Mariella Burani has two constants in her fashion equation: uptown chic and luxe gypsies. Sexy Italian actress Maria Grazia Cucinotta started off the gypsy theme this season in a long, black, tiered fishnet dress and a lace veil wrapped around her head. She was followed by a whole caravan load of them flaunting ruffled and bias skirts paired with clingy knits or ruffle-front blouses and layered, tiered dresses full of lace insets. Floral prints, appliqued silk roses, big cross necklaces and thick wool knee-highs topped off the look. When she’s tired of roaming, Burani’s nomad heads for town wrapped in plush fur coats, miniskirts, beefy wool coats with velvet shawl collars and genteel tweed suits trimmed with fur.
Last December, Exte and Antonio Berardi, the brand’s creative director for four seasons, parted ways. It seems that IT Holding, Exte’s parent company, is trying to build the firm’s image, and Berardi’s trashy-fairies-and-punk-queens look wasn’t quite what they had in mind. So now, an in-house team has taken over, but that doesn’t mean that things were strictly commercial. The show opened with a group of giggling models smoking, drinking champagne and talking on their cell phones. These are the kind of girls who like to turn heads. They tousle their hair, pull on black shades and strut their stuff in roomy cardigans, nonchalantly worn off-the-shoulder, low-slung pants tucked into lace-up boots, leather biker jackets worn over bare skin and coatdresses slit mighty high. The color of choice? Black, of course.
As for Alessandro Dell’Acqua, he clung to his signature parade of frothy chiffons and sequined numbers, but this season, he gave the looks an uptown sportive spin with lots of fur coats, longer lengths, pants tucked into high-heeled boots and cashmere jogging pants with a satin band down the side. Even his use of lace was toned down, as trim on a belted sweater dress or detailing necklines of ruffled silk blouses.
All that glitters is gold, at least at the Lawrence Steele show. His black cloth-covered runway was ablaze with gold and metallic touches, from an all-gold getup — strapless top over pants, cinched at the hem — to a metallic and wool waffle skirt beneath a fur coat and plenty of sparkling turtlenecks peeking out from shrunken bomber jackets and straight-legged pants. His head-to-toe gold fever (skull caps to strappy sandals) was occasionally tempered by such pieces as a short white wool jacket or a sleek black fur coat.
Stephen Fairchild, for his part, created an opium den tableau right in the center of the Sheraton Diana Majestic bar to introduce his fall collection of Asian gangster girls. With eyes painted turquoise, lips a bright red and hair pulled into geisha styles, they lounged around in kimono-sleeved coatdresses, black-and-white, spider-web print dresses and black pants and tops with jewel-encrusted sashes. It was more like a party on the Orient Express than a fashion show, however, since the audience was also lounging around in the smoke-filled room sipping exotic drinks and nibbling egg rolls.
The ladies who lunch turned out in all their jeweled and furred glory at Carlo Tivioli’s show, and the legendary Italian furrier didn’t disappoint them. He sent out luxurious, luminous, colorful furs that were belted low at times to create a roomy effect on top. Tivioli is a master craftsman, and he works his furs like the elements of sculptures, cutting them into small feather-like pieces. Each coat, whether it was mink, fox or ermine, had a fluidity and refined softness to it. The presentation obviously pleased Tivioli’s devoted clients, one of whom was moved to tears during the finale.