SICILIAN GLITZ, GLADIATOR GALS AND GOOD SPORTS
DOLCE & GABBANA WAS A GLITZY, RACY ROMP; KARL LAGERFELD COINED SPARTAN CHIC FOR FENDI, WHILE ALBER ELBAZ WENT ON A SPORTIF SAFARI FOR KRIZIA TOP.

Dolce & Gabbana: Sicilian glitz, cowgirl glitz, punk glitz, the best Madonna moment of the week — and steam to spare. Believe it or not, by Dolce & Gabbana standards, it made for an understated affair. And a delightful one, filled with clothes that will keep those registers ringing overtime.
Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana are selling up a storm. In the collection they showed on Thursday, they got right to the business at hand, opening with a bounty of second-skin black dresses that couldn’t have been sexier — a provocative hole or two here, racy laces there, plenty of those naughty exposed bras they love. They also showed off their tailoring in curvy suits, but just enough to remind everyone that is one of their signatures.
The pair preferred to linger with their other themes, where they made a few points about the feminine psyche. For example, a Dolce cowgirl could never, ever get the blues done up in her beaded and fringed suede pants. And inside every punk chick dwells the soul of a super starlet — so how better to dress her than in similarly dazzling jeans, ripped up and safety-pinned back together?
As for Madonna, a few seasons ago, the boys celebrated the heavenly one. This season, along with so many other designers, they paid tribute to the earthly version. But instead of merely sending up one of her Eighties looks, they took a more novel approach: Madonna T-shirts, worn with pants. They also showed some snazzy coats, including spring’s new indulgence — warm-weather fur — flippy floral skirts and a sexy micro-mini finale, in which big, fancy Western belts gussied up very little black dresses.
What made this collection work was that the designers kept all the stuff — and there was plenty — under control. While last season, the glitz just spun out of control, here Domenico and Stefano knew when to say when, and it made all the difference.

Fendi: Everyone knows that Karl Lagerfeld is a man of many moods. And sometimes his thought process is of the cryptic sort. For example, what were the brain waves that channeled from clean-and-fresh sportswear to an out-there gladiator drape fest in a single Fendi collection?
In Lagerfeld’s presentation on Thursday, early indications were that he intended to tone things down after two seasons of glorious excess. He opened with a pair of belted shirtdress rompers under jackets — not quite minimal, yet on the classic side. But look again! Those back-to-front belts — normal one way, morphing into huge metal ellipses on the other side — would turn into a theme. Still, Lagerfeld worked through his sporty urges with a bounty of diversity: coats and pants, a suit with knee pants, great little jackets in leather and suede, adding in plenty of aggressive accessories to punch up the look. (The most bizarre: a long chain attached to a shoe, so a girl can keep herself on a leash.) Along the way, Lagerfeld eased into classical mode — drawstring necklines, some one-shoulders, increasingly complicated multilevel hems and layers — finally exploding into an all-out army of spartan chic.
To be sure, many of Lagerfeld’s warrior babes — and there were legions — looked beautiful, with dresses shirred in front, draped in back, some in inviting earthy tones. While the mixing of themes eventually created too much conflict, in the midst of all the generic clothes out there, at least none of these girls will have to stoop to conquer.

Krizia Top: The fashionistas were curious. With three tumultuous seasons at Saint Laurent behind him and a sad departure after the Gucci takeover of YSL, what would Alber Elbaz be up to at Krizia Top? And what, in fact, was Krizia Top? Would there be a Krizia Bottom looming in the near future? On Wednesday night, they got their answers. When the first dynamite outfit — a spotted pantsuit and criss-cross halter bra — prowled down the runway worn confidently by Alek Wek, the message came across loud and clear: Elbaz was back and in top form.
In an ironic twist, he took the ideas of Africa and safari — revered YSL staples — and presented them on a cast of black models, another Saint Laurentism. But in this premiere outing, Elbaz very smartly made these themes his own. In the past, the designer proved that he can create great sportswear, and here it all was again — crisp cotton shirtdresses, made rugged with a man’s low-hanging leather belt; tailored pantsuits; cognac suede dresses that draped and knotted on the body and animal-printed chiffon blouses with khaki swing skirts, all anchored by beautifully handcrafted rope sandals and amber jewelry. Absolutely refreshing, especially after the frenzied parade of Eighties mania on the runways this season. Oh, about Krizia Top — the new line will be priced approximately 30 percent higher than Mariucci Mandelli’s Krizia collection. And no, there are no plans for a Krizia Bottom.

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