FROM SUPER-SEXY LOOKS AT ROBERTO CAVALLI TO PUCCI’S SUN-AND-SAND STYLES, TRUSSARDI’S ROMANTIC LEATHERS AND BALLY’S LITTLE MINI NUMBERS, THERE WAS PLENTY TO CELEBRATE AS THE MILAN COLLECTIONS BEGAN TO WIND DOWN.
Roberto Cavalli: Ahhh-aaahhh! Me Tarzan, You Jane. Okay, she didn’t quite dangle off a vine. But neither did Roberto Cavalli’s brazen sexpot blush when she worked her wealth of leopard prints for all they’re worth in a jungle-meets-rocker-meets-biker motif. This tigress is on the prowl and hunts her prey in dresses made of shredded animal-print chiffon, layered over white lace in a primitive, haphazard way. And she won’t venture out without heavy necklaces and belts made of shells, feathers, tortoise and mother-of-pearl plaques.
Cavalli certainly didn’t rein in the theme, showing innumerable variations instead — a spotted bikini under a laser-cut suede coat with flower embroidery; a leopard-print micromini getup finished with a fox fur — from head to tail — around the neck.
But even this jungle girl can get nostalgic for the urban life, and when she does, she goes for biker jackets, cut small but tough in metallized electric blue leather or with second-skin embroidered and beaded jeans. It was all charged with Cavalli’s wacky razzle-dazzle elevated to the nth power, packed with all the elements on which he built his fashion reputation, and it’s certainly not for the tame.
Pucci: Those unmistakable swervy, curvy and fractal prints come with a lot of baggage. The Pucci image means sun, sand and not taking life too seriously, and while in the past some designers have tried to take the look in a different direction, it was never much fun. In his second collection for the house, Julio Espada provided the perfect homage to the Pucci legend with hooded terry coverups that closed with wine-cork toggles, short-shorts, a tankini and matching broad-brimmed hat, cotton shirts and low-slung skirts. Simply done jersey dresses were true classics; sexy, loose and short, but Espada also exploited the house’s campy side. Harem pants came in swirly chiffon, while fuller-than-full lounge dresses were cut as big as tents. If you didn’t like these looks the first time around, then you certainly won’t like them now. But humor was what the line was lacking, and shouldn’t it be a little silly? Meanwhile, the beach bags and plush towels were all so seriously fabulous that it might be worth booking a vacation if for no other reason than to put them to good use. With so many airlines in trouble these days, Espada is certainly doing his part to promote jet-setting.
Trussardi: This time around, Beatrice and Francesco Trussardi did exactly what they should be doing: good-looking leather clothes. Instead of biker garb or Mod chic, the siblings took the romantic route with discreet ruffles and ruches on otherwise clean shapes. They also worked a subdued version of flower power with daisies inserted into leather and suede jackets, while the tiny embroidered doll patterns recalled Peruvian handicrafts. The Trussardis showed smart control in trim blazers, slightly nipped at the waist, ruffle-front short suede dresses and elegant belted coats, some with tone-on-tone floral imprints. And throughout, the designers softened the leathers by pairing them with breezy silk blouses or languid jerseys, printed or solid. In addition to small shoulder bags, the clothes were accessorized with sporty, suede-brimmed hats designed exclusively for Trussardi by Philip Treacy.
Bally: This season, Scott Fellows relied as much on a compass and T square as on needle and thread. A band of perky little equilateral triangles in black and white set off the waistband of his skinny pants, while colorful wedged triangles — you guessed it, isosceles — were spliced into some of his suedes. A boxy jacket and pants were cut in a gridded fabric, and a minidress was pieced together from hinged leather squares. But in a season when softness and light has ruled the runway, math is a tough sell. The geometric angle worked best when Fellows left Pythagorean theory to the profs, and unfortunately that didn’t happen frequently enough. Pieces that added up to cool: low-belted minidresses, a pale gauzy top with sharply done darts and a slinky jersey dress with an interlocking neckline.