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The Byblos collection was inspired by David Hamilton’s young girls…Debora Sinibaldi’s debut collection was simple and charming…and Roberto Cavalli’s Just Cavalli women were ready for wild nights on the town in Bombay.

This story first appeared in the September 28, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Just Cavalli: For his spring Just Cavalli line, Roberto Cavalli had India on the brain. But being Cavalli, this was no gentle pilgrimage. Think neon lights blazing through a waterfall with a techno soundtrack punctuated by roaring jungle animals. Cavalli’s girls don’t visit the Taj Mahal, they’d rather disco hop in Bombay or frolic on the shores of Goa.

Sari-like asymmetric tops in patchwork paisleys came in a riotous explosion of color, paired with jeans sporting either mirrored or rhinestone appliqués and tons of gold or bronze embroidery. Denim skirts were cut full with flounced petticoats peeking out from under. Even khaki safari shorts and army jackets were given the Midas touch when embroidered with golden elephants and ribbon trim. A brightly hued tie-dyed bikini was perfect for when this girl-on-the-Goa wants to take a break from her wild nightlife and get a little sunshine.

Byblos: The house’s design trio took their cue from David Hamilton’s book, “The Age of Innocence,” in which the legendary photographer celebrated the flowering of young girls into women. It’s a theme Greg Myler, Stefano Citron and Federico Piaggi tackled with a well-chosen mix of summer basics, rumpled tresses and sky-high platforms.

Think of sun-kissed beauties, after a perfect beach day, sipping Cuba Libres in a straw hut at sunset. The young girls slip into microknits, printed silk blouses layered over shrunken tops and paired with cotton twill minis, baggy trousers rolled up at the hem or belted pouf skirts. These were served up in luscious fruit-salad hues — avocado green, apricot pink, mango red and papaya yellow — to stand out against a bronzed body.

Mila Schön: If producers from “Behind the Music” or “E: True Hollywood Story” ever decided to do a “where are they now” in fashion, Mila Schön would be a prime candidate to profile. Like many labels that show in Milan, Schön is one of those brands that exists merely because it has for many years. The collection that the design team sent out for spring was perfectly acceptable, with cuffed trousers, belted shirtdresses and scalloped cropped jackets in summer tweed, but it lacked direction and, more importantly, a designer imprint. Schön, now removed from the daily operations of the company, sat in the front row and appeared pleased with the effort. Yet, in an industry that thrives on distinctive images, the staff at this firm needs to do more than serve up clothing pleasantries if it wants to be relevant once again.

Debora Sinibaldi: It’s a rare occasion when a new name pops up on the Milan runways and an even rarer event when that name brings with it perceivable talent. But that’s the case with newcomer Debora Sinibaldi. The Italian designer, who has worked for Gianfranco Ferré and collaborates on Celine, showed a simple but endearing debut collection brimming with colorful layered chiffon tops and smart tailored pants. Florals added a feminine touch to men’s wear fabrics, while graphic linen and a shimmery jacquard gave jackets and coats a modern substance. Although the designer took an unfortunate detour along the existential route — she sent out women holding illuminated cocoon pods to open and close her show — the clothes held their own and lived up to what was promised on Sinibaldi’s invitation: “Dreams are being built new.”

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