Moschino: Call it the Moschino caper. Extrapolating a theme from this collection shown on Thursday required some major sleuthing. There were caped jackets galore: in plush fur, in natty caramel plaid and another done up with a nod to the nautical. There were moody, vintage-y taffeta party dresses prettified with mashed rosettes. There were military coats with patch pockets as well as a smattering of bad-girl leathers. Looks spiced up with giant metal studs were countered by those that came drizzled with glittery rickrack.
Creative director Rosella Jardini certainly got the creative juices of her design team flowing this season, resulting in a smorgasbord of fashion.
A little of this and a little of that, and, though there were some perfectly fine clothes to be plucked out of the mix, the collection lacked a cohesive point of view.
Max Mara/Sportmax: Now that spring’s safari romp is over, the folks at Max Mara have returned to the classics for fall. On this runway, the coat reigned supreme in either black, white or both — when done up in exaggerated houndstooth or plaid. Perfect, because a well-cut coat is what this house was built on. A white alpaca version was opulently trimmed with fluffy tufts of mink, while a meaty cashmere trench sported a turned-up collar faced in patent leather. Some of those beauties, however, suffered from distracting fringed trim sprouting from their pockets. Are you more of a sweater girl? Not to worry, a cable-knit cashmere dress covered in little pom-poms made for a perfect après-ski ensemble, while nighttime knits sparkled with rectangular paillettes. The other evening option: a lean crewneck sweater paired with either a full skirt in houndstooth jacquard or ruffle-hemmed taffeta.
The design team at Sportmax looked to classics of a different sort, iconic fashion statements through the ages from jolly old England — a bit of Victoriana, the teddy boy and Biba girl. The turn-of-the-century cutie sported looks ranging from a sweet ecru chiffon tea dress with ruffled, piecrust trim to a black satin cocktail dress with swirling and glittering Art Nouveau decoration. The teddy boy worked androgyny in black-and-white tuxedo jackets paired with slouchy men’s trousers and striped socks, while the swinging Biba girl was the most garish of the bunch, with a billowing gold lamé dress or bathrobe-style coat. Perhaps some decades need not be repeated.
Blumarine: Anna Molinari has never witnessed a wardrobe crisis she couldn’t wittily solve with a great sweater worn over a floaty, flirty little something. For her fall Blumarine collection, she turned under the hems of powdery floral dresses for a little flounce action and paired them with girly cardigans, each decorated with tiny stacked lace ruffles, bits of ribbon and embroidered bouquets. Cropped fur hoodies and shrunken shearlings added a sportif je ne sais quoi.
It was all meant to play up a Marie Antoinette motif. Well, that theme was hardly transparent. What was all too plain, however, were the undergarments worn beneath Molinari’s gauzy evening dresses, which dampened her fun Francophilic vision with a little too much I-see-London-I-see-France.
Antonio Marras: The show ended with a group of models perched on boulders against an autumnal landscape like a bunch of gussied-up damsels in a turn-of-the-century painting. Like many designers, Antonio Marras mines the past for ideas, but any retro nostalgia evaporates quickly as he shapes those influences with a modern hand.
This time, the theme was Queen Victoria goes to Russia. That translated into a lineup of pretty girls — their hair pulled back in small braids — all lavishly wrapped in opulence. They luxuriated in exquisite czarina embroideries, fluid peasant shapes paired with boxy jackets, Cossack-like fur flourishes and belts, floral prints and a happy-to-be-here color palette.
Standouts were a rose-patterned white coat bordered in leopard-patterned fur over a floral printed dress; an astrakhan-trimmed boxy jacket in a washed-out print topping a mint green beribboned prairie skirt, and for hip czarinas, sequined camouflage pants paired with printed jackets or a black brocade jacket over shredded and jet-beaded jeans.
Iceberg: Now that Giambattista Valli, the former designer at Ungaro, is codesigning the Iceberg collection with Paolo Gerani, one was curious to see where that joint effort would lead. Well, it looked exactly as if two cooks prepared one concoction. The collection started off strong with chic military looks and dressed-up fare fit for a gangster’s moll, and ended with a questionable lineup of body-grabbing disco garb that would be better suited to the street than the runway.
The two strongest groups highlighted shaggy fur jackets over olive green cargo pants, and fur-trimmed silk bombers over black minidresses, followed by cool and confident femmes in fedora hats, ultratailored white coats, pencil skirts, wicked stilettos and black sunglasses. It’s hard to believe that the same chicks would slip into those satin numbers in bubble-gum colors. Too many cooks.
Pringle of Scotland: It’s a big year for Pringle of Scotland, a double celebration, in fact — 190 years in business and the 70th anniversary of its iconic contribution to fashion, the twinset. Hoping to capitalize on the momentum the brand has achieved since Stuart Stockdale became head of design in 2002, the firm has forgone the long-suffering London Fashion Week in favor of the international audience of Milan.
For fall, Stockdale imagined a latter-day Highlands lass, but not the literal sort. This girl’s kilt comes in floaty cantaloupe chiffon, while her argyle diamonds are splashed across a cozy vest worn over a flirty beaded cocktail number. There was plenty of cashmere, of course. This time around, Stockdale worked the soft stuff in a variety of ways. Whether yoked, latticed or covered in faux pearls, these are the sort of sweaters girls love. Pringle is really looking good for its age!