Monday, January 18, 2010


Designers on the second day here in Milan found inspiration in various aspects of modern youth culture. At Bottega Veneta, creative director Thomas Maier gave the models a rockabilly makeover with bolo ties, hybrid patent leather creepers, and pompadour hairdos. He transformed lowly sweatpants into richly colored sartorial masterworks, and double-strap combat boots into gentlemanly footwear wrought of only the supplest calfskin. The structured sport jacket, always a signature of Maier’s collections, had its silhouette adjusted. The shoulders grew more natural, creating a boxier shape around the body—sure to be a hit among the core buyers.
Anyone who has spent time in the East Village can tell you that “gutter punk” is not usually synonymous with sexy. But Roberto Cavalli’s runway show brought the look to a place of sensuality. His secret weapon: leather. He wove strips of hide into cropped riding pants, and laser cut intricate paisley patterns into motorcycle jackets. From afar, it was generic punk, but up close, it was a true triumph of manufacture.

One collection that took just the right amount of artistic license was Prada, an apt description for which might be dweeb chic. The models sported bowl cuts, the shoes had exaggerated kilties, the sweaters were shortened so the button fronts pants worn underneath poked out at the waist, and the close-cropped suits were cut from stiff fabrics that accentuated the endearingly awkward walk of the models. The boys were flanked by similarly dressed but more overtly confident girls—it reminded me of The Big Bang Theory, a CBS sitcom which recently had billboards all over New York. A rumor went around that the 1970 film Love Story informed Miuccia’s inspiration. But she wasn’t saying. Regardless, a love story between those clothes and the audience was irrefutable.
Bucking the trends of the day, the Salvatore Ferragamo show went lux for lux’s sake. The outerwear, especially the duffle coats—some of the best I’ve ever seen from the house—featured details both subtle (like the two horizontal charcoal stripes on the white one) and bold (like the shaggy night watch plaid of another). Clean lines and chunky knits were the order of the day, and some scarves were so big they threatened to swallow the models whole. In the end though, no models were harmed.

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