: Through the Looking Glass. That was enough to make Cavalli look East for his latest collection. But there was more. In the Mood for Love, to be precise. The windowpane-checked cheongsam worn by Maggie Cheung in Wong Kar-Wai's modern classic sparked a visible train of thought for the designer. The check was duplicated in white string embroidery on micro-sequined evening dresses, in the grid of white paillettes that nestled in a fur jacket, in the pattern formed by silk fringed to look like fur.

Then it was just a question of decorative detail: metal pagoda buttons, heavily beaded floral motifs from the Ming dynasty, sinuous opium-garden embroideries mounted on a faded tiger print, the gold fringing on a jade gilet, the abundant silk fringing that swept the floor in the finale. And the models walked under huge neon reproductions of traditional Chinese lanterns.

But this was potentially the collection that would seal the deal for a sale of the Cavalli company, so there were the signatures that underscored the brand identity, most obvious in the artisanal handwork but also inescapable in the more animal-based effects, like ocelot-printed pony skin, and in the tawny temptress vibe of evening dresses that floated in a cloud of sunray-pleated dégradé chiffon. Cavalli is lucky in that he is his own cliché. Judge him on his own terms, and this collection was a success. Widen the frame of reference, and you get the impression that something has to change.

BRANDROBERTO CAVALLI  |  ROBERTO CAVALLI OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.ROBERTOCAVALLI.COM

MILANSportmax Fall 2015 Ready-to-WearUPDATE ON: 2015-04-08   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Sportmax Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear

A crisp gust of chilly winter wind swept the Sportmax catwalk, according to the press notes. Not that the models were particularly covered up—their legs were often bare, which made for a contrast with the massive rawhide wedges they wore throughout. Windswept meant instead that the sculptural coats and skirts, humungous jumpers, and pragmatic suits were coarse, grainy, and decidedly protective, all firm volumes and waists nipped with a knotted belt.

The preoccupation with the organic has been going on for quite a while in fashion, so this could hardly be big news. Sportmax, admittedly, has been at the forefront of the trend from the beginning. This collection reaffirmed an interest in raw and textured surfaces, with a stress on knitwear. It was all about a charming coziness and a certain ease: streamlined and well edited.

The label seems to have finally found its niche in the contemporary fashion landscape: It sits alongside the purists, focusing on shape and texture in place of frilly, useless decoration. The designers are Céline alumni, at times too evidently so. Yet they also own a peculiar spirit—young, dynamic, unfussy. This collection was not a major departure for Sportmax, but it was certainly a high point.

BRANDSPORTMAX  |  SPORTMAX OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.SPORTMAX.IT

MILANBlumarine Fall 2015 Ready-to-WearUPDATE ON: 2015-04-08   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Blumarine Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear

The Blumarine world has been in transition of late. Once, it was all about frills, girliness, and a sensual yet traditional take on romanticism. Now, it's sharp and sexy. Yet it still manages to maintain a soft touch, a sprinkle of twisted innocence, which is quite an accomplishment.

Even in a slinky chain-mail dress and high-heel patent ankle boots, the Blumarine woman still looks somehow delicate, albeit fierce. After all, Anna Molinari is known as the queen of roses, a title she still deserves. There were plenty of roses in the collection she presented today—turned into silver brocade, morphed into wildly tactile fil coupe motifs. They felt fresh: In a season of fashionable debates around the real and the fake, the natural and the man-made, they looked positively synthetic, in a disco and escapist kind of way. Hemlines were decidedly short, cuts were graphic, and glitz was quite a preoccupation.

The long coats and cozy oversize mink cardigans balanced the abundance of dresses that made the collection a bit monotonous. Backstage, the contagiously ebullient Mrs. Molinari talked about "a sophisticated traveler," which explained the protective coats and outsize duffel bags. She also name-dropped Warhol superstar Baby Jane Holzer: Think sass and class. All in all, it was a convincing outing for Blumarine. Next time more variety would be welcome.

BRANDBLUMARINE  |  BLUMARINE OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.BLUMARINE.COM

MILANPrada Fall 2015 Ready-to-WearUPDATE ON: 2015-04-08   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Prada Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear

Pale green and pale pink drinks, pale green and pale pink canapés, pale green and pale pink walls…you got the memo before the first look hit the catwalk. After a men's show that was black as black, Prada went pastel for Fall. "Sweet…," said Miuccia, "but violent. I wanted impact. How can you be strong with pastels?" The answer was to drench them in irony.

She had a couple of working titles for her new collection. "Softer pop" was self-explanatory, a riff on the color palette. But "variation on beauty" touched on a longtime fascination of Miuccia's: the relationship between the real and the fake. Is beauty created by genetic modification or surgical intervention any less "real" than natural beauty? This show set out to address that issue from both ends of the spectrum.

Some of the most appealing items in the collection were cut from ostrich, but equally, a molecular print that harked back to Prada's good-/bad-taste glory days was actually an image of genetically modified ostrich. Tweeds came woven and printed. Music from Walt Disney's Fantasia played, as a reminder that images of extreme beauty can spring from absolute artifice. In fact, there was something a bit cartoonish about the pieces cut from a hyper-smooth, spongy sci-fi fabric that most of us took for neoprene. It was actually a double-faced jersey. "I could do things with that fabric I couldn't do with another fabric," Miuccia enthused.

One thing she could definitely do was challenge convention in the sly, subversive way that has always been one of the most forceful arguments for Prada's influence. The influence may have waned a little of late—sales have been off—but this show unfolded with the growing sensation that Miuccia was playing once more to her strengths, especially her ability to evoke, then upend, the familiar.

What first made her famous, in other words. Opera gloves and fur stoles, brooches and bows, ponytails and kitten heels, Empire lines and pantsuits painted a picture of a Nixon-era debutante. The fact that the stole was abstracted into an attached strip of fur, or the brooches were cut from Perspex, or the gloves were all colors of leather, or the dresses and suits were molded from that peculiar fabric all added up to Prada's Factor X, the acid Miuccia added to her pastel punch. We tripped. ​

BRANDPRADA  |  PRADA OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.PRADA.COM

MILANCostume National Fall 2015 Ready-to-WearUPDATE ON: 2015-04-07   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Costume National Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear

Alongside his brethren Helmut Lang and Ann Demeulemeester, Costume National designer Ennio Capasa defined 1990s minimalism. His particular take on the look was glamorously punky: lots of black, naturally; plenty of leather; and a fair bit of harnessing amidst the louche tailoring. For a twentysomething in downtown New York, the look had an unmistakable cachet.

Fast-forward a couple of decades and Costume National is about to turn 30 years old. Capasa rightly thought the impending milestone was worth celebrating, so he dubbed his Fall collection Reset, set the clock at the end of his runway to 00:00, and went back to the proverbial well. His new lineup was almost exclusively black, the color he's been fondest of all these years.

It's a handy coincidence that other designers have been feeling that shade this season, too: It puts Capasa in the middle of the conversation. Still, he remains resolutely anti-trend. If fashion is coming around to his point of view again, he'll make the most of it, but you won't find him doing head-to-toe prints, say, when the pendulum swings back toward lavish excess. This afternoon's biggest flourishes were the silver bead trim on the shawl collar of a smart tuxedo and the glossy black feathers embroidered on a sleeveless dress.

More often, this collection found Capasa making tweaks to his streamlined tailoring (a three-piece suit in a patchwork of pinstripes was convincing) or leavening cocktail fare with active gear, as in the silk LBD he paired with a sporty zip-front hoodie. On the whole, it was the tailoring that was strongest here, with a satisfying real-world quality that was heightened by the fact that Capasa asked the models to choose the shoes they wore from a small selection of heights and styles.

BRANDCOSTUME NATIONAL  |  COSTUME NATIONAL OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.COSTUMENATIONAL.COM

MILANFendi Fall 2015 Ready-to-WearUPDATE ON: 2015-04-07   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Fendi Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear

It was only after Karl Lagerfeld had designed the latest Fendi collection, featuring a new kind of construction based on panels of leather, that it occurred to him he'd been once again inspired by the architecture of the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, the masterpiece of Fascist architecture that is Fendi's new headquarters in Rome. The same style of building surrounds the empty, eerie piazzas in the paintings of Giorgio de Chirico. He got a name-check, too.

The panels were strange appurtenances, molding the legs of the models like an abstract apron (actress and erstwhile farm girl Noomi Rapace was reminded of a blacksmith), but Lagerfeld was very taken with them as a way to communicate a longer, more linear proposal. He wanted to move well away from the tendency toward girlie-ness that he'd been bothered by in Fendi's Spring offering. There was no sign of soft, romantic orchids. Instead, every model's bag spouted a hard, beaky bird-of-paradise flower. "Pleasant aggressivity," said Lagerfeld with a smile.

But at the same time, he talked about the idea of protection, one more designer to acknowledge the toughness of the times. The panels certainly reflected such thinking. So did the substantial, spectacular coats, tucked at the waist to give them a full-skirted flare, and falling to mid-calf. There were also tabard tops (Lagerfeld compared them with the safety vests worn by policemen) and a clutch of oversize padded pieces that looked like repurposed duvets—looks you could truly live in.

Their puffa-ness was a smart counterpoint to the elongated theme, but they were also a reminder of how rarely a Fendi collection relates to anything else that is happening in fashion. The walls of the show space today were lined with enormous reproductions of abstracts by the early-20th-century Swiss artist Sophie Taeuber-Arp. (They were also used as prints in the collection.) What Lagerfeld has always loved about Taeuber-Arp's work is that, even though she was painting during a time of great artistic ferment in Europe, there wasn't a trace of influence in her pictures. They were, in other words, completely original. In his admiration you could, perhaps, recognize aspiration.

BRANDFENDI  |  FENDI OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.FENDI.COM

MILANLes Copains Fall 2015 Ready-to-WearUPDATE ON: 2015-04-07   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Les Copains Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear

The '70s are one of the most enduring inspirations in fashion. Recently they have been globally ubiquitous, reaching some kind of saturation level—as if one had been forced to eat too much of the same thing.

As a trend they have also been twisted and stretched to capacity in an inordinate number of different directions, most of the time providing just a thin veneer of "cool" references to many collections—often to disguise a sheer lack of original ideas. That said, the '70s were such a groundbreaking time in so many ways that it is impossible to resist their visual and cultural appeal. Stefania Bandiera, creative director at Les Copains, joined the bandwagon today with her own interpretation.

Backstage she referred to the usual list of society and movie icons: Bianca Jagger and Ursula Andress were favorites; for once Talitha Getty was not mentioned. Bandiera ticked off all the boxes, throwing Picasso into the mix with his famous Arlequin painting, which served as an inspiration to Yves Saint Laurent for one of his most celebrated collections.

