MILAN — High-voltage sexpots, haute hippies, boardroom pinstripes and lots of glam. Milan designers offered it all for fall, as they approached the season in an upbeat mood.
Borbonese is one of those accessories houses that made the foray into ready-to-wear a few years ago. And this season, designer Alessandro Dell’Acqua delivered a heavy dose of glamour in a collection filled with acid colors, lots of fur, sexy shapes and funky accessories. No wallflowers here. Dell’Acqua tossed shaggy fur coats over silk satin dresses in bonbon colors and mixed such items as fur vests, knits, paper-bag trousers and safari jackets cinched at the waist with thick brown belts. Zebra-print ponyskin shoulder bags with big metal buckles and slouchy burlap totes appliqued with semiprecious stones completed the look.
Genny went for the sex-in-your-face Eighties look. There were chain mail minis a la Versace, little zip-front neoprene tops teamed with mink vests or diamante numbers that glittered beneath mock-croc bomber jackets. Jersey minidresses were jazzed up with jewel-encrusted waistbands.
It was sexpot dressing at its trashy best — or perhaps, at its worst.
Over at the Hotel Principe’s salon prive, Edward Buchanan and Manuela Morin of Le Flesh staged their first runway show. They dabbled in proper English looks that included slim belted cavalry jackets, leather circle skirts and velvet pants tucked into knee-high boots. The duo then spliced in a bit of Seventies soul with tassled boots, knitted angora HotPants and colorful fruit prints. This promising label, now in its third season, has youthful energy and a cutting-edge vision.
Maurizio Pecoraro took the plunge and staged his first runway show since he started his company three years ago. From the outset, Pecoraro has garnered plenty of editorial attention with collections that tapped into the season’s trends but reworked them in a soft, feminine way that never looked forced, and fall was no exception. The designer mixed Seventies soul with romantic prairie girls and Russian czarinas, but the references were never tricky or overdone — ruffled necklines, gentle smocking, ruched cuffs, a crushed velvet top, an appliqued flower here and there. He put his girls into tailored coats with frog closures and passementerie piping, panne velvets, dresses with tassled rope belts and shaggy fur vests worn over beaded peekaboo blouses.
The bustier may come and go in fashion, but at La Perla, for obvious reasons, it’s a mainstay. In her second collection for the house, designer Steinumm Sigurd paired her bustier looks with fuzzy bottoms and knits, chunky shearlings and the furriest of furs. Satin bra tops peeked out of black leather jackets, mohair cardigans were tossed over bustiers and pencil skirts, while cappuccino-beige shearling coats were thrown over beaded silk and lace camisoles and angora skirts.
Bally designer Scott Fellows stuck close to the company’s leather heritage and built a collection around Seventies-style silhouettes. That meant cool leather blazers, a great buttery yellow trench and A-line skirts. Big furs added a certain swagger, while comfy knits rounded out the collection.
Tough times aren’t exactly the best moment to fiddle with a tried-and-true formula, so Piero and Miriam Cividini took the better-safe-than-sorry route with their Cividini collection for fall. They didn’t even attempt, for that matter, to give their sweaters an edgy spin. Instead, the collection focused on classics and traditional tailoring, opening with navy blazers, coats and ankle-length skirts. Among the notable items were fur-collared boxy coats, long suede skirts spruced-up with polkadot silk blouses, red shearling vests and fitted leather jackets.
Tailored looks also reigned at Antonio Fusco, who thinks that, in uncertain times, “both people and fashion need clarity and focus.” That translates into salable clothes. Fusco has tailoring in his blood, now more than ever, and his collection was built on that tradition — think black coats, pinstriped pantsuits and pencil skirts. This season, he managed to put a bit more oomph in his outerwear, which included lacquer red wool coats, fur-lined hooded styles, persian lamb vests and black blazers jazzed-up with leopard pattern fur cuffs.
Loro Piana is another company that tenaciously hangs onto tradition. Chairman Sergio Loro Piana’s chic wife is the muse at this house, and the collection suits the kind of busy woman who easily balances family, career and weekends at St. Moritz. No fashion follies here, just handsome luxe classics that endure. Among the newest fall items — a cable-knit turtleneck subtly detailed with mother-of-pearl buttons at the shoulder, a chalk-stripe navy peacoat and Loro Piana’s beaver-lined Icer jacket that is wind- and waterproof, and has a removable ribbed cashmere collar.
Luisa Beccaria is a romantic at heart, and she chose an elegant stuccoed palazzo to show off her fairy-tale looks. There drifted her delicate chiffon dresses in paisley patterns and soft velvet Empire styles. And when her romantics have to face the winter winds, Beccaria proposes suede coats and perfectly tailored tweed suits.
Gigi Vezzola is thinking texture this season. For his Samsonite Black Label collection he dabbled with a whole range of tone-on- tone and textural options. Popcorn knits played off geometric quilting and patchwork, while coats melded thick, rugged knit and shaggy fur. Vezzola worked it all in classic shapes with a Seventies aesthetic, which included a multitude of culottes in tweed, suede, satin and just about anything else he could get his hands on.
Stephan Janson alternated heavy tweed suits and patchwork coats with featherlight chiffon and satin dresses for a focused collection that looked fresh and wearable — so wearable that he asked some of his patrician Milanese friends to model for him. The designer also proclaimed the aviator cap, which had showed up on Giorgio Armani’s runway earlier in the week, the must-have accessory.
With images of the company’s old press clippings projected on the walls, Voyage — according to one headline, “The most pretentious shop in the world” — sent out its first runway collection. “Rule number one is be exclusive,” an emcee crowed over the sound system. Perhaps now that the company has joined forces with Falber, it’s time to join the real world. The clothes designers Tiziano and Louise Mazzilli showed — leathers, ravaged chiffon dresses and whip-stitched denim — were the sort that might get some Montana trucker panting.