Sporty evening sandals and bare ribs: Milan fashion week’s messages
1 Gucci: because this is the show defining what we really wear
No, I’m not winding you up. And, yes, I’m talking about that Gucci show, the
one with the orange fur coat with the zebras and the red leather jacket with the
****bow collar. Gucci has changed how we dress. I’ve been watching the
off-catwalk fashion – not so much the peacocky Anna Dello Russo stuff as what
the fashion footsoldiers wear, which is much more telling – and a key look right
now is a midi-length, loose, floral or colourful dress worn with comfortable
shoes (trainers, chunky loafers, flatforms).
This look – the fancy-but-not-cocktailish dress worn with practical shoes –
is what Gucci looks like when you pare down the pearl trims, the bows, the
sparkly sunglasses. Dakota Johnson, Gucci’s poster girl, nailed the look in the
front row: long tea dress, chunky loafers, denim jacket. Alessandro Michele is
winning at Gucci because he is affecting not just the brand’s bottom line, but
what we actually wear.
2 Dolce & Gabbana: in an anti-intellectual age, this is clever
Ice-cream cones, pizzas, Madonnas, spaghetti, olive oil bottles: this is not
a subtle or nuanced take on Italian culture. But there is a kind of genius to
D&G. While the fashion industry ties itself in knots trying to balance
heritage with the zeitgeist and tradition with Snapchat, Dolce & Gabbana has
an **** savant’s instinct for shows with an uncomplicated appeal that leaves
the purists breathing its dust.
A T-shirt dress modelled on a tin of tomatoes has all the aesthetic
sophistication of a Make America Great Again cap, but that’s exactly the point.
This is the year of the anti-intellectual, the year when the experts became the
bogeymen. Dolce & Gabbana has a business rooted in skilled craftmanship and
expert tailoring – its stores are still full of beautifully tailored suits, and
refined cocktail wear – but it has the instinctive emotional intelligence to
grasp that, in 2016, the most effective message is the simplest one. Italian
food and emoji-level communication: what’s not to love?
3 Versace: athleisure’s legacy for this party season will be the comfortable
Donatella Versace and Miuccia Prada are the two polar opposite grande dames
of Milan fashion week, so it is a significant moment when the two of them agree
on a look. At Versace, the first two models on to the catwalk wore a sporty
version of an evening sandal, heeled but with Teva-style wide, velcro-tabbed
straps rather than spindly, piano-wire buckled ones. At Prada, medium-heeled
evening sandals had sparkle at the front, but the same sporty-utilitarian vibe
at the ankle strap.
The athleisure aesthetic does not sit as naturally in Milan as it does in New
York, where sporting chic is at the heart of style heritage. (The Italian TV
presenter at Versace who complimented Serena Williams on being “so sporty”
seemed to sum up the way in which female athleticism is still treated almost as
an eccentricity here.) Until recently, this was reflected in catwalks where
tracksuit bottoms and go-faster striped collections were worn with wobbly
stilettos. But the prime party-season takeout is the long-awaited triumph of the
dancefloor sandal over the taxi shoe.
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