The homage was on display in a long cardigan paired with a floor-length skirt in soft mohair knitted with diamond patterns. Other '70s staples were scattered among the lineup: chiffon blouses with billowy sleeves, fluid high-waisted pants, oversize sweaters on elongated skirts.

Knitwear—definitely the pièce de résistance for Les Copains—was provided in a variety of textures, embroidered and embellished. Along the way, the '70s feel was somehow lost in translation—combined with masculine elements, it morphed into a more streamlined look. Sparkling Art Deco-inspired custom jewelry came in giant-size replicas of dragonflies and butterflies that were difficult to miss. Pinned on lapels or scattered around necklines, they added a surreal, extravagant twist to quite an eclectic mix.

BRANDLES COPAINS  |  LES COPAINS OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.LESCOPAINS.IT

MILANPorts 1961 Fall 2015 Ready-to-WearUPDATE ON: 2015-04-07   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Ports 1961 Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear

Not many companies can claim to have been founded from a simple white shirt—how chic is that? But that's how Ports 1961 began. It was established by Luke Tanabe, a Japanese entrepreneur living in Canada, who wanted his wife to wear the best possible fitted and tailored white men's shirt. Men's clothes for women: The theme is at the very heart of fashion these days, and Natasa Cagalj, the newly appointed Slovenian creative director of Ports 1961, tapped right into it with a sure hand in her first collection.

Cagalj has the required pedigree: She's a Central Saint Martins alumnus who studied under the direction of the great (and much missed) Louise Wilson; she worked at Cerruti Arte, Lanvin, and Stella McCartney before landing this job. For her Ports outing she wanted to bring about a sense of elegant ease, with strong foundations built in the precision of cutting and in the quality of fabrics, all supplied from factories for suiting and men's shirting and developed by her.

The look was streamlined and sophisticated yet utilitarian, spiced up with a dose of ingenious technical solutions to give the wearer the chance to transform the garment. "I wanted to convey the spontaneity of the creative process," said Cagalj, showing a long tunic decorated with frayed pom-poms. "What really fascinates me is to embrace mistakes and coincidences, twists and turns along the way. That is how real life works, after all. And I enjoyed challenging myself, addressing the clichés of femininity." Hence the use of velvet, French lace, chiffon, and leopard prints to offset the masculinity of compact wools and poplins in military-inspired looks.

"My design is ageless and not geographically defined," Cagalj claimed. "I wanted to be able to dress my mother and my daughters alike with flexible solutions that can suit the movement and the individual body shape." Cases in point: a crisp white cotton shirt with long lapels that could be draped around the waist according to moods and needs; a roomy, lightweight elongated vest that had an adjustable set of straps engineered around the waist to transform its shape from practical to feminine and flattering. Pretty bows were attached to zippers fastening the sides of jogging pants in a nod to a decoration—they were detachable, making for an easy transition to a simpler look. It all made for an inclusive attitude toward the process of dressing.

BRANDPORTS 1961  |  PORTS 1961 OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.PORTS1961.COM

MILANMax Mara Fall 2015 Ready-to-WearUPDATE ON: 2015-04-07   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Max Mara Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear

What would Marilyn do? The Max Mara team landed on a perfect muse for Fall: Marilyn Monroe circa the pictures that photographer George Barris took of her on the beach in 1962. You know the ones: platinum waves swept to the side by the wind; dark swipes of cat-eye liner; nude under a towel that barely clings to her shoulders, or wrapped up in a chunky, hand-knit grandpa cardigan lying in the sand. Iconic and irresistible. A line-for-line copy of that sweater came down the runway; it looked as good now as it did then. But, as usual, it was the coats that were the main event here.

Gigi Hadid came out first, gripping a camel coat closed over a matching slipdress, nude seamed stockings, and tassel loafers. The clutch coat was never the height of practicality even in its heyday 50-odd years ago, and in our always connected era, it's perhaps less so, but how much chicer is it to hold onto your double-face cashmere than to cling to your smartphone? Other coats came with proper closures, but a weatherproof trench lined with mink was alluring nonetheless.

Elsewhere, an inside-out style with quilted lining fabric on its exterior looked like an elegant twist on winter's omnipresent puffers. Spinning out the mid-century theme, there were shrunken mohair sweaters and pencil skirts in menswear checks or needle-punched lace, and wiggly bustier- and slip-dresses worn with cozy knits that failed to sublimate the overall sexiness of the looks. Sounds like something Marilyn could've appreciated.

BRANDMAX MARA  |  MAX MARA OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.CBAMD.COM

MILANAlberta Ferretti Fall 2015 Ready-to-WearUPDATE ON: 2015-04-07   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Alberta Ferretti Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear

The backdrop of Alberta Ferretti's presentation was stunning: a time-lapse sunrise in wintry woods. New day rising. What a gorgeous, optimistic point for a fashion show to start. Ferretti took that notion somewhere even more extravagant, to the Italian Renaissance, when an entirely new, world-changing culture dawned.

It was one of those fabulous fashion synchronicities that Alessandro Michele was talking about exactly the same thing at his Gucci debut today. Maybe it's an Italian thing. The world has gone to hell in a handbasket for Italy. How reaffirming it must be to be reminded of that moment in history when the country straddled the globe with its glory.

Was anything ever more "Made in Italy" than the Renaissance? Both designers eulogized its modernity, but for Ferretti, with all her experience, it was the sophistication of the materials that appealed. The gilded brocades, the velvets, and the tapestries of the Renaissance were translated into jacquard patchworks, or prints on georgette and velvet, or the textured trapunto of a red silk redingote.

She achieved the most extraordinary effect with the needle punching of organdy and mohair, creating a soft but substantial fabric on which she embroidered a dégradé velvet. She also showed cozy mohair coats for cold castles.

The biggest issue with the collection was that as the clothes came down the runway, they appeared to have a costumey weight, when, in fact, they were defined by softness and an almost incomprehensible lightness.

An over-embroidered, crocheted gilet looked to be lifted from Bea Arthur's Maude wardrobe, and yet on the hanger it felt like feathers. Testament to Ferretti's technique, less so to the notion that the first bite is taken with the eye.

BRANDALBERTA FERRETTI  |  ALBERTA FERRETTI OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.ALBERTAFERRETTI.COM

MILANGucci Fall 2015 Ready-to-WearUPDATE ON: 2015-04-07   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Gucci Fall 2015 Ready-to-Wear

Although it was significantly less buzzy than it might've been if one of the name-brand designers rumored to have been in the running had gotten the gig—Tisci, Kane, Altuzarra, Ford, even—Alessandro Michele's Gucci show today still qualified as a moment. Fashion loves a debut; consider all the unanswered questions: Would Michele take Gucci in the more daring direction Kering chief François-Henri Pinault said was necessary for the cooling brand?

Would his womenswear follow the androgynous lead of his hastily-put-together menswear show in January? What's with the mop of scruffy, shoulder-length hair? Beyond the curiosity factor, there's always a cross-your-fingers feeling to these occasions, and not just for the Gucci executives who want to put the company back in growth mode. We're all critics, but we love having someone new to cheerlead.

And it's not hard to get behind Michele. A brief preshow introduction suggests he's laid-back where his predecessor, Frida Giannini, was nervy, emotional where she was more formal. The notes left on every seat quoted the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben: "Those who are truly contemporary are those who neither perfectly coincide with their time nor adapt to its demands…Contemporariness, then, is that relationship with time that adheres to it through a disconnection."

Talk about putting it all on the line. Indeed, Michele's Fall collection felt like a very sharp break from Giannini's Gucci. Ford's, too—it's the in-your-face sex of his late '90s collections, after all, that lingers in the memory. The new man at the helm has a decidedly more romantic outlook.

His Gucci girl is an ingenue with an eccentric side, one who looks as though she's picked out her clothes at estate sales and vintage stores, and mixed them magpie-style with handfuls of heirloom rings, chunky rimmed glasses, the occasional pompom hat, and fur-lined horse-bit loafers. The ready-to-wear ranged far and wide.

From best to less-so, it included colorful coats with fur cuffs and military leanings; fluttery, shapeless botanic print dresses; and unlined, skin-baring point d'esprit separates. Many of the pieces were pressed with creases at odd places—several inches above the hem of trousers, down the side of a jacket, or all over in the case of a blue plissé dress. "I love the idea that a dress has a memory," Michele said.

The overriding impression of this collection was one of youthful naïveté. As playful and irreverent as it was, it lacked a bit for sophistication, which is as much a part of the Italian house's heritage as the interlocking G's that appeared on the new, rectangular bag shape.

There's a significant amount of goodwill for Michele, and it's clear from Instagram that he wrapped a lot of the audience in his poetic embrace—from the looks of it they'll be wrapping themselves in his fur with embroidered crystal birds on the back. But to make his vision stick, he'll need to give it a lot more substance going forward.

BRANDGUCCI  |  GUCCI OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.GUCCI.COM

MILANGucci Pre-Fall 2014UPDATE ON: 2013-12-26   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Gucci Pre-Fall 2014

To best understand Frida Giannini's approach to her Gucci Pre-Fall collection, it helps to look down. There, you will either find a towering 108-mm platform ankle bootie or the iconic Gucci horse-bit loafer, which celebrated its sixtieth anniversary this year. What might seem like a binary proposition—blue-blood flat versus hyper-glamorous heel—is really just Giannini exploring the Janus aspect of the Gucci woman: that is, looking back and looking ahead.

The official line is that the collection represents the "Gucci essentials," the elements of which include sharp hues (fuchsia, brick, bumblebee, azure), controlled volume, amped-up outerwear, and a masculine-feminine mix. Giannini collided colors so close on the spectrum that they produced a new twist on monochromatic. At times, she emphasized layering. But then she showed a day-to-night dress with generous sleeves offset by a butterfly-shaped basque—as complete a look as it gets. Twice she hybridized the classic Perfecto: elongating it into a dress coat and covering it in extra-plush gray shearling. Bookmark both now.

Zoom out to take the collection in full, and it's clear that Gucci's signature sex appeal has been outdone by sleek sportswear this season. It's as if Giannini is saying that luxe fabrications—a leather shirt as thin as rice paper and a chubby in goat and Mongolian lamb fur—should not be dismissed as impractical. Ditto the deerskin cap, which adds a finishing street-chic touch to the majority of looks. Notably, Giannini has also revived the embossed Diamante pattern, applying it to the entire range of bags. It dates back to the thirties, making it one of the brand's oldest codes. It is subtler than the GG monogram and, essentially, bridges past and future.

BRANDGUCCI  |  GUCCI OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.GUCCI.COM

MILANGiorgio Armani Pre-Fall 2014UPDATE ON: 2013-12-26   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Giorgio Armani Pre-Fall 2014

Our review will be posted shortly. See the complete collection by clicking the image at left.

