Can you ever be too joyful? Empirical evidence presented at Salvatore Ferragamo’s fall show suggests maybe you can.
For the collection he showed on Sunday, Massimiliano Giornetti looked to the Dada and Bauhaus movements and artists Hannah Höch and Oskar Schlemmer specifically, he said backstage, how rigidity and functionality contrasted with the “playful combination of different materials, the shape and the joyful spirit that’s behind the artwork.” Finding in that contrast parallels to the work, the color, the sharp lines, the zigzags, Giornetti was off and running to a land of clean lines and endless color.
The intensity radiated from the ground up, the floor, steps and runway lacquered in pink, blue, yellow, black and white variegated stripes. Not going to lie; the steps were a little disorienting to a clumsy person, but made for a feisty alternative to Milan’s typically more sober venues, whether of the crumbling-grandeur or ultracool, black-walled variety.
The flooring presaged a regimented cacophony of loud color in precise assemblages — stripes, zigzags, car-wash flaps, godets. A tiered knit dress featured bold blocks of gold, white, royal blue, violet and black. Multitoned skirts came with zipped-together godets. Vibrant zigzags spliced otherwise two-tone sheaths, splashed up a fur coat and stepped lively on the heels of shoes. On the softer side, lovely silk slipdresses with pleated skirts bordered, blocked and buttoned for graphic wow.
One on one, many of the clothes were strong. Giornetti cited in his program notes “an aristocratic woman with a maverick streak,” and indeed, plenty of well-heeled women who shun the boredom of dressing down will love the designer’s approach, particularly the knit dresses, graceful in their bravado, the slips, and some appealing outerwear. But the color works came with a relentlessness that wore thin, even if Giornetti laced in shots of black and white. And in the end, Giornetti’s ode to joy veered manic.