MILAN MOVES ALONG
EVERYTHING CAME UP CHERRIES AND ROSES AT DOLCE & GABBANA, WHILE GIANFRANCO FERRE GAVE UP HIS FLOURISHES AND IN-YOUR-FACE GLAMOUR.
DOLCE & GABBANA: Happy anniversary! It’s been 10 years in business for Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, and the pair seems happy indeed. On a personal note, they’re talking about adopting “a bunch of children.” And on their runway — an admittedly emotional outing — the subject was vibrant roses and animal spots and cherries, along with quite a bit of jubilation. “We’ve done sado and maso, neoromanticism, Forties glitter and hippie, and now we understand what people want from Dolce & Gabbana,” Domenico said before the show. “We don’t want to be trendy anymore. Everybody worries too much about stylists and being hip. There are a lot of unflattering clothes out there, and we think young people need a positive influence.”
But he’s not talking cheerleaders here. This was an amusing come-hither romp in a Tennessee Williams mode — but ditch the Blanche-and-Maggie torment and have some fun. The clothes are based on the lingerie looks Dolce and Gabbana do so well. For fall, they recolored their racy black undies in blush to “represent innocence.” Then they went to town, showing all sorts of printed dresses, most of the hourglass variety — over corsets, bras and garters — and under coats cut in sturdy tweeds or animal patterns without a trace of studied austerity. There were also terrific suits — some on the sleek side, others with a New Look about them.
As for evening, the bevy of sheer fruit and flower dresses over underwear was not to be taken seriously. But it sure was sexy, in a playful sort of way. And that’s what this collection is all about.
GIANFRANCO FERRE: Where were the flourishes? The bravado? All that arch-glam pomp and circumstance? These are the rocks on which Gianfranco Ferre has built his name and his house. And in the collection he showed Wednesday, they were simply missing. Their absence made for an odd collection because, over the years, few designers have been more steadfast that Ferre. Glamour is his grail, and he worships it for better or worse — let the trendy be damned. For fall, Ferre seems to have fallen prey not to trendiness but to fashion ennui. Yes, there were some strong, precision-cut suits, filmy white shirts and beautiful eveningwear, especially in black and white. But Ferre’s typical in-your-face gusto for glamour was nowhere to be seen.
RENA LANGE: At its best, this collection possesses an unfussy elegance just right for busy, sophisticated women. Principals Renate and Peter Gunthert have fixed their gaze firmly on this customer. In the U.S. alone, they have opened 60 accounts since restructuring that business in 1993, and it now accounts for about $5 million (10 percent of total volume), which the Guntherts expect to triple over the next few years. But that’s only part of the picture. Lange currently sells in 19 countries, with 17 freestanding boutiques across Europe and Japan. And no one’s bashful about locations. A new boutique is scheduled to open on the Faubourg Saint HonorA this July — during the couture showings. For fall, it will feature plenty of the attractive, well-tailored suits and curvy knits Lange ladies crave. But as for that mixed-up kid stuff, it simply looks out of place.
ICEBERG: Gilmar, the firm that produces Iceberg, is on the move. In the past year, it has launched bridge lines by Marc Jacobs and Anna Sui, and will soon open a 20,400-foot showroom in New York to house all of its lines. Vice president Paolo Gerani said the firm has already bought a building on East 64th Street, which he expects to open early next year.
Besides Iceberg, the building will also house the company’s other collections — Gerani, Cento X Cento, Sui by Anna Sui, Marc Jacobs Look and Jeans de Christian Lacroix. “We really want to boost our image in the U.S. and emphasize the quality of our products,” Gerani said. And with the new Iceberg collection, Gilmar is headed in the right direction. Marc Jacobs designed the not-quite-basics in a Seventies mode with some great tweed pantsuits, chunky knits and military touches, all styled just right.
BLUMARINE: Sex kittens may have been banished from Anna Molinari’s signature collection, but they’re purring their little tails off at Blumarine. Molinari decks them in lace with leather and shrunken sweaters strung with sequined fringe, as well as some mock-lady looks, because life’s not all fun and games.