BRANDGIORGIO ARMANI  |  GIORGIO ARMANI OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.GIORGIOARMANI.COM

MILANEmporio Armani Pre-Fall 2014UPDATE ON: 2013-12-25   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Emporio Armani Pre-Fall 2014

Our review will be posted shortly. See the complete collection by clicking the image at left.

BRANDEMPORIO ARMANI  |  EMPORIO ARMANI OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.EMPORIOARMANI.COM

MILANVersace Pre-Fall 2014UPDATE ON: 2013-12-16   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Versace Pre-Fall 2014

Our review will be posted shortly. See the complete collection by clicking the image at left.

BRANDVERSACE  |  VERSACE OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.VERSACE.COM

MILANVersace Spring 2014 Ready-to-WearUPDATE ON: 2013-11-12   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Versace Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear

Drake's big up to Donatella closed the Versace show tonight, but it was Nine Inch Nails who soundtracked the rest of the presentation, and it was the sullen mean girls of hard rock, not hip-hop, who shaped the collection. Maybe that's why the whole thing worked so well. The Reznor situation was close to Donatella's heart. Beforehand, she was as excited as we've ever seen her as she waved around the Versace World Tour 2014 T-shirts that were standouts in the show (she wore one for her walkout). The gigs listed on the back of the tee ran the usual gamut—New York, London, Paris, etc.—but Jupiter and Venus were also named. Interplanetary Donatella? That sounds like a lost masterpiece from space-rock gods Hawkwind.

The metal details came hard and heavy in the collection: studs on denim, mesh bandannas, chains round necks or harnessing torsos, hook-and-eye closings. Definitive: Lindsey Wixson in a shag cut, sheer blouse, black bandeau, denim pencil skirt hook-and-eyed down the front like it was stapled shut, and towering platform sandals bound to her feet with elastic bands. But if the clothes looked tough, they had a surprising softness (there was a lot of linen in the denim), or at least a richness. The hard, hip-slung, sheeny circle skirts that opened the show were actually raffia.

To be perfectly frank, those opening looks—the collection's manifesto, if you like—threw major shade on the more traditional wrapped and revealing evening looks that closed the show. That might be the Versace that Donatella imagines people expect from her. But how much better it is when she lets her rock 'n' roll heart run free.

BRANDVERSACE  |  VERSACE OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.VERSACE.COM

MILANTrussardi Spring 2014 Ready-to-WearUPDATE ON: 2013-11-11   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Trussardi Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear

Gaia Trussardi has stepped into the driver's seat at the house that bears her name after Umit Benan's departure earlier this year. For Spring, she used the notion of the great American road trip as fodder. That might've struck her predecessor as too obvious an idea, although anyone who was present at the show he set on a New York City rooftop will remember that he wasn't immune to the seductive powers of the good old U.S. of A. either.

In any case, Trussardi would've been smart to lose the cowboy hats and the bandannas clasped with metal slides; they gave the clothes the feel of costumes. Otherwise, this wasn't a bad beginning. Trussardi retained much of the menswear-inflected tailoring that Benan introduced at the label. A double-breasted ivory jacket tossed over the shoulders looked well-cut. Elsewhere, she added items that indicated she's sensitive to the way the fashion winds are blowing, like overalls in luxurious matte python, and any number of bandeaux and crop tops. And, of course, she made the most of the house's leather heritage, trotting out bombers and elastic-waist trousers in the stuff. For a designer novitiate, you can't legitimately expect much more. But the Milan calendar is stuffed with the most famous names in the business; this crowd will only tolerate a tyro for so long.

BRANDTRUSSARDI  |  TRUSSARDI OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.TRUSSARDI.COM

MILANSportmax Spring 2014 Ready-to-WearUPDATE ON: 2013-11-04   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Sportmax Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear

Do not underestimate the power of the polka dot. The Sportmax design team changed tack this season, swapping the hard edges and haberdashery elements of the Fall collection in favor of something much softer and feminine. It was a positive development. As a brand known for its outerwear (note the great-looking double-face suede coat in tan and black that opened the show), tailoring is often the focus here, or at least it has been lately. But for Spring, Sportmax has embraced the dress.

Silk slipdresses with supersized dots or inset with sheer circles of tulle had a nice sense of ease. Same goes for the V-neck tunics with handkerchief hems that were accompanied by below-the-knee full skirts. Other dresses were draped from circles or squares of fabric, creating flowy, away-from-the-body shapes. Win, win, win. The motif was picked up by Lucite-heeled satin mules accessorized with fur pompoms. Those in particular rated with the Instagram audience.

The polka-dot point had been sufficiently made by the time the show was over—and in all honesty, probably a few looks before then. But even if the Sportmax team could have left a few of the spotted narrow sheaths and spotted pajama sets back in the atelier, a V-neck dress with an overlay in a circle-patterned guipure lace was still a sophisticated, subtle evocation of their idea. All around, a strong outing.

BRANDSPORTMAX  |  SPORTMAX OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.SPORTMAX.IT

MILANPrada Spring 2014 Ready-to-WearUPDATE ON: 2013-10-29   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Prada Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear

Because she works in fashion, it's easy to forget how political a creature Miuccia Prada has always been. Famously secretary of Milan's Communist party at one point, she is intimate with activism. But her activist impulse has usually found expression in the art world, where she has tirelessly championed the new. Tonight, she continued on that course—bringing in a group of mural artists to decorate the venue—while, at the same time, making a feminist statement that, in the light of the contemporary denigration of the very notion, came across as radical. "I want to inspire women to struggle," she said, after a show that will be hard to beat as the season's high point.

The last time feminism enjoyed any popular currency might have been with the Riot Grrrls in the early nineties. Miuccia picked up on the tribalism of that concept. Her models were girl gangs (coded by hair color and graffitied eyelids); the street/sport element of the collection also had a gang element. And the murals against which the show took place—multi-visions of womanhood—echoed the political street art of L.A., Mexico, and South America. Images from those murals were picked up for use on the clothes and accessories. Oh yes, about those accessories—the most ladylike handbags in recent Prada history. Paired with tube socks and Miuccia's take on Tevas. The disconnect said all you needed to know about the designer's steadfast refusal to work without reference. Trying to draw lines between this and that in the collection was a fool's errand. Likewise, attempting to spot the influence—for instance, the work of mid-century artist Richard Lindner seemed to inform the spectacular color-blocking. But that might merely have been one onlooker's personal predilection.

Nevertheless, there was a strong artistic element in the show. The way the clothes were infected by the mural art energized them. And there was energy in the surprising appearance of Britney Spears on the sound track. (Admittedly, her latest track, "Work Bitch," has the uplifting pulse of the better side of EDM.) The contrast with Prada's men's show in June couldn't have been more striking. Miuccia made her males essentially passive participants in a dreamy, erotic reverie. Today, her women were ready to kick ass and rule.

BRANDPRADA  |  PRADA OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.PRADA.COM

MILANPorts 1961 Spring 2014 Ready-to-WearUPDATE ON: 2013-10-29   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Ports 1961 Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear

For a movie in which the stars spend so much time out of clothes, Zabriskie Point sure has inspired a lot of designers. Fiona Cibani called out the Antonioni film at her Ports 1961 show tonight. The photoprints of a desert sunset that appeared on a knit crewneck, a silk tee, and a deep-V pleated dress looked like a direct link with the movie, but otherwise the connections between the crisp shirting and A-line sundresses of this show and Antonioni's cult classic about America's 1960s counterculture weren't that clear. So be it. Those prints were out of character for Cibani, who usually plays it more minimal; they stood out even without the highbrow cinema reference. But what to make of the rest? There was a smart-looking one-button blazer, an effortless polo-collar dress, and a double-breasted khaki jacket cut with efficiency. Simpler was better; the box pleats and panel embroideries tended to muddle things. All in all, it was hard to pin down much that felt vital about this collection.

BRANDPORTS 1961  |  PORTS 1961 OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.PORTS1961.COM

MILANMoschino Spring 2014 Ready-to-WearUPDATE ON: 2013-10-24   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Moschino Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear

The Moschino invitation arrived with a T-shirt emblazoned with the legend FOR FASHION VICTIMS ONLY. Years ago, Franco Moschino himself printed the same message on a straitjacket he showed in one of his collections for men. And, starting with the baby photos in the video that preceded the actual show, "years ago" was on people's minds tonight with the thirtieth anniversary of the label that still bears Moschino's name nearly two decades after his death. Alberta Ferretti helped Moschino set up his business in the first place, and from her front-row perch, she insisted, "I want to say thank you to Franco a thousand times." Catwalk legends Pat Cleveland, Violetta, Amalia, and Gisele (the original, pre-Bündchen one) modeled iconic pieces from the archives. And Gloria Gaynor showed up to croak Franco's favorite song, "I Am What I Am."

That T-shirt sentiment pretty much summed up Franco's contentious relationship with the fashion industry. Keeper of the flame Rossella Jardini has done a remarkable job of carrying on his legacy while smoothing off her mentor's ironic, abrasive edges. Bill Shapiro, Jardini's lieutenant for twenty years, defined the label ethos before the anniversary presentation tonight: "Let's move forward." If the body of the show offered a good/bad duality—two outfits for the price of one catwalk moment—it was kind of kitten cartoony. Brassy belts broadcast GOOD GIRL or BAD GIRL so you knew exactly where you were at any given moment. Franco's claws would have been more lacerating.

Nevertheless, what was on offer was a pretty effective edit of the label's ongoing strengths. Clothes for every occasion—with enough of a twist to make them seem like "fashion" and not some generic interp of the same. Still, the highlights were those archive pieces that ring now with a quite surreal strength: Erin O'Connor wore a jacket with golden spoons for buttons. Princess Caroline of Monaco had that jacket. As Lou Reed spat so memorably, "Those were different times." And Alek Wek modeled the iconic sequined question-mark sheath. Franco's question was this: What is fashion? Decades later, are we any closer to knowing?

BRANDMOSCHINO  |  MOSCHINO OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.MOSCHINO.IT

MILANMissoni Spring 2014 Ready-to-WearUPDATE ON: 2013-10-23   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Missoni Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear

With the explosive crash of waves on rocks, the Missoni show today launched into a meditation on the elements—earth, air, fire, and water. Angela Missoni, head wrapped in a scarf, appropriately looked a bit like a voodoo queen backstage. But she was quick to point out that Missoni's elements were abstract rather than primal. More pop, like a Japanese comic. So the classic Missoni chevron was reinterpreted as waves or birds, the way you drew waves or birds when you were a kid. The family name was also reconfigured in a black-and-white, semi-African pattern that, laser-cut out of PVC and applied all over the place, was almost as artful an exercise in logomania as Alexander Wang's AW lace in New York.

