June 24, 2011 § Leave a comment
Most people wait until the end of the Paris shows to analyze trends, but there were so many that emerged in Milan that I figured I’d just start now. So without further ado, here are my 5 favorite trends from the Milan S/S 12 shows.
5. Head-to-Toe Striped Looks
Just when I was getting bored of stripes, designers in Milan served them in a new way – with even more stripes. Head-to-toe stripe looks were seen at Roberto Cavalli and Band of Outsiders (BoO), but they dominated the runway at Moncler Gamme Bleu, where almost half of the looks followed this trend. The stripes at BoO and Moncler were horizontal black and white, nodding to the perennial nautical trend and perhaps the Hamburglar as well. The hoodies weren’t anything special – you’ll probably find them at Uniqlo next summer in 8 colors– but the tailored items looked dazzling, bringing to mind images of sailboats in Saint Tropez. Roberto Cavalli sent railroad stripes down the runway in conventional navy as well as it’s signature cranberry. The overall effect was somewhat 70s, but with a gritty edge.
4. Space Dying
Space dyed knits can sometimes look dowdy, like you stole it from your grandpa’s closet, but for S/S 12, designers offered space dyed items infused with youth and contemporary appeal. Jil Sander, for example, showed a number of short-sleeved sweaters in mandarin, crimson, and forest green. They looked perfect for a tennis match in the Hamptons, but don’t tell Jil Sander’s goth-inspired designer Raf Simons – he wouldn’t be pleased. Missoni offered a wide range of space dyed items per usual – sweaters, cardigans, and shirts – but this season she used a tighter knit, giving them a weightless visual quality. Gucci’s space dyed sweaters in charcoal were the biggest and chunkiest of the season. Perhaps you should save them for winter, though. They might cause heat stroke.
For those of you who don’t know, scrollwork is the twisty, plant-like pattern often printed on silk. I had no idea what it was called until I Googled it last night – it originally sat in my notes under the label “gold thing.” I had once thought scrollwork was tacky, associating it with church ladies and rich men from Miami who unbuttoned their shirts to their belly buttons. But for some reason the print looks fresh and youthful this season. Its vine-like forms crawled around blazers at Etro. At Versace, it mixed with psychedelic zebra stripes for an explosion of contrasting shapes. But D&G embraced scrollwork the most, printing it on silk shirts, jackets, and shorts worn all at once.
2. Child-like Prints
Some of the prints from Milan got me thinking of how I might want to wallpaper my future child’s bedroom. Would a candy theme make them fat when they grow up? Would cartoon wrenches make them too masculine? At Prada, Z Zegna, and Burberry, the child-like prints of cartoon cars, tools, and what looked like abstracted candy wrappers tickled the imagination and brought a sense of playful nostalgia to the fashion season. “Lighten up,” they seemed to say, “It’s just fashion.”
Last night I was debating whether or not to buy an red, Engineered Garments floral shirt online. It was on sale, afterall. But then my boyfriend spoke: “You’d probably want to cover it with a sweater.” Enough said – it would make me look like Rose Parade float. It’s a shame, though, because the floral trend will be in full bloom next Spring. At Moschino, the flowers were red and blue Hibiscus and recalled a 60s vacation to Hawaii. Prada printed hot pink and neon green buds on everything from trousers to puffy jackets. At McQueen, the highlight piece was a dark, dense floral print blazer cut short at the waist and sleeves. The look was new for menswear, but it had clear influence from Balenciaga’s iconic F/W 08 show where he put floral print on a range of futuristic dresses.
June 23, 2011 § Leave a comment
Men’s Fashion Week for Spring/Summer 2012 just ended in Milan yesterday. Here are my 5 favorite looks from the runway.
5. Jil Sander
A lot of people don’t really get Jil Sander, and to be honest, I don’t always either. Often things don’t seem to make sense – passport folios, high waisted pleated shorts, hair gelled down the forehead. It’s like looking at surrealist paintings walking down the runway. But there’s something undeniable about the way in which designer Raf Simons makes me want to keep looking at his clothes. There’s something about the proportions, the hightech materials (are the bags lizard or lacquered eel skin?), and overall mood of the clothes that are magnetic and exciting.
