Milan Fashion Week round up
The shock of the future or the lure of the Seventies? It's all in the mix at Milan Fashion Week says Hilary Alexander.
Milan Fashion Week unfolded against continuing turmoil surrounding the British designer, John Galliano, and his suspension from Christian Dior, after a drunken incident in a Paris bar and an ongoing police investigation.
The scandal sent a shock wave through the fashion world, and has been the hot topic of conversation around the catwalks, as press and buyers attempt to unravel the conflicting reports emerging.
In the absence, thus far, of any further statement from Dior, where Galliano has been creative director since 1996, the fate of the Christian Dior autumn/winter 2011 showing on March 4 - one of the highlights of this week's Paris prêt-à-porter season - appears to hang in the balance.
The collection is apparently finished, fully acessorised and styled by the designer, who had also finalised the running order of the models before the upheaval of last week's events.
But can the show take place without the "rock-star" bow by the flamboyantly costumed Galliano on the catwalk as the finale flourish?
A week ago, the possibility would have been unthinkable. Yet allegations of drunken abuse and "an anti-semitic rant", followed by his suspension from work, have illustrated how career paths, even as illustrious as that of Galliano, who has been the driving force behind Dior's global success in the last decade, can be as swiftly changing as the moods and whims of fashion itself.
Milan's autumn/winter 2011 collections, meanwhile, have shown that while the 1970's may still be enjoying a brief reign, the future is fighting back. And it's all in the mix.
The standout shows have been Prada, Jil Sander, Fendi, and Marni, notable for their innovative mix of fabric, texture, proportions, and colour. Miuccia Prada introduced "elegant innocence", with the emphasis on a dropped-waist silhouette and her favourite python-skins, sequins and fur, both fake and real. Raf Simons at Jil Sander , used elements of ski-wear to construct a dynamic, sporty couture look in high-tech Japanese fabrications and vintage printed silks, also drawing the eye to the hip, via belts, sashes and low slung pockets.
Karl Lagerfeld and Silvia Venturini Fendi applied the collage approach to fabric, embellishment and fur in a de luxe, outdoors-inspired collection. Consuelo Castiglioni, at Marni , wove an octagonal pattern, geometric stripes, and a star-print through a range of modern glamour layered separates, mixing double-crepe, wool, leather and fur. The palette contrasted murky, urban tones with offbeat brights, and strict lines were contradicted by floaty, "scarf" hems, jewel necklines, and beaded, tasseled, and pom pom embroidery.
The rich mix of luxury furs and fabrics, in a collision of gleaming jewel tones, was given a late 1970's twist at Gucci , where creative director, Frida Giannini referenced "The Dandy", and Faye Dunaway in "The Eyes of Laura Mars" as muses.
Veronica Etro, at Etro , also worked the collage formula, with tribal influences based on treasured kilims, lacquered paisley prints, and splashes of sequins.
At Versace , Donatella Versace re-introduced her late brother's "baroque" obsession, with oversized tulip motifs, and gilt Medusa-head buttons on military coats and kilted LBDs, while daughter, Allegra, 24, was enjoying her first job backstage as a styling assistant.
Tomas Maier at Bottega Veneta provided a sexy, womanly take on smart suiting, coat and dress ensembles and 'Mad Men' cardigans and fitted dresses, and ushered in the 'Bronze Age' for the red carpet.
Roberto Cavalli 's "heavy metal" approach meant gilded "armour"underneath animal print chiffons and devoré velvet, pre-Raphaelite gowns, embellished with feathers and furs.
Peter Dundas at Pucci swapped his idealised rich hippie for an "haute Heidi" in a Tyrolean fantasy of passementerie-encrusted velvet, crystal-beaded dresses which turned the models into walking treasure-chests, loden knickerbockers, and lace-trimmed corsets with embroidered dirndls.
What's hot : Purple, teal, jade, terracotta, mustard, embellished tweed, amber, bronze, striped tweeds, dandified waistcoats, cravates, wing collars, jumpsuits, pleats, culottes, ski-pants, hip-belts and low-slung sashes, velvet blazers, military coats, kilts, ski-pants, hoods, parkas, big sleeves, rounded shoulders, neat suits, "scarf" hemlines, jeweled over-the-knee boots, high-heeled sneakers, extreme-sports boots, multi-colour stack-heel shoes, small square handbags, squashy oval clutches, bright totes.