A subliminal strand of exotica trailed through the collection: a skirt tied like a sarong, a fitted dress draped like a sari, caftanlike volumes. There were hot-colored, loom-knit stripes that felt Mexican. But somewhere between the elongated pencil skirts with the deep kick pleat and the dégradé fringed pieces, Missoni edged into a land of confusion. Angela effectively evolved the family business once before, taking those primal genetic strands and literally reweaving them for now. Maybe it's time for her to do it again.

BRANDMISSONI  |  MISSONI OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.MISSONI.COM

MILANMax Mara Spring 2014 Ready-to-WearUPDATE ON: 2013-10-22   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Max Mara Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear

As coat specialists, team Max Mara face a challenge at the Spring shows. Camel hair just isn't a warm-weather material, and double-face cashmere not so much either. So what's the message? As it turns out, they made a compelling case for the latter's seasonless-ness today, cutting it in cool shades of pearly gray and nude buff. The show opened with a slipdress in double-face cashmere and a matching coat in the stuff—a couture version of the twinset, the program notes called it. With faint gray hose and silvery sandals, the model was a vision in monochrome.

Head-to-toe single color was the other big takeaway. It looked effortlessly chic on skirt suits and tailored coats over sheath dresses, as well as on more directional outfits like an oversize tee tucked into a long pencil skirt with suspenders. All of this felt true to the Max Mara label (save for the too-cute-for-their-own-good rompers). The fabric play was on brand, too. Beyond the double-face, the designers leaned on all-natural materials like linen, canvas, and a silk with the rough, raw texture of burlap, juxtaposed with others that had a more high-tech hand. Denim separates were treated to resemble a Robert Ryman canvas—call it art-gallery acid wash.

Where the trouble arose was with the Crayola brights. The colors were searing, which in and of itself isn't a bad thing, but accessorized with not one, but two coordinating bags and matching hosiery and shoes, it was a case of visual overload. In the end, those were mostly styling miscues. What Max Mara does best is sophisticated understatement. And getting back to that, a hooded poncho in oatmeal double-face cashmere was pretty much faultless.

BRANDMAX MARA  |  MAX MARA OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.CBAMD.COM

MILANMarni Spring 2014 Ready-to-WearUPDATE ON: 2013-10-22   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Marni Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear

There were two Marni shows this morning. The first played out as planned, with Sid Vicious howling "My Way" on the soundtrack as the models walked. The second was bedeviled by a power outage, which meant that, after a lengthy delay, the models eventually had to take to the catwalk in complete Sid-less silence. It was such a perfectly serene complement to the character of the clothes themselves that it was hard to imagine seeing them any other way, let alone with a Vicious holler drilling into your eardrums. So let's make that one for the Happy Accident.

With her sporty visors, platform flip-flops, and bomber jackets, Consuelo Castiglioni did her own expert take on the athletic spirit that has gripped Milan this season (maybe Olympic fever had a particularly long gestation period in Italy). She also had a response to the boom in fashion flora: Her flowers were graphic, Japanese-y, ranging from a "Jack and the Beanstalk" vine to pixelated blossoms to allover petals that spectacularly hardened into jagged flints for the startling green suit at show's end. They were the strongest expression of the organic quality that shaped the collection.

The clothes were at their most seductive when they were quiet: a sage green sarong; origami-folded pants; pieces cut from cotton organza, as ghostly as toiles; the long coats belted over voluminous trousers with huge cuffs. The throwaway glamour of the look evoked, in an entirely nonspecific way, the mood of the Man Ray portrait of Nancy Cunard with her armful of bangles. Aristo languor. Eccentricity, but strength of character. Marni in excelsis.

BRANDMARNI  |  MARNI OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.MARNI.COM

MILANJust Cavalli Spring 2014 Ready-to-WearUPDATE ON: 2013-10-15   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Just Cavalli Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear

Bhutan was on the inspiration itinerary last season at Just Cavalli. For Spring, the label took a trip to the tropics with a stopover in London's punk enclaves. But as they say, it's the journey, not the destination. Wherever Roberto Cavalli goes, digital prints, animal spots, trussed-up denim, and handkerchief-hem slipdresses follow. All of that and then some made an appearance on the runway today. This was Just Cavalli at its most hedonistic, starting with the first look: a stretch catsuit with a plunge in front that dipped precariously south of the navel. There were more prints in that one look than in other designers' whole collections. Another thing this show had plenty of: cutout dresses, cropped sweaters, and bra tops. All those bared midriffs gave Cavalli ample room to show off one of his neatest tricks: skin-tight pants that unzipped at the side and folded over to reveal a contrasting inner waistband. They conjured images of surfer girls peeling off their wetsuits as they emerge from the waves. This collection is really, really going to speak to the Miley Cyrus generation. Their parents, on the other hand, are going to need a Xanax.

BRANDJUST CAVALLI  |  JUST CAVALLI OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.ROBERTOCAVALLI.NET

MILANGucci Spring 2014 Ready-to-WearUPDATE ON: 2013-10-08   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Gucci Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear

A season ago, Frida Giannini was pregnant and sending nipped-waist skirt suits and second-skin python dresses down the Gucci runway. There would be no slinking into one of those for her. Today, she took the label's Spring collection in a sporty new direction, with mesh T-shirts, basketball shorts, track pants, and exposed triangle bras. Post-baby, Giannini spent the summer working out. "I wanted to come back with my abs," she said backstage.

Well, it never hurts to design what you know. The show had a cool attitude, freer in silhouette and spirit than recent outings. It also keyed into what's happening on the street with the elevation of athletic clothes. There weren't sport sandals here, like we saw at Marc Jacobs last week—flats would be a step too far chez Gucci. Nonetheless, this was interesting new territory for Giannini, and, when you think about it, maybe not such a stretch for a house long known as a purveyor of equestrian gear.

Of course, this being Gucci, the collection was also undeniably luxe. That mesh T-shirt? Laser-cut suede. Another oversize tee came in tooled leather. As a counterpoint to the sports references, Giannini looked at the Art Nouveau illustrations of Erté, and the large-scale scrolling flowers, in silk jacquards or Lurex, decorating most of the pieces nearly glowed. Meanwhile, she borrowed the cut and drape of Japanese kimonos for jackets and robe coats. The show's signature look, worn by Bette Franke, married a see-through tee, triangle bra, and track pants with a kimono-sleeve cardigan in an Erté floral.

Morning workouts or no, Giannini's Gucci will always have a decadent streak. Not all of her glam sport ideas translated as well as Franke's—a green Lurex dress held together by bows at the sides, for example, wouldn't last the night on a dance floor, and other times all the crisscrossing straps started to muddle the seductive picture she was going for. Still, it's nice to see the designer loosen up.

BRANDGUCCI  |  GUCCI OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.GUCCI.COM

MILANFendi Spring 2014 Ready-to-WearUPDATE ON: 2013-10-08   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Fendi Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear

"Inspired by the world of informatics." Karl Lagerfeld's reduction to essence of his latest Fendi collection sounded so drily off-world that it scarcely induced a warm rush of anticipation. But Karl is a past master of the undersell, always so ready to shrug off his achievements as the paid-up obligation of some journeyman designer. And isn't that enough to make a cat laugh? (Especially if the cat is the now-famous Choupette.) Especially in the light of collections like the one Lagerfeld showed for Fendi today.

Self-deprecation aside, Lagerfeld is mesmerized by the opportunities that advances in fabric technology have offered him. That took two directions today—the unstiffening of organza, one of his favorite fabrics, and the leavening of fur, to the point where it was almost as light as the organza with which it was combined. "A coat weighs grams," enthused Silvia Venturini Fendi backstage.

That lightness was the collection's leitmotif. Laser-cut organza was layered in spectrums of color, inspired, said Lagerfeld, by light passing through water. A waterfall cascaded down the backdrop, a reminder that Lagerfeld and Fendi worked on The Glory of Water exhibition in Paris in July. Somewhere underneath the layers of fabric, the fountains of Paris and the fountains of Rome were inspirations.

Equally, there was Lagerfeld's attachment to anything that is about to happen. Hyperlinking was his key to the collection's modular quality, to the way that a leather jacket was carved into articulated panels or digital circuitry created motifs for jackets and skirts. Still, the irrevocable truth is that Fendi is a fur house, and fur is just about the most primordial material known to humankind. Which is why Lagerfeld's innate iconoclasm infected today's presentation with plastic. A crocodile handbag, half real, half fake? The very notion had a subversive tang, especially from one of the most counterfeited fashion houses in the world. Fake a fake? Fendi is streets ahead.

BRANDFENDI  |  FENDI OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.FENDI.COM

MILANEtro Spring 2014 Ready-to-WearUPDATE ON: 2013-10-07   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Etro Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear

Veronica Etro's English grandmother, Audrey, used to bind her books in the beautiful fabrics that draped the Etro family's life. In each volume, she'd write the time and place she read the book. That's how we know the prints Veronica lifted from her gran's library for her show today were from the 1940s. Graphic, abstract, naïve, whimsical, they were the meat of the collection. Yes, Veronica paraded the family's signature paisley, splintered, collaged, and mutated, but it was those prints that captured the imagination. And she let them sing in fluid, wrapped shapes. True, there was a metal spine to the collection—the placket trailing down a blouse, for instance—but its essence was deconstruction. Maybe it was the Donna Summer remix on the soundtrack that cued the free and easy disco spirit. Whatever the cause, this was a collection that felt fresher and more alive than usual.

BRANDETRO  |  ETRO OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.ETRO.IT

MILANEmporio Armani Spring 2014 Ready-to-WearUPDATE ON: 2013-10-07   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Emporio Armani Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear

During the course of the absolutely enormous Emporio show staged today by Giorgio Armani (94 looks!), it became obvious that there was an organic undertow propelling the collection forward, from the aqueous shimmer of the opening passage to the stardust-strewn finale. And, just as nature is a hit-and-miss proposition, so was Armani's Emporio. The models had hair braided and bobby-pinned into wheat sheaves. Natural, yet tortured. And, for every lyrical evocation—a shower of flower petals, or misty jungle flora—there was some strange manmade intrusion, foremost of these being the leggings that were intended to elongate and complete the silhouette. Instead, they sagged rather unfortunately at the knees and ankles, creating an impression of sloppiness rather than sleekness. Armani has never been a designer who shies away from risk, but, as Mother Nature could assure him, some risks work, while others are best consigned to the Darwinian slush pile.

And what worked best here were the pieces that had already been tried and tested: the fitted, single-buttoned jacket in glen plaid over cropped black pants; the monochrome pantsuits, severe but soft; the suits in pajama stripes; and, even as the designer pushed the envelope, notions like the tiered fans of pleated organza that he formed into party dresses. "Poised between realism and abstraction" was the claim Armani's show notes made for him. The more he tips the balance toward the former, the better off he is.

