An inviting calm is settling over Milan. And no, that doesn’t mean dull. In the early going here, the loveliest collections have been about discretion, but a kind that has nothing to do with harsh tanking-economy-induced austerity. Rather, there’s a move toward quiet romance in various incarnations. At Burberry Prorsum, it revealed itself in an engaging garden motif, with “little girls splashing around in their gardens with easy elegancy,” according to Christopher Bailey.
Of course, he’s talking little Brit girls, so when he says splashing, he means it. Thus, the staples of their gardening gear are adorable bucket hats and fabulous capes and trenchcoats, all rumpled and degradé, as if faded by those too-rare bursts of sunlight. These came in classic khaki, army green and sky blue, most often over waistless dresses, charmers all, some with a Twenties’ air, their delicacy contrasted by the clunkiness of bold acrylic-cluster necklaces.
The other big message: long, skinny cardigans, sometimes with a twisted placket and always, a lived-in look, even when dripping with a border of giant, flashy sequins or worked in whisper-thin weights with intriguing floral embroidery. In fact, the fabrics, which Bailey worked to a fare-thee-well in wonderful textural combinations, were gorgeous, whether the exploded house check, assorted metallic silks and laces and any number of featherweight knits, colored mostly in moody earth tones and dusty pastels. It was in these choices that Bailey revealed his subtle sophistication; ratchet the pinks and lavenders up even a notch, and the sweet motif could have turned instantly saccharine. Not that all was totally discreet. Bailey did indeed ratchet on occasion, but in a different direction, as with a trio of looks in acid chartreuse matelassé and lace. And, as for that lasered python trench with giant slithering paillettes going up the front and down its back sides — well, Eve was tempted in a garden, no?