LEAVE IT TO DIVA
DIVA LOOKS WERE THE STARS OF THE SHOW AT GUCCI, WHERE TOM FORD SERVED UP HIS SINGULAR MIX OF SEX AND ATTITUDE ONCE AGAIN. MEANWHILE, MISSONI FEATURED YOUNG AND SEXY STYLES AND MAX MARA WENT HIGH TECH AND SPORTIVE.

Gucci: Sex, sizzle, attitude, audacity. Sounds like provocative runway magic. And time and again Tom Ford has worked that combination to decadent perfection at Gucci. Come to him, all ye power babes and rock divas, and ye shall have your fashion fill.
Ford’s genius lies in the way he expresses perhaps the most specific vision in fashion with enough diversity to keep it breathlessly exciting season after season. And all while dealing with a few minor distractions off the runway as well — an Arnault one season, a band of Fendis the next.
But not even Ford is infallible. And since everyone always approaches Gucci with such stratospheric expectations, anything other than a blockbuster is a disappointment. That’s what happened with the collection he showed on Tuesday — plenty of brazen, sexy clothes, but in the end, we wanted more.
Ford almost never pulls a fashion punch or wavers in his direction. Yet this time, one could sense a certain reserve. Not that clingy, body-baring dresses, python prints and plunging necklines are about dressing for discretion — but this time, Tom didn’t present his message as clearly as in his best collections. He described his goal as “revisited chic with a bit of old-fashioned chic, some Sixties, Seventies, Eighties, Nineties. It was Blondie, Farrah Fawcett, Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow.”
Well, maybe he stretched it on the Gwyneth thing, but the collection did have multiple retro references.
Of course, there were plenty of very strong clothes for strong Type D (for diva) personalities. In perfect shape? She can slip into one of Ford’s one-sleeved, backless jersey nothings. When she hasn’t got the flou, she might opt for something more sturdy, for example, a shrunken jacket with a safety-pin closure and exaggerated flared pants in white cotton brocades. Tom’s other favorites are lean and mean over stilettos, Eighties-style. In fact, that decade is shaping up as something of a trend, which he also played into with a major glitz factor, including dazzling crystal-beaded track pants and dresses.
Everything was shown with spectacular shoes — sandals with a high, thicker heel, often encrusted with semi-precious stones, and sheer hot pink hose. Well, almost everything, except for some of the sexiest swimsuits imaginable, such as a stunner with a little white top all tied up over tiny black gym shorts. Even a Gucci girl has to dress down sometimes.
Missoni: The pursuit of hip must be very distracting — so much so that perspective can all too easily go AWOL, which is what happened with the collection Angela Missoni showed on Tuesday. Everyone knows that the company makes great sweaters, but where were they on the runway? This is a sweater moment, and Missoni should be flaunting its strength rather than channeling so much of the seemingly eternal capacity for innovation toward a stream of fishnet beach un-coverups that have no relevance beyond the runway. Yes, Angela showed some young, sexy dresses in new patterns, her color combinations were lively and she offered a retro take on dressed-down glam in short caftan shapes or boxy cropped tops over slim pants and heels. But sometimes, all you need is a simple sweater and skirt. And that’s where the Missoni star shines brightest.
Max Mara: Classical tailoring has always been quintessential Max Mara. But the house’s design team is keyed-in enough to know that traditional jackets and suits are not sending women into shopping frenzies. So they took a more sportive direction and opted for innovative fabrics and modern cuts. There were plasticized denim jackets over matching pants, as well as tan cotton patch-pocket blazers worn over matching flared pants or Seventies-print silk dresses.
Even moire was given a coating of high-tech plastic for snappy raincoats in mulberry pink paired with beige cotton bottoms. On a girly note, the delicately beaded halter dresses, silk blouses with ruched sleeves and the sexy one-shoulder dress completed a chic and pretty collection.
Sportmax: This show was like taking a vacation. Think Miami Beach, Capri, Maui and every hot beach in-between. From the safari hats to the squashed-back boat shoes, the collection was as easy as a breeze and filled with a riot of color and prints. Fun-loving girls can roll out of bed and head for the beach in skimpy striped cotton sundresses, football T-shirts worn with printed wrap skirts and T-shirts pulled over flower-appliqued bikinis.
It was all effortlessly tossed together, an attitude that carried over into night as raw-edged white denim vests sprinkled with sequins topped black miniskirts, and leather vests slipped over shorts with appliqued graphic motifs.

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