Just when I thought there would be nothing left to drape from our shoulders, bunch up at our necks, and fasten to our pea-coats, out rolls fashion week Milan. The hideous and counterfeited monogram fashions of the beginning of the millennia are officially over, and after almost six years of heightened designer hysteria, 2006 seems to promise order to a potentially disastrous and chaotic trend.
Last year, everywhere I looked people had thrown money away on something redundant and mass produced which was more effectively advertising the amount of money they were exchanging to feel expensive than their personal sense of style. It’s no secret that fashion can be expensive, but what some people do not seem to get is that you simply cannot buy style. If Italy’s top designers have anything to do with it, fashion is thoughtful, organized and custom tailored to each fashionista to prevent any potential imitation.
With Moschino taking the needle and thread literally, funky hats made of gloves and equally intriguing objects made into handbags bounced down the runways. The fabrics were so raw and stiff looking at times my posture straightened. I can’t wait to see how this one trickles down the fashion pipelines into shopping malls everywhere; we all recall a dark moment in fashion, known as the early ’90s when jeans became purses. The show was all together frilly and deeply quirky. I liked the army greens and earthy tones juxtaposed with vixen red lipstick and a cocked top hat. If there is one thing I would like to see Moschino bring to the streets it is the sense of ornamentation. Not one model came out without something draped, pinned or fastened around her. At all costs, even if it’s your grandmother’s curtain cord, do not leave the house without ornamenting yourself. If accessories aren’t your thing, think of your face as one. Red lipstick with army green and intellectual purple was brilliant and highly effective. (Try Yves Saint Laurant Rouge Pur) Run, do not walk, to the consignment boutique and stock up if you haven’t already on scarves, funky hats, more brooches, anything glammy and pile it on, because this look isn’t going anywhere.
John Richmond is a relatively new designer who has created what was quite possibly the uniform of ragazzi italiani for summer 2005. I live in Paris but spent most of the summer in Italy where the look di estate was quite literally a sunglass shield covering most of your face with the diamante encrusted words “RICH” on both sides. Add a mullet and a tan the surgeon general would definitely not approve of, and you’re in with Italy. So I was excited to see what was behind this monosyllabic statement which Italians love to wear on their clothes. You can hardly swing a stiletto in Milan without hitting someone wearing a shirt with random English words like “sex kiss cash glam” graffiti’d across it. I was delightfully surprised by a young and entirely fresh collection of clever and devilishly inventive clothes from John Richmond. The only house I can compare him to is D Squared. He’s come out with his monogram scarves and knickers but I’m willing to look beyond that if you are.
Another trend I noticed in Italy this summer was the baggy crotch pants, and thank god those didn’t catch on. Richmond’s pants, like Dolce & Gabbana’s, were perfectly tapered. If you can’t afford a pair of perfectly tapered pants you have got to take a pair in and have some work done. Gone are the days of excess pants on ladies. If you don’t want to let anything slip under your radar, look out for socks under stiletto’s. Bright socks, too, with the long knee length shorts we’ve been wearing with pea-coats all fall. Luxurious furs were present in almost every show from Fendi to Versace, but John Richmond was the only one who brought it out in the way that I, as a twenty-something, can appreciate. I love a nice fur as much as the next girl, but I won’t wear a mink to a club. A friend of mine used to check coats at a very prestigious nightclub in Paris, and he and his colleagues used to quite literally stomp on fur. Just because they hated their jobs, and the clients they were checking in treated their fur coats like china. I hate to own something so precious, because that almost makes it stressful to wear, thus sucking the pleasure right out of strutting down St Germain in mink. Richmond has made fur street-wearable, which I for one truly appreciate. Look for collars, cuffs and breastplates. There is no need for full these days.
D & G felt dark and Parisian. The clothes were tapered again and very flattering. I wanted to powder my face ghastly white and chain-smoke in an alley with other tapered-suite wearing darlings. Think cropped pants, cropped boots and cropped jacket; accessorized with feminine yet serous and draping jewelry. I love the black and who ever decided to put neon red, blue and yellow hair on the models is a genius. The punk rock well in fashion has not run dry, and there were hints and undertones eluding to a neo-punk comeback in the near future.
Milan is a fashion Las Vegas, and I can accept that some things that happen here will never leave. I appreciate that Milan is free of persecution from some fashion taboos that other cities endure during fashion week. Luxury in all its intricacies is ironically the simplest concept I can think of; can you find pleasure in what you wear? Milan was all about pleasure this season, so go pile on the darling this spring. Again.