THE NEW YORK COLLECTIONS for fall ’09 were fabulous. The Paris Collections were terrific. But nothing quite equals Milan. Nothing. Like it or not, the Italians have an expert hold on the fashion market with their exquisite craftsmanship and incomparable design sensibilities.
This year was no different from any other. Milan captivated, despite the recession, tight money and wary buyers. Milan was above it all. Oh, what clothes! What accessories!
Belts led the accessories walk in Milan, used on coats, suits, dresses, everywhere. Some were wide, others skinny little things. Some were leather, others fabric to match the outfit they accessorized. They brought a refined focus to the waist, which stood out at Versace, Bottega Veneta, Salvatore Ferragamo, and more major design houses.
Handle Bags Still Hot
BIG HANDBAGS continued to make news, too, although a number of designers scaled back the sizes to medium. Most were handle bags, carried like luggage. Shiny materials and leathers prevailed, along with luxurious, but less flashy hardware. An interesting bag at Versace featured chain wrapped around the handle base; it was a dark silver, very rich, very obvious, but also, very subtle, something Versace rarely is these days.
Big sunglasses and little tams were also important on the Milan runways. Lots of knit wraps gave a cozy look to a number of fashion outfits. At Missoni, a tan wrap circled the neck and then hung down the front of the outfit almost to the floor. Tan leg wraps furthered the Himalayan-like look.
SUNGLASSES CONTINUE TO GIVE A DAZZLING ITALIAN LOOK TO OUTFITS. TRY THESE FOR EDGY FINISHING TOUCHES:
- Bold plastic framed sunglasses with polished black or white frames for a look of Roman nobility.
- Aviator sunglasses with tinted lenses. Real international intrigue!
Tan was generally an important color for fall, but nothing quite compared to black and gray. These two colors led every collection, often spiced up with sequins or other flashy embellishments or shiny materials for a more luxe, more glamour look.
At Ferre, for example, a black and grey striped suit in shiny material with black leather belt and little black fur collar stood out dramatically. Gucci was, as always, cleverly chic and sexy, with tight black pants, tall boots, and a shiny black leather biker jacket, Racy!
OF COURSE, ITALY could not fail to offer up some bright colors, in true Italian fashion. A shiny bright orange belted coat at Prada was good looking and very Italiano.
On the accessories beat, Italy gave no indication that there is a global economic crisis in existence. Indeed, Milan was rich with shoes, handbags, eyeglasses, and jewelry that often mesmerized with unstoppable flourishes and style. Boots with super-high heels remained important here. Flat riding-like boots were gorgeous in the richest leathers possible, mostly equestrian brown and black.
TRY FOR THAT ELEGANT ITALIAN LOOK BY ADDING THESE PRODUCTS TO YOUR MERCHANDISE MIX:
- Italian charm bracelets with interchangeable stainless steel links. Beautiful color!
- Rich Lucite bangles with elegant European flair. Great colors: Bright orange, green, yellow!
HANDBAGS RAN FROM glitzy gold and silver (shine) to simple, clean-lined leather pieces of remarkable line and substance. One bag from Valexta, a brownish red hobo, had such direct, simple and sophisticated lines, it might have been a museum art piece. Just incredible!
Some two-tone shoes showed up at the market, along with two–toned bags, such as Robert Di Camerino’s smallish red and black shoulder bag. Animal prints were also big, as in Jimmy Choo’s terrific zebra-patterned high heeled shoes.
Of the majors showing here, the design house of Dolce & Gabbana was perhaps the most far-out, with a surreal presentation in which one thing looked like another and nothing was quite what you might expect it to be. Gloves were used as scarves and hats. Shoes mimicked a woman’s profile. Tricks and games abounded. Lots of trompe l’oile added lightness and fun.
Underneath it all, however, there were some real fashion messages for this very moment. Like big, broad shoulders, such as we’ve already seen in New York and Paris. Belted dresses. And Marilyn Monroe retrospectives, with her face emblazoned on skirts and t-shirts.
Sex and Versace
Versace was sexy. Of course. Dresses were hot here, mostly body skimming, in soft seductive materials, and belted. Gowns were elaborately draped, and body revealing. All very, very Donatella.
Karl Lagerfeld for Fendi went strongly medieval, with lots of fur and Joan-of-Arc memoirs. Black was his major color. Leather bustiers were strong. All this darkness was offset by some vibrant crimson red, startling against the bulk of the collection.