At Bottega Veneta, Tomas Maier showed looks with a low-key luxury…at D&G, the theme was “Blue Hawaii”…and Anna Molinari did glam-rock looks.

Bottega Veneta: A genius once suggested that form should follow function. And so it should, even at a fashion show, an event with a number of quite specific functions: to allow a designer to present his vision for a season clearly and concisely, exactly as he chooses, and allow retailers and editors an opportunity to experience

and respond to that vision, while seeing the clothes.

So it’s surprising that Tomas Maier chose to show his Bottega Veneta collection in such a peculiar manner, especially since he’s determined to expand the image of the house from its accessories origins to that of a complete ready-to-wear house. First, no one working the door knew how to work a door (always a pleasure). Worse, once herded inside in packs of 20, guests found it nearly impossible to see the clothes fully. Those who managed to muscle their way through the standing-room-only crowd for a decent position near the runway simply could not concentrate on the clothes in a manner conducive to doing their jobs properly.

Maier said the collection was about “low-key luxury that’s never in your face.” That sense manifested itself most dramatically in a woven croc Cabat bag requiring 25 skins to the tune of 65,000 euros — even close up, who knew? — but the real stunner was a terrific bag in gold metallic leather. As for the clothes, they displayed an ease of proportion with a Seventies nod that looked fresh, if sometimes a little clunky. Throughout, the designer played softness against structure, the former appealing in fluid printed silk dresses and skirts, the latter in sturdy cottons with a jaunty spirit that turned sloppy on occasion, as in the too-wide pants. But the bigger problem was that one just did not leave this sorry presentation with a solid sense of what Maier wants to say as a designer.

D&G: It’s never too hard to guess the season’s theme upon entering a D&G show. If the runway is set up like a cutesy thrift store, expect a vintage motif. If there’s a DJ parked front and center, get ready for club gear. This season, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana decorated their D&G set with a few palm trees and a tiki bar. And clothes that said “Aloha” — adorable tropical printed shirts and jeans airbrushed across the rear with hibiscus blooms — weren’t far behind.

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