BRANDEMPORIO ARMANI  |  EMPORIO ARMANI OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.EMPORIOARMANI.COM

MILANCostume National Spring 2014 Ready-to-WearUPDATE ON: 2013-10-07   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Costume National Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear

This season, Ennio Capasa brought his women's show back to Milan after 23 years of presenting in Paris. He justified the move as his own contribution to Italy's regeneration. "If Milan is strong, everything is strong," said Capasa. But it wasn't just Milan that gained from the relocation. Going back to his fashion roots seemed to refresh Capasa as well.

Deconstruct/Reconstruct was the collection's theme. It fitted the show space, a huge raw concrete bunker that may eventually become a museum. And it also gelled with an inspiration of Capasa's, the work of young conceptual artist Giulio Frigo. An image of one of his 3-D graphite installations was printed on the invitation. Frigo's world-taken-apart was echoed in Capasa's own dissections of clothing: "My experience of Italian tailoring reloaded in different ways," he called it. So jackets and dresses were deconstructed and put back together with proportions shifted in often fiercely asymmetric ways. If the result occasionally felt like it was trying too hard, it had the paradoxical effect of making the more straightforward outfits in the collection—like the white side-slit tabard over a white skirt, or the kimono-like top in black leather over cropped pants—that much more appealing. Capasa's yen to experiment yielded results with sheer techno-organza shells rendered decorous with handmade brushstrokes (difficult but delightful), or a group cut from a tweedy linen-cotton that had a utilitarian glamour we've never seen from this designer before. He liked the idea of work. On his mood board was Peter Lindbergh's famous photo of Kate Moss as a worker girl in dungarees. "She's always made an effort to connect with the time in which she lived," Capasa explained. "And that's my goal too."

BRANDCOSTUME NATIONAL  |  COSTUME NATIONAL OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.COSTUMENATIONAL.COM

MILANA.P.C. Spring 2014 Ready-to-WearUPDATE ON: 2013-10-06   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
A.P.C. Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear

A.P.C.'s Jean Touitou doesn't lack for opinions. His Paris presentations are must-sees for the frank way in which he rails against the fashion system and current trends. People grab a coffee, plop themselves down on the couch, and settle in for some real talk, not to mention, of course, a chance to see the label's new clothes. Today, Touitou had two big gripes. To begin, designers are showing couture, not ready-to-wear. "Fashion is not only about celebrity and finance," he said, alluding to the big production shows for which Paris is famous and the front-row types whom they attract. "It's also about proportion and styling." His second point was about his distaste for extreme sexiness. "To be dressed, you don't need to be high in the sky in heels," he continued. "My whole purpose is to sex down things."

Put those ideas together and you'll get a pretty good picture of what A.P.C. has on tap for Spring. Dresses in chambray, denim, or broderie anglaise-trimmed white linen fell in A-line shapes to the mid-thigh, and there were shirtwaist styles in microprints. None were un-sexy, but they weren't obviously come-hither, either. A quartet of jumpsuits followed. Touitou called them "an obsession" on his part and that of his customers. The best came in a nice shade of cargo green. And for the beach, or those moments when you're returning home and don't want to kill your weekend buzz: easy separates like high-waisted shorts or a popover top with djellaba detailing from A.P.C.'s ongoing partnership with Vanessa Seward. All of it came out on flat vegetable-dyed leather sandals or very manageable heels. Touitou practices what he preaches. He also managed to deliver the feel-good moment of the week when three young kids danced out in pieces from a new A.P.C. collaboration with Bon-Ton.

BRANDA.P.C.   |  A.P.C. OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.APC.FR

MILANBlumarine Spring 2014 Ready-to-WearUPDATE ON: 2013-09-25   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Blumarine Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear

A hidden garden on a summer night—that's what Anna Molinari said her starting point was for her new Blumarine collection. The butterfly lace, the white point d'esprit, and the fil coupé weave with splashes of coral and gold that started things off seem destined for a June wedding.

But this show quickly shifted from friend of the bride to club girl out all night. On the one hand, you had a white baby-doll dress, embroidered flowers picked out on its long sleeves, and on the other you had a T-shirt entirely constructed from a spiderweb of crystals tucked into a red leather hobble skirt.

Is the Blumarine woman an innocent or a provocateur? Although the strappy ankle boots suggested she may be more of the latter, Molinari seemed reluctant to make up her mind. That's her prerogative, of course, and in the end it may not hurt her bottom line.

The world is a big place, and Italian tastes are different from American, which are different from Russian and those of China and the Far East. But it made for an unresolved collection.

BRANDBLUMARINE  |  BLUMARINE OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.BLUMARINE.COM

MILANGiorgio Armani Spring 2014 Ready-to-WearUPDATE ON: 2013-09-23   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Giorgio Armani Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear

"The press always needs a clear message," Giorgio Armani announced at the conference for the Italian media that followed his show today. So that's what he gave them, with a muted presentation that was, for him at least, tightly edited down to two distinct stories. "A woman who's free to fly but can carry her own weight, gentle but gutsy" is how Armani defined the two faces of his collection. The gutsiness was summed by city suits: jackets and shorts or wrapped skirts. The freedom to fly came through in fabrics that started off sheer and steadily insinuated themselves in ever enveloping volumes, until a final outfit that was like a billowing highwayman's cape of silk.

There are artists who rage as they age—like Picasso, for instance—but on the evidence of recent collections, Armani has adopted a much more serene attitude to the passage of time. The gentleness of the clothes today was enhanced by a palette of pale blues, grays, and pinks and delicate effects like streams of crystal tracing a watery trail across a chiffon top, or patterns that suggested faded watermarks, or blurry florals. It was distinctly ladylike, an impression that was, again, enhanced by the tousled eighties-style semi-quiffs with which each model was cursed. That same decade made an incongruous appearance when the designer sent a trio of models—his Three Graces, perhaps—down the catwalk cloaked in vast swaths of silk georgette and topped with huge square hats. They looked rather like creatures from the Tony Viramontes drawings that currently line Carla Sozzani's gallery in Corso Como. It was the kind of idiosyncratic gesture—same with the kerchiefs a number of the models ended up wearing—that underscored Armani's own enduring gutsiness.

BRANDGIORGIO ARMANI  |  GIORGIO ARMANI OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.GIORGIOARMANI.COM

MILANGianfranco Ferre Spring 2014 Ready-to-WearUPDATE ON: 2013-09-23   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Gianfranco Ferre Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear

Federico Piaggi and Stefano Citron said their starting point for the new Gianfranco Ferré collection was Herb Ritts' photographs of classic Ferré looks and indelible images of Gia Carangi, the tragic supermodel of the late seventies and early eighties whom Angelina Jolie famously played in an HBO film. Gia, the stories go, was deliriously sexy, and as befits their muse, this show today did have a sultry edge. Draped dresses, blouses, and jackets gave the impression that they'd slip right off with one quick tug of the giant leather obi belts that cinched them. Skirts also flashed skin; one slit was so high it required shorts underneath.

Asymmetric flourishes were a key element in the Ferré oeuvre, but where the late designer often chose stiff architectural fabrics, Piaggi and Citron were more inclined to use fluid ones, like hammered silk, enver satin, and the electric blue Lurex-shot jersey of the show-closing jumpsuit. Nearly everything glistened, which lent the collection a glitz that didn't let up. This was a satisfying collection in many ways, but you couldn't help but feel that Piaggi and Citron's work would connect with a bigger crowd—which remains an issue for this Italian label—if they eased off the shine now and then and turned their mind more to clothes made for every day.

BRANDGIANFRANCO FERRE  |  GIANFRANCO FERRE OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.GIANFRANCOFERRE.COM

MILANBottega Veneta Spring 2014 Ready-to-WearUPDATE ON: 2013-09-22   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Bottega Veneta Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear

Fabric was the starting point at Tomas Maier's Bottega Veneta show today. Print and color for the most part were pared back, so that his expressive volumes could do the talking. Maier developed a cotton woven with copper; the metal threads gave it a memory. He used it to sculpt mille-feuilles of ruffles that circled the hips of a short skirt, cascaded down the torso of a day dress, and bustled the small of the back on a one-shoulder dress with leather straps. The results felt ladylike, not all that unlike his 1950s-inflected Fall show, but where that was retro-strict, this had a more relaxed spirit. Inevitably, it felt more modern.

How ironic, then, to hear from Maier backstage that a visit to the Metropolitan's Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity show was what sent him down this path for Spring. Like the Impressionists, process is paramount to Maier, but as a whole it didn't bog him down. There was a real sense of drama to these clothes, but they had a nice lightness, too. Take the show's signal look: a black wrap skirt with an exuberant flounce at the waist that he paired with a white button-down, its boxy short sleeves turned over with deep cuffs. The crisp shirting was sharp where the ruffles were sweet; those aforementioned leather straps on the dresses had a similar leavening effect. Maier is smart enough to know that if you add, you must also take away.

Toward the end of the show, he tried out a few other kinds of embellishment, the most successful of which was the short mohair fringing that accented belted plissé tank dresses. Other numbers, especially one in royal blue with metallic appliqués embroidered in a dégradé effect, looked overly crafty and weighed down. Not all masterpieces, then, but we liked Maier's sense of exploration here.

BRANDBOTTEGA VENETA  |  BOTTEGA VENETA OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.BOTTEGAVENETA.COM

MILANRoberto Cavalli Spring 2014 Ready-to-WearUPDATE ON: 2013-09-22   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Roberto Cavalli Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear

The set was a soundstage, studio klieg lights bearing down on the catwalk. The first look was as silvered as a celluloid image from a silent film. Welcome to Cavalli-wood. It was a clever conceit, a way to gloss a collection that was, in essence, a retread of classic Roberto Cavalli tropes. Which is to say, this collection was technically masterful, commercially savvy, and seductive in ways that render showbiz queens powerless.

It might have been the deep backless swoop on a second-skin bias-cut gown; or the clingy, webby weave of knit and lace; or the repurposed reptile in a tiny jacket or skinny jean; or a sinuous stretch of baguettes illuminating the obvious. Any way you look at it, though, it all said that however distracted Roberto Cavalli might have been penning his already-notorious autobiography, he had clearly set aside the time to tool around with his screen-siren concept.

The Art Deco caftans, the piano-shawl fringing, the lithe goddess columns all had the exhibitionist shimmer of a young Norma Desmond. Aside from those second-skin things, it actually felt like everything floated away from the body, articulated, suspended on punky little chains. But whatever edge there might have been to that notion was diluted by a faded, has-been color palette (well, that's Norma Desmond for you).