One of my favorite looks from the S/S 12 show in Milan is a green shirt with pleated black shorts, black shoes, and a reptile-skin bag. It looks pretty simple at first glance, but upon closer inspection you’ll notice that the intricate stitching on the shirt resembles overlapping, colored chain-link fences. Also, the rounded silhouette of the shirt is beautiful. There’s something very simple about the look, but as is often the case with his clothes, a discerning eye leads to a world that’s much more complex and artistically rich.
When I told my boyfriend that Gucci’s show was inspired by the young Michael Caine, his response was, “I think he was supposed to be really hot.” But after doing a Google image search I learned that the young Michael Caine looked just like the old Michael Caine – just younger. It was disappointing, but I did notice he was better styled.
Regardless, the Michael Caine inspiration led Gucci to one of its most restrained and commercial collections in recent years, full of items many men would would love to own. Personally, I loved all of the check blazers, some of which had subtle leather detailing at the pockets and button holes that gave them that extra “oomph” of luxury. I also loved that they were often paired with open shirts, plain trousers, and sockless leather drivers. It kept the look casual and effortlessly sexy. Designer Frida Giannini didn’t reinvent the design wheel with this collection – the impossibly narrow silhouette was the same as it has been every other collection – but I’m sure she satisfied lots of buyers.
3. Burberry Prorsum
What I love most about Burberry shows is seeing designer Christopher Bailey’s spirit in the clothes; it’s youthful, optimistic, and above all, a celebration of fashion. His latest show was no exception. Bailey sent out a collection rich in feeling, inspired by hippies of the 60s and old-school craftsmanship. It signaled an aesthetic shift for the brand, moving away from edgy and urban and towards something more homey, heritage, and roots driven.
One of the best looks from the collection was a mustard leather trench over a patterned green shirt and earthy brown slacks. The color palette is super sophisticated without screaming luxury. As I like to say, it’s artsy without trying too hard. I also love the craftsmanship put into the collar of the coat, which was handwoven and inset with pearl-like beads. The collar goes perfectly with the leather of the coat, which is thicker with a beat-up, vintage feel. And although the faux tribal patterns on the shoes and bag are conceptually a bit silly, I still (secretly) like them.
Angela Missoni is the master of mixology. Give her a pattern and she’ll come up with 10 other patterns that go with it, and then put them all together in one ensemble. While most of us fear mixing patterns (these stripes don’t go with those stripes, do they?), she layers and combines them in the most elegant way possible.
This season, Missoni offered her usual color and pattern explosion, but in a way that felt more relaxed and cool. One of my favorite looks is a two-tone, marled yarn shirt worn with a blue marbled cardigan, lightweight charcoal pants, and simple, two strap sandals. The look was effortless and comfortable. I like the way all the blue and dark grey hues come together, and how unrestrained the overall silhouette is. This would be perfect for a midnight stroll or lounging at a really fashion-y ski lodge.
One will have to be careful wearing the Prada looks Miuccia sent down the runway this week. Mispairing a printed shirt or jeweled jacket might leave you looking like a tacky gay guy with too much money to blow. Regardless of the risk, I say if you have the means to shop from this collection, go for it. It’s fabulous. If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought the inspiration for the collection was a chic gay Paris. It’s one of the more playful collections from Miuccia in recent memory, lacking the cerebral edge she tends to work into her clothes. And because of that, it feels like a breath of fresh air.
I love the prints from the collection – ebullient florals and jazzy figures cutely doing mundane things. They remind me of vintage postcards or of Zubaz I might find in my older sister’s trunk of clothes from the 90s. For me, the most memorable look from the collection was a printed short-sleeve button down with a printed scarf, slacks, a pink beret, and simple brown slacks. I love the ease of the look and how the patterns clash in all the right ways. It looks like the model got dressed to go to work at the faux French creperie in the Mission District of San Francisco.