While some designers look to impress with the ‘wow’ factor – whether through tailoring or fabrics, others see a fashion show as grand theater for the avant-garde. While the former can be assured of orders collected by the armful, the latter will often receive a lot of press coverage. In a sense, perhaps there is some validation to the premise that any publicity is good publicity. Many times after a controversial exhibit, the designer will hold an interview and proclaim that the media didn’t understand his or her concept. To state it another way, the designer operates on such a higher ‘artistic plane’ that mere copywriters should be forgiven for not having the understanding necessary to grasp the importance of the awe-inspiring work that was presented. This is often carried off with arrogance and bluster, until the designer gets fired. Let’s be honest. We all get up in the morning and get dressed without any view of a higher ‘artistic plane’ and for the most part, we look fine. At least we don’t scare small children and cause dogs to bay at the moon. Sometimes the ‘artistic plane’ is just really, really ugly to the untrained eye. Then again, from the looks on the faces of some of the models on the catwalk, they don’t look all too happy to be dressed up like a horror show character either (and they get paid to look sullen and bored).
This year’s Fashion Week in Milan had plenty of surprises – some good and some frightening. Here are a few of our picks for the hits and misses. For the best designer – Giorgio Armani. Although we included one outfit in the ‘miss’ category, his designs were beautiful. A close second was Fendi, whose style and sophistication, while not quite as daring, were always delightful. Honorable mention goes to Dolce & Gabbana, whose use of drones to carry out their newest handbags brought the house down – well done!
Now for the misses – top of the list goes to Gucci, which brought high theater to the point of high treason. An operating theater-styled runway, complete with a gurney! Did anyone at the brand for a moment think that this might be, well – a really horrible idea!!! Then came the parade of models, with two carrying life-like models of their heads. Maybe that was the high concept that most people missed – the industry is really about Frankenstein-esque (not really a word) creations, a patchwork stitching of fabrics, patterns and people. Maybe that is what they were going for, but the show was a horror show, quite literally.
Moschino had some very pretty fashions, but might have taken their throwback homage to ‘Jackie Kennedy’ a bit further than was needed. Max Mara tried to marry the elegance and charm of a bygone era with fabrics of today. The result did not always achieve success and at times had all of the appeal of ‘trailer park chic,’ which is not appealing at all. Prada seemed consumed by the desire to sell its shapeless, high fashion apparel to individuals who would rather hide their shapes. Our advice – skip the Prada, go to the gym and buy Fendi. Finally, we can’t pass up the opportunity to make a catty comment about Dolce & Gabbana’s winter wear, as pictured. One word will suffice – hiss!!!