The silver-screen dreaminess of the result fell into place when the models walked out en masse at the end of the show. At that point, it became perfectly clear that Cavalli-wood was a director's dream world. And there he was, center stage.

BRANDROBERTO CAVALLI  |  ROBERTO CAVALLI OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.ROBERTOCAVALLI.COM

MILANMarni Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear.UPDATE ON: 2013-09-22   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Marni Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear.

There were two Marni shows this morning. The first played out as planned, with Sid Vicious howling "My Way" on the soundtrack as the models walked. The second was bedeviled by a power outage, which meant that, after a lengthy delay, the models eventually had to take to the catwalk in complete Sid-less silence. It was such a perfectly serene complement to the character of the clothes themselves that it was hard to imagine seeing them any other way, let alone with a Vicious holler drilling into your eardrums. So let's make that one for the Happy Accident.

With her sporty visors, platform flip-flops, and bomber jackets, Consuelo Castiglioni did her own expert take on the athletic spirit that has gripped Milan this season (maybe Olympic fever had a particularly long gestation period in Italy). She also had a response to the boom in fashion flora: Her flowers were graphic, Japanese-y, ranging from a "Jack and the Beanstalk" vine to pixelated blossoms to allover petals that spectacularly hardened into jagged flints for the startling green suit at show's end. They were the strongest expression of the organic quality that shaped the collection.

The clothes were at their most seductive when they were quiet: a sage green sarong; origami-folded pants; pieces cut from cotton organza, as ghostly as toiles; the long coats belted over voluminous trousers with huge cuffs. The throwaway glamour of the look evoked, in an entirely nonspecific way, the mood of the Man Ray portrait of Nancy Cunard with her armful of bangles. Aristo languor. Eccentricity, but strength of character. Marni in excelsis.

BRANDMARNI  |  MARNI OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.MARNI.COM

MILANMissoni Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear.UPDATE ON: 2013-09-22   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Missoni Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear.

With the explosive crash of waves on rocks, the Missoni show today launched into a meditation on the elements—earth, air, fire, and water. Angela Missoni, head wrapped in a scarf, appropriately looked a bit like a voodoo queen backstage. But she was quick to point out that Missoni's elements were abstract rather than primal. More pop, like a Japanese comic. So the classic Missoni chevron was reinterpreted as waves or birds, the way you drew waves or birds when you were a kid. The family name was also reconfigured in a black-and-white, semi-African pattern that, laser-cut out of PVC and applied all over the place, was almost as artful an exercise in logomania as Alexander Wang's AW lace in New York.

A subliminal strand of exotica trailed through the collection: a skirt tied like a sarong, a fitted dress draped like a sari, caftanlike volumes. There were hot-colored, loom-knit stripes that felt Mexican. But somewhere between the elongated pencil skirts with the deep kick pleat and the dégradé fringed pieces, Missoni edged into a land of confusion. Angela effectively evolved the family business once before, taking those primal genetic strands and literally reweaving them for now. Maybe it's time for her to do it again.

BRANDMISSONI  |  MISSONI OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.MISSONI.COM

MILANSalvatore Ferragamo Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear.UPDATE ON: 2013-09-22   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Salvatore Ferragamo Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear.

Massimiliano Giornetti finds himself in a bit of a quandary this season. The Salvatore Ferragamo creative director seems interested in stretching himself as a designer—flexing his intellectual chops with deconstructed suits on the one hand, and amping up the sex appeal with all sorts of midriff-revealing silhouettes on the other. The issue is, neither of those new directions feels like such a natural fit for an Italian heritage label justly famous for its glamorous Hollywood affiliations and its bourgeois propriety. You can't begrudge Giornetti the attempt, but it's no easy task to make a cutoff blazer spliced in two at the waist as valid as the original classic version. And why go to all the fuss of kilts spilling extra front panels when more straightforward ones would look neater?

There's value in simplicity, as other pieces in this collection made obvious. We doubt there was a gal in the room who didn't respond to the glossy black trench that closed the show. It was polished in an unpretentious way. And a painted python jacket and coat? Those items have the potential to get the pulse racing. Just think of all the places a woman could take them where a snakeskin bra top won't do.

BRANDSALVATORE FERRAGAMO  |  SALVATORE FERRAGAMO OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.SALVATOREFERRAGAMO.IT

MILANJil Sander Spring 2014 Ready-to-WearUPDATE ON: 2013-09-22   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Jil Sander Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear

"The powerful beauty of random assemblage" was the claim made by the show notes. "Elegant, effortless, sophisticated"—Jil Sander's own summation of her collection was scarcely more enlightening. Though "effortlessness" may actually have been pretty close to the mark. From the first—cropped white pants, cropped navy top and jacket—to the last—a black and white feathered skirt with an artful pinafore top—the outfits Sander showed today had a winning ease, a freshness that belied the designer's rep as the mistress of the fiercely pushed envelope. OK, feathers aren't exactly jersey sweats, but the designer used the pinafore effect a few times in the show and it ultimately conveyed the casual decorum of a towel draped around shoulders in a gym situation. Sporty? Well, that also played into the bared midriffs and shorts that recurred throughout. Never mind the mesh.

Sander always cut like a dream, and the jackets here that dipped in front and eased up aerodynamically in the back captured that knack. They countered her tendency to err on the side of the clinical. And so did some fractured figurative prints inspired, the show notes insisted, by the work of Arte Povera master Alighiero Boetti. They were as colorfully animated as any element Sander has ever used in a collection. They also had a perversely pleasing taint of irony. Arte Povera? Jil Sander? Mutually exclusive equations, until today.

BRANDJIL SANDER  |  JIL SANDER OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.JILSANDER.COM

MILANEmilio Pucci Spring 2014 Ready-to-WearUPDATE ON: 2013-09-22   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Emilio Pucci Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear

If you had any doubt that pop stars have usurped Hollywood celebrities as the be-all and end-all of the public's fascination, the proof was on Peter Dundas' Emilio Pucci runway tonight: its embrace of streetwear, its celebration of gym clothes, its extreme body confidence. To us, it had Bad Girl Riri's name all over it. Dundas pointed out that he's been dressing more musicians lately. Rita Ora and Beyoncé both wore his clothes on recent tours. Clearly, the experience has energized him.

Designers up and down the runways have been at this kind of thing this season—Gucci's Frida Giannini in Milan; Alexander Wang in New York. Dundas differentiated himself by mashing up the basketball and scuba and boxing gear with Masai embroideries. A beaded bustier dress with a draped silk jersey skirt is destined to be a big hit. That was hardly the end of the beading, though. There were a tank top and track pants embroidered in gold on black net, an allover beaded hoodie emblazoned with PUCCI and the year of its birth, 1947, and long dresses made from beaded basketball mesh. It'd take a top-of-the-charts paycheck to afford any of these.

But maybe the most interesting thing about this collection was that the sporty element wasn't only for show. The parachute silk of a printed parka, the liquid silver material Dundas used for running shorts, the draped sarouel-meets-jogging pants—they were practically weightless. Naysayers will argue that Dundas has ventured too far from Emilio Pucci's born-in-Capri DNA. Really? If there is a twenty-first-century jet set, Rihanna is it.

BRANDEMILIO PUCCI  |  EMILIO PUCCI OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.EMILIOPUCCI.COM

MILANBlumarine Fall 2013 Ready-to-Wear.UPDATE ON: 2013-04-06   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Blumarine Fall 2013 Ready-to-Wear.

The best thing you could say about this Blumarine show might be that it was more grounded than usual. From the opener of baby-pink biker shearling and flesh-toned leather trousers, the collection did its earnest best to evoke a real world, albeit an insistently candy-colored one. But it was a real world that was firmly lodged in the eighties. The huge rollneck with the color-coordinated cardigan, for instance, was an exaggeratedly ritzy take on the twinset. The big pink bathrobe? Well, that might be a concession to Hollywood wives. But it also suggested an ultimate comfort factor that stretched into flowing outerwear that was as cozy as a candlewick bedspread.

But the eighties also embodied another kind of exaggeration, and Molinari was right there with it. Her appetite for thigh-high pannier-draped skirts, splattered with flowers, spoke to an original Ungaro moment. So did the extreme pagoda-shouldered suits, boldly blouse-less. Quite where this sits in the contemporary fashion spectrum would be more of an enigma if Molinari hadn't been cheered to the rafters by her fiercely partisan Italian aficionados.

BRANDBLUMARINE  |  BLUMARINE OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.BLUMARINE.COM

MILANAlberta Ferretti Spring 2013 Ready-to-Wear.UPDATE ON: 2013-04-05   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Alberta Ferretti Spring 2013 Ready-to-Wear.

The luminous film of anemonelike threads expanding in an underwater world was a spectacularly appropriate prelude to Alberta Ferretti's show. She wanted her collection to communicate lightness, luminescence, and iridescence, and what better way to do that than to evoke the undulating liquidity of sea creatures? But how to carry such a notion into cloth? Ferretti managed it. She layered organza over fringed, beaded dresses in shades of seafoam and eau de nil, trapping the shimmer and movement so gorgeously as to suggest something viewed through sunlit sea. Octopod arms of embroidery trailed down other frocks. There were clusters of seaweed appliqués, a gown of sequined net, and sheer peplums that floated.

Some of Ferretti's outfits were so encrusted with embroidery that the effect was akin to barnacles on wharf posts. But her most oblique concession to the life aquatic was a set of tulle bodysuits that looked like they were tattooed with lace. They had a bare-naked audacity that would send a shiver down the spine of any old tar. The same lace peeked from under a dress and suit in shantung, which were likelier preludes to commercial success.

Curiously, the oceanic momentum of Ferretti's show lapsed when she paraded the eveningwear that is usually a strong point. Charmeuse mermaid gowns might have had the look of light reflected on water, but they somehow didn't rise to the level of so much of this collection.

BRANDALBERTA FERRETTI  |  ALBERTA FERRETTI OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.ALBERTAFERRETTI.COM

MILANEtro Spring 2013 Ready-to-WearUPDATE ON: 2012-09-26   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Etro Spring 2013 Ready-to-Wear

The lifeblood of Etro is the paisley pattern on which Gimmo Etro founded the family business in 1968. Wisely sensing that there is only a finite amount of inspiration to be derived from the print, Gimmo's daughter Veronica masterfully advanced it today by reconfiguring flora and fauna as a paisley for the future. She did it by engineering hand-painted prints for the entire collection. If they played as a comprehensive "fuck you" to the digital age, it was the more elevated notion of the hands-on artisanship of Japan that was Veronica's touchstone. (After Prada last night, we may have a developing story on our hands here.) She was feeling the primal discipline: martial arts, Orientalist paintings, the ingenuity of a dress cut from a square of fabric, the tradition of intricate knotting. But if her initial outfits took shape somewhere between the kimono and the judo suit, the collection expanded to embrace everything east of the Bosporus. The one-shouldered swag of an Indian sari, the elegance of a Chinese cheongsam, the attenuated line of a Nepalese kurta with matching pants, the airiness of a Persian caftan—the show turned into a veritable atlas of style.

