Versace, Moschino, Philosophy celebrate zest for life with Milan shows
On Saturday, Milanese designers celebrated a return to a certain degree of normality, presenting Spring/Summer 2021 collections that, whether on a real catwalk or in a virtual puppet show, behind closed doors or in front of a live audience, were all brimming with buoyant good cheer.
For Philosophy, the young line by Alberta Ferretti, Lorenzo Serafini has designed a collection at once fresh, sparkling and energising. He imagined a countryside picnic, choosing as his show’s venue the magnificent garden of the Casa degli Atellani, the 15th century palazzo opposite the Santa Maria delle Grazie church, home to the ‘Last Supper’ by Leonardo Vinci, who used to own an extensive vineyard there, some of it still visible.
The spectators sit on wicker chairs scattered around the garden’s vast lawn, between fountains and flowerbeds. Wearing paint-splattered Wellington boots, the models step down the imposing staircase leading to the garden, nonchalantly strolling across the lawn in their amateur draughtsman outfits. Heads covered with cloche hats pulled down over their eyes, the models carry small picnic hampers, some of the looks featuring colourful elbow-length rubber gloves.
The first looks, with cotton trousers, knitted tops, brass-buttoned gilets and blouses, are all in white, like the canvas on which artists gradually apply their colours. Serafini was inspired by Impressionist painters for this return to the catwalk. He wanted to “celebrate creativity” with a melange of eras and styles, blending the contemporary with a Second French Empire mood. “For me, staging a catwalk show is a moral obligation. We wanted to put an end to this time of darkness and enjoy again life's small, simple pleasures, like spending a nice day in the countryside,” Serafini told FashionNetwork.com.
Oversize gilets with two rows of buttons are worn over shirts with puff sleeves and large ruffle collars. Shorts, airy skirts and frilled dresses come in a variety of gingham fabrics. Corsets fastened on the front or back envelop dresses and blouses, whose sleeves slip off the shoulders. Hand-painted white outfits are dotted with colours in pointillist style, while jeans, trousers and shorts are paint-streaked with dripping brushstrokes.
The current situation has prompted new thinking in Jeremy Scott too, and he chose a different approach to showcase Moschino’s new collection. In a typical display of acerbic wit, Scott has devised a mini catwalk show featuring wire puppets dressed in miniature doll outfits. His ironic way of telling the world that “to begin anew, we must start small.”
The Moschino video, streamed on Saturday, pictured a catwalk show recreated using this intriguing retro nod to the presentations of the very first couture collections. It featured Barbie-doll models strolling through a gold-stuccoed period Parisian salon, the audience consisting of a handful of journalists, among them Anna Wintour and other fashion press celebrities.
At first sight, the collection’s glam, lavish outfits seem to come straight from the 1950s, the silhouettes cinched at the waist and flaring out at the hem, made with rare fabrics like silk, satin and brocade, and decorated with oversize bows. The colour palette includes pale gold, royal blue, powder pink and sage green.
On closer inspection however, one realises that all the clothes have been assembled inside out, showing the garments’ inner structure, as though heralding a return to couture basics. The dresses’ internal elements are in plain sight, such as corsets, seams and inner braids, including pockets folded down on the sides and tulle petticoats.
Versace adopted an entirely different register. The luxury label had initially scheduled a real catwalk show on Friday night, but eventually chose to show behind closed doors, inviting its employees in lieu of the usual guests. Versace's male and female models took to the runway in a setting that evoked an ancient metropolis buried at the bottom of the seas.
But Donatella Versace, the label's creative director, eschewed the dark hues of the ocean's depths. From the ruins of her make-believe Atlantis, renamed Versacepolis, she conjured up a plethora of looks in vivid, joyful colours, big on sequins and prints inspired by marine life, with shimmering starfish motifs scattered on all the clothes. For the occasion, the label revamped the ‘Sea Treasures’ motif created by Gianni Versace in the 1990s.
The men’s looks feature multi-colour stripes and blocks of vibrant hues, with neon pink jackets, red knitwear and blue trousers, and even a yellow, green and orange combination of the three garments. The same palette applies to the ladies, clad in micro dresses, crop tops and wrapped skirts, in dresses with frills and trains, and mini shorts.
The ensemble makes for a cheerful, inclusive collection, presented also by Versace's plus-size ambassadors Alva Claire, Precious Lee and Jill Kortleve.
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