FAR AND AWAY
FROM FUN AND GAMES AT MOSCHINO TO DAINTY, RUFFLED ROMANCE AT MILA SCHON, A LITTLE BIT OF ESCAPISM GOES A LONG WAY.

Moschino: Ironic mockery has been the backbone of the Moschino collection for so long that any attempts at humor — the Wizard of Oz, senoritas, etc. — no longer amuse. But that doesn’t stop the team of designers from trying. So, at the Monday show, out came the first look — a mock Chanel tweed suit, trimmed in tapestry bands. No big surprise here until the audience realized that Ines de la Fressange, Karl Lagerfeld’s former muse at Chanel, was modeling it. Lagerfeld, it seems, was also in on the joke. The T-shirt worn with the suit carried this message, signed by the designer: “Moschino n’est pas un style, c’est un pastiche!” Translation: Moschino is not style, it’s a mess!
Style or mess, there were plenty of both to choose from. How about a model swathed in an asymmetrical dress, replete with strait-jacket buckles? It screamed John Galliano. Or the parade of Pocahontas-inspired suedes: tops with gauzy pouf sleeves and long skirts; tiny baby-doll dresses; tunics with folkloric embroideries. Then there were peasants and gypsies in tapestry knickers, layered floral skirts and washed, vintage-style cable knits that looked straight out of the one-dollar bin.
Moschino also delivered a message for these uncertain times, spelled out plainly on a tea-stained T-shirt: “Luxury is Relative.” And in this economy, that’s no laughing matter.

Mila Schon: The house’s design team doesn’t cotton to cutesy, girly looks, but this season, there was a whiff of femininity blended in with their signature Tough-Chic message. The hard edges of sculptured shapes were softened with cutout lace motifs and discreet ruffling. From day into evening, the delicate detailing appeared on almost everything, and, when it wasn’t on the clothes, it found its way onto the accessories, from belts to boots. A dainty, ruffled border peeked out from the hem of a cream leather skirt, while the neckline of a chiffon T-shirt was adorned with cutout leather lace to match the sexy leather pants it was worn with. Sometimes, it slithered up the front of a simple, bias-cut dress or was haphazardly sewn onto vintage-treated jeans. In tough times, a touch of romanticism is more than welcome.

Etro: Veronica Etro took her accolades in a crisp white shirt, tucked into blue jeans, making one wonder why she didn’t inject that less-is-more attitude in her spring collection. Instead, she did layers, layers and more layers. The starting point was the scarf, at times printed in the house’s signature paisley, which Etro fashioned in a gazillion ways: in flowing handkerchief dresses, off-the-shoulder tops, tapered pants tied at the ankle and even bunched together around the waistline, tutu-style. Etro did shift her focus with tailored looks in shiny striped shirtings that had a Seventies flavor. It was all vibrant and jazzed up, but one longed for more simple ensembles like the raspberry cutaway jacket and pants with a gold brocade belt or the white, side-zip biker jacket worn with slim pants. After all, those are the clothes that keep Etro fans coming back for more.