All the time, Veronica was returning to Etro's wellspring of color and print. Which meant that, for all its peripatetic to-ing and fro-ing, the collection ended up being her most focused to date. Toward the end, she had the smarts to drop some solidly monochrome outfits into the mix, as palette-freshening pauses. And then one final outfit spread abstracted peacock wings and flew away. It made sense that Florence Welch was the soundtrack for the show. There was something about the floaty, caftan-y grandeur of that last look that seemed made for her.

BRANDETRO  |  ETRO OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.ETRO.IT

MILANViktor & Rolf Resort 2013 Collection on cbamd.com: Runway ReviewUPDATE ON: 2012-07-13   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Viktor & Rolf Resort 2013 Collection on cbamd.com: Runway Review

If you've ever wondered at the inner life of Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren, their Resort collection offered some pointed insight. After a year of life-changing yoga, Rolf was open to the option of transcendental meditation. But a particularly grim brown-rice-no-knickers introductory tape compelled him to ask, "Why can't spirituality be glamorous?" So he and Viktor trained their powers of imagination on one of those counterintuitive hybrids they specialize in, and whaddaya know? Haute Hollywood met Hare Krishna. Well, hello, Dalai!

Archness is Viktor & Rolf's albatross, but here, the inspiration was so innately peculiar that there was scarcely any point to the accusation. The exaggerated shoulders, the draped lamé, the layers of tulle (for day and night), and the ruching were sheer—though not always see-through—silver-screen goddess. The hot orange-y color scheme and decoration stirred Indian exotica into the mix. (A pair of wide pants were apparently inspired by a sari.) The designers rather fancied the notion of a spiritually enlightened Rita Hayworth as the collection's presiding spirit. Quite how she would speak to women in the twenty-first century was unclear, especially when it was more likely they'd be listening to "classic" V&R: the trench with Chinese lantern sleeves, the gazar blouson with the big bow, the tuxedo with one ruffled lapel. Maybe not enlightened but at least comprehensible.

BRANDVIKTOR & ROLF  |  VIKTOR & ROLF OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.VIKTOR-ROLF.COM

MILANDsquared² Spring 2012 Ready-to-Wear Collection UPDATE ON: 2011-09-27   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Dsquared² Spring 2012 Ready-to-Wear Collection

Milan's good-time boys Dan and Dean Caten took us to Glastonbury for Spring. Make that the Heineken Jammin' Festival and Glastonbury. For the first half of the show, the sod runway was dry, then sprinklers switched on and it turned to mud.

Just like Glasto! The muck made walking in high-heeled wellies more than a little treacherous, but the models seemed happy to go along with it. U2 and Coldplay anthems played on the soundtrack, and the Caten brothers nailed the way the international festival set dresses—layers of magpie sparkles, leather jackets, denim cutoffs, plaid button-downs, and T-shirts.

Well, maybe not the American flag tees. And for accessories: armfuls of neon wristbands, slouchy suede bags, headscarves, mirrored shades. Don't forget the Heinies. You couldn't take the clothes all that seriously, but Dsquared²'s shows have long been less about delivering fashion news and more about providing entertainment.

See the mud-caked torsos of the beefcake models at the back of the runway for proof of that. As theater goes, it was one of the Catens' funnest shows in a while.

BRANDDSQUARED  |  DSQUARED OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.DSQUARED2.COM

MILANJust Cavalli Spring 2012 Ready-to-WearUPDATE ON: 2011-09-26   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Just Cavalli Spring 2012 Ready-to-Wear

Today's show marked a relaunch of Roberto Cavalli's second line, the kid sister to his signature vixen. But sizzle clearly runs in the genes, because the very first outfit matched a chiffon blouse to a pair of skintight, low-slung, appliquéd jeans, and wrapped up the whole ensemble in a long streamer of fake snakeskin.

Rock-tastic! There were, in rapid succession, silvered denims, baby dolls and shaggy furs, abstracted animal prints, sinuous plissés, and floaty things for a buccaneer's babe. Within the obvious budgetary confines of a second label such as Just, Cavalli did manage to incorporate hints of the Florentine artisanship that lends even his most florid work some gravitas.

In other words, there were studs, grommets, and some Shakespearean lacing on suedes and leathers. Entry-level Cavallites will eat it up. And the multitudes that sweltered in the enormous show venue suggest their numbers are uncountable.

BRANDJUST CAVALLI  |  JUST CAVALLI OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.ROBERTOCAVALLI.NET

MILANMissoni Spring 2012 Ready-to-Wear CollectionUPDATE ON: 2011-09-26   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Missoni Spring 2012 Ready-to-Wear Collection

Missoni is specializing in surprises at the moment. First, there was last Spring's collection. It polarized the critics, mesmerized the public when it hit the stores. Then there was the collaboration with Target, where a week's worth of pop-up shop sold out in a day during New York fashion week. Now there's this Spring's show, which, in its own way, was as startling as the one a year ago that marked a definitive shift in the Missoni ether. In other words, it will divide opinion.

Angela Missoni has earned herself the luxury of a little experimentation. It's in the family's design genes, after all. She spent the summer in Sardinia watching her daughters arriving home at dawn after a night out dancing, and she got thinking about the kind of clothes that best suited such a situation: something spontaneous, improvised, mobile. And out of that came a collection that dipped and swooped in ruffled tiers, fringed here, patched there, asymmetrical to a dizzy fault, but always in motion.

Maybe that's why it was less classic Missoni than an animal spirit that prevailed in the collection. Lots of zebra, for one thing. It manifested itself in bias-cut ruffles; it snuck under an openwork knit dress. If this was Angela trying to convey the beast within, she captured it in spades.

BRANDMISSONI  |  MISSONI OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.MISSONI.COM

MILANEmilio Pucci Spring 2011 Ready-to-Wear Collection UPDATE ON: 2011-05-10   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Emilio Pucci Spring 2011 Ready-to-Wear Collection

The lights finally dimmed at Emilio Pucci tonight when Kylie Minogue walked in a cool 45 minutes late. Actually, let's make that hot. The pop star was wearing a scandalously short gold lace dress by Peter Dundas from Fall. She's one of many boldfacers who've been seduced by the designer's sexy new take on this Florentine house. Jada Pinkett Smith was also in attendance, which (this is a first) made Pucci one of the most celebrity-studded shows in Milan.

Dundas' seventies-inflected Spring collection is mostly long, but it has his sultry signatures all over it. He's building a house on a Greek island, and the show had an unmistakable Mediterranean vibe, all sea blues and spice colors—the Cyclades by way of the subcontinent. "Bohemian beachcomber done luxe" is how the designer rather aptly described it beforehand. The first few dresses were souped-up riffs on the traditional Greek shirt, with a scrolling blue design on ruffled and flounced white cotton, washed for a lived-in feel. Clingy jersey T-shirt gowns in archival Pucci prints went to India and back for the tie-dyeing that gave them their sun-faded look.

Alongside those and other frocks in guipure lace and broderie anglaise embroidered with tiny mirrors and pompoms—India, again—was more of the strong tailoring Dundas showed for Fall. Schoolboy blazers and low-slung flares mixed it up with whipstitched leathers and an aged python safari shirt with leather lacing that was reminiscent of Yves Saint Laurent.

This collection won't necessarily score Dundas any points for trailblazing; the seventies are everywhere this season, after all. But no one has evoked them with more conviction, or a more exuberant touch for handcrafted details. Jada and Kylie, by the way

BRANDEMILIO PUCCI  |  EMILIO PUCCI OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.EMILIOPUCCI.COM

MILANGucci Resort 2011 CollectionUPDATE ON: 2011-05-05   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Gucci Resort 2011 Collection

"Stylish travel" was the stated theme of Frida Giannini's latest collection, though it could be argued that the concept has been part and parcel of Gucci since its inception. Working with a neutral palette of khaki, rust, and army green for day, the designer turned out a waxed cotton trench, sporty silk jumpsuit with elastic waist, and whisper-thin leather biker jacket. There was a bit of military and a lot of urban cool in the look, which reflected the simplified, back-to-brand-basics approach Giannini has been taking of late. A series of saddle-printed silks smartly nodded to Gucci's rich heritage, as did a chain-strap purse with gold logo based on a design from the seventies. The freshest evening looks, not surprisingly, were in that very of-the-moment color, blush: a short beaded number with open sides and a stunning silk wrap gown with silver beaded trim. Buon viaggio, indeed.

BRANDGUCCI  |  GUCCI OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.GUCCI.COM

MILANJil Sander Spring 2011 Ready-to-Wear CollectionUPDATE ON: 2011-04-26   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Jil Sander Spring 2011 Ready-to-Wear Collection

The way Raf Simons tells it, he was sitting around with his team discussing the new minimalism and that got him thinking about its inverse, maximalism, which led him instantly to haute couture. That presented an implicit challenge to the very essence of the Jil Sander woman, and it must have excited Simons, because it inspired a standout collection that looked to have revived his commitment to the label. For a designer who is as mesmerized by line and proportion as he is, there can ultimately be no more seductive métier than couture—but where traditional couturiers have been paying lip service to the modernizing possibilities of the T-shirt-and-ball-gown combo for a dog's age, he made it a walking, talking proposition with his opening passage of major skirts and minor tops. (This may call for a tip of the cap to Isaac Mizrahi, but read on.)

Couture gigantism took hold with infantas of flowers and stripes, though Simons was keen to ground any notion of excess. The music veered from Bernard Herrmann's soundtrack for Psycho to Busta Rhymes. The models carried what looked like plastic shopping bags. A navy parka wrapped Freja Beha Erichsen's strapless bubble of Japanese techno taffeta. Such offhand extravagance reminded some onlookers of Yves Saint Laurent's fascination with the English operagoers who'd throw a raincoat over their ball gowns when they went to the cultural institution Glyndebourne in the south of England.

The YSL poke was appropriate for another inescapable reason. Simons has been trying to unravel Saint Laurent's color sense since at least before his men's show at Pitti Uomo in Florence in June. His forensic analysis carried over into this collection. Where do you start giving this palette its due? The green cargo jacket with the pink tank and the yellow palazzo pants? The violet blouson over the gown in fluoro orange? The red coat layered over pink and yellow jackets? Such lightness. Simons said it best: "A mille-feuille of color."

If the show had a hell-bent-for-leather verve about it, Simons really had no choice. There is no way you could make this kind of statement in a half-hearted way. But among the grand gestures, the collection could be broken down into a slew of want-ables: the parkas, for one thing; the stripes; all the tailoring. Still, in an ideal world, it would be those huge, glorious skirts that would be sweeping all before them down your local high street.

BRANDJIL SANDER  |  JIL SANDER OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.JILSANDER.COM

MILANEmporio Armani Fall 2011 Ready-to-Wear CollectionUPDATE ON: 2011-04-25   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Emporio Armani Fall 2011 Ready-to-Wear Collection

If the Emporio show's stated theme of film noir espionage sounded like it would gel perfectly with Giorgio Armani's own taste for forties films—and if such a theme also sounded well in step with Fall 2011's affection for that decade—the reality of the presentation was surprisingly different. Yes, they were all dressed in black, but the femmes in the show weren't particularly fatales. They wore Confederacy caps instead of fedoras, for Pete's sake. And if there was an occasional pencil skirt or broad-shouldered topcoat to provoke a vision of film noir's finest, the collection offered, for the most part, a numbingly comprehensive range of variations on pants, skirts, jackets, coats, and, for variety, jumpsuits. The guiding principle seemed to be a play with silhouette. The legs were, for instance, defined by spatslike appurtenances, a saddlebaglike belt created a pannier effect on the hips, shoulders were ruffled, and there were armlets that looked like leg-of-mutton sleeves. In a collection this big it wasn't hard to pluck out the pieces that fulfilled Armani's usual tenet of functional urban chic, and most of them were, unsurprisingly, jackets. A fringed blanket wrap made a more stylish accessory than the incongruous little terrier that nestled in one model's arms.

BRANDEMPORIO ARMANI  |  EMPORIO ARMANI OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.EMPORIOARMANI.COM

MILAND&G Spring 2011 Ready-to-Wear CollectionUPDATE ON: 2011-03-21   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
D&G Spring 2011 Ready-to-Wear Collection

Like Alberta Ferretti yesterday, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana looked to the garden for inspiration. The trellis behind their runway was strewn with real roses, peonies, hydrangeas, ferns, and ivy—their florist must be ecstatic. But if the duo's vision was Edenic, it was also poised at the moment when Eve was starting to get a little frisky. D&G is aimed at their youngest customers, so the cabbage rose-print tanks unbuttoned to reveal a hint of bra, and the mismatched bubble shorts and gingham head scarves looked sweet, but not that innocent. Snow White, who eats a poison apple of her own, by the way, was apparently a muse; she and her seven Disney dwarves appeared on T-shirts and tanks, and pinafore dresses got equal runway time with strapless rompers, one of which happened to be accessorized with an apron.

D&G's teenage fans might take banishment to the woods by their evil stepmothers before they slipped into one of the designers' red and white picnic blanket-check dresses—they were just too literal an interpretation of the theme. But other pieces would score Mom points on a spring shopping trip, especially the sky-high wedge espadrilles and the flowing boho dresses strewn with blossoms and cinched with raffia belts that closed the show. Those qualified as the freshest, prettiest takes on the long trend we've seen so far this season.

BRANDD&G  |  D&G OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.DOLCEGABBANA.IT

MILANEdun Fall 2011 Menswear CollectionUPDATE ON: 2011-03-14   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Edun Fall 2011 Menswear Collection

It's been a season since Sharon Wauchob took over the design helm of Ali Hewson's Edun collection, but she's in no rush to change the eco-friendly, easy-to-wear line into something more complicated—especially where the guys are concerned. "This collection is about reality," she said at the gallery installation-cum-rock-show the brand staged at the tail end of Milan fashion week. "I always felt in menswear that first and foremost; it's important to show that."

Wauchob spoke of ensuring that the pieces had a hand-finished quality. So denim shirts were stained with inky dye, while large-gauge sweaters were hand-knit and cabled only in parts. Her silhouettes are neither loose nor especially tight (though they do venture occasionally into drop-crotch territory), and the line remains denim-centric. It looked properly rockish on the Heartbreaks, a young English band hired to play at the show (they also star in a Dazed & Confused-backed editorial styled by the magazine's men's fashion editor, Robbie Spencer). At the same time, you could see how the collection's nonchalance would make it adaptable for the wardrobes of a wide variety of guys. That's Hewson's motto. "It's anyone who feels the clothes speak to them," she said of the Edun man.

BRANDEDUN  |  EDUN OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.EDUN.COM

MILANBlumarine Fall 2011 Ready-to-Wear CollectionUPDATE ON: 2011-03-14   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Blumarine Fall 2011 Ready-to-Wear Collection

The show opened with sporty coats and aerodynamic knitwear—ribbed turtlenecks and wrap minis, A-line dresses, and tunics over flared pants, all in shades of camel, black, and navy. Had we come to the right place? Was this really Anna Molinari's Blumarine? The rocker-chick studs, hyped-up colors, and saucy prints of recent seasons had been replaced by something altogether sensible. In fact, despite the leggy silhouettes, it was almost staid. Right up until look 20 or so, that is, when a slew of models emerged en masse in the same simple, streamlined shapes, but this time in Crayola brights. Twenty exits in monochrome yellow, orange, green, purple, or blue later, and designer Molinari changed gears again. This time she repeated things in see-through black lace. And guess what happened next? Yes, you guessed it, primary-colored lace.

One editor quipped, "Bring back the leopard prints," referring to Spring's wild collection. To be fair, there were some smart pieces here, especially the spongy rubberized nubuck coats. But the show felt too long for the straight-up sportswear Blumarine was pushing this season.

BRANDBLUMARINE  |  BLUMARINE OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.BLUMARINE.COM

MILANZ Zegna Fall 2011 Menswear CollectionUPDATE ON: 2011-01-20   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Z Zegna Fall 2011 Menswear Collection

The backdrop—a black-and-white film that tracked vertiginously through an abandoned industrial site—established a film-noir tone that made a perfect complement to Alessandro Sartori's new collection for Z Zegna. In their boxy jackets and pleated, tapered pants, his men might have peopled Raymond Chandler's mean streets. Couple that dark, filmic style with Zegna's futuristic fabric technology and you've got… um… future noir?

Like watching characters of the past in a modern setting," said Sartori. He pointed to the "icon" of the collection, a leather jacket in which the skin had been digitally needle-punched to a cashmere flannel lining. With no need for glue or stitching, the process loaned a seamless, almost neoprene feel to leather that will now never grow old. It also guaranteed a silhouette with a superhero bulk, narrow at the waist, wide at the shoulders. Everything the modern night crawler would crave.

One remarkable thing about Zegna's tech is its subtlety. Sartori was excited by the new three-piece camel suit: two jackets layered over a pair of pants. The top jacket was waterproofed, though you'd only know it when the hard rain fell. Ultimately, though, all the fabric research in the world won't get you anywhere if you're not making clothes that a man would want to wear, which is where Sartori comes in. His designs have a strong, broad-shouldered, masculine line in a straightforward palette of gray, loden, and camel. The seduction was in the details: the way a blouson sat on the waist, the pleat of a pant, the plaid, the perfectly judged proportions. And those futuristic leathers… the essence of Gattaca or Caprica on a catwalk.

BRANDZ ZEGNA  |  Z ZEGNA OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.ZZEGNA.COM

MILANAlberta Ferretti Spring 2010 Ready-to-Wear CollectionUPDATE ON: 2010-09-24   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Alberta Ferretti Spring 2010 Ready-to-Wear Collection

It's interesting to chart the rise of the one-look show this season. The content and intent of the runway parade—if not its format, which is the same as ever—is beginning to change. Some designers and companies, it seems, are gambling that the communication of a single unmissable message, repeated over and over, might have more impact than a "collection," in the old sense of the term. Christopher Kane did that with his gingham checks and ivory thigh-split pleats; Burberry did it with its trenches and draping; and now Alberta Ferretti has done the same, in a show that left no doubt that her thing is the romantic chiffon dress.

For Ferretti, it's a marketing policy that has merit. In a season when drifty, gauzy things are a topic, she's smart to claim the territory. After all, even when chiffonery isn't the general trend, that's what women go to this label to find—an accessible, feminine dress for a special occasion.

Her fluttery frocks came in this season's pale palette of lingerie pinks, ivory, and cloudy beiges (embroidered with flowers or a bit of sparkle, to taste), but fragile as they may be, they actually constitute one of Milan's more robust fit-for-purpose fashion products. Not that there wasn't a little variation: As well as the young-nymph-in-a-vintage-nightie option, there were taffeta trenchcoats (good for a summer cover-up) and even an ivory suit with crinkle-pleated panels in front—ideal, perhaps, for a wedding, the second or third time around.

BRANDALBERTA FERRETTI  |  ALBERTA FERRETTI OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.ALBERTAFERRETTI.COM

MILANPrada Spring 2010 Ready-to-Wear CollectionUPDATE ON: 2010-08-27   UPDATE BY CBAMD.COM
Prada Spring 2010 Ready-to-Wear Collection

It's a measure of Miuccia Prada's reputation as one of fashion's great intellectuals that we can be thrown into a mild tizzy when she's being (relatively) light and straightforward. For Spring, there weren't any of the brooding, disconcerting undercurrents we expect from her; no hard-to-read subtextual brain teasing. Instead, Prada did "business to beach," a representation, she said, of "how life is today. High and low, palazzos, and the popular," and, she smiled, "I really liked it."

Her girl was chic and together looking, with a teased, side-swept hairdo and shiny vermilion lips, making her way through a high-tech fantasy set on which projections of sumptuous Italianate interiors—checkered marble floors, pillars, chandeliers—alternated with fragments from touristy beach scenes. The merging of modernity and classicism played in the fabric of the opening "business" section: precise, angular gray duchesse satin and nylon coats, jackets, vests, and Bermudas that had been scissored off to leave raw edges. Manipulated photographic prints showing palm trees, beach umbrellas, and lounging holidaymakers were then applied to jackets, short shorts, and panties—seemingly an evocation of the fifties and sixties, though actually, according to Prada, drawn from images of a man-made resort in Japan. "It took me ages to find the right one," she said.

In other words, there was plenty of the wearable Prada in there (ignoring the panties and the section of semi-sheer cloque baby-doll things), pieces to appease both the seekers of minimal daywear and the collectors of her decorative print-y things. In the finale, too, there were offerings of the embellishment overload that is also an essential part of Prada, including silver- and crystal-embroidered tops and showpieces made of strung-together chandelier components. No existential-political angst about the state of the world, then? Not at all—and that, Prada concluded, is just her point. "When things are bad, you have to come out from that. Optimism," she declared, "is a choice."

BRANDPRADA  |  PRADA OFFICIAL WEBSITE: WWW.PRADA.COM

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