Present and correct, a catwalk alternative in Milan

Alexander Fury

It’s a sad fact of fashion week that you become obsessed with what’s happening on the catwalk. The schedule becomes a diary to live your life by – you can only eat, sleep and think in the gaps between shows. If there’s no gaps, you’re doing none of the above.

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Looks from Marc Jacobs spring 2014 menswear collection

But it’s not the only option for showing clothes. A few designers go off the rails (or rather, onto them) and showcase their clothes through intimate presentations. Sometimes that consists of a mini-show in itself. PRs have coined the nausea-inducing phrase ‘showsentation’ to describe this. It’s less a portmanteau than a literary Frankenstein’s monster. Hopefully it needs no explanation.
Sometimes there are models, but not always – there’s nothing more uncomfortable than watching models adjusting their weight from foot to foot and trying to avoid deep-vein thrombosis while standing around for an afternoon in designer duds (most presentation slots last at least four hours). Fendi’s latest menswear collection was practically a catwalk show, models marching out onto a sandy path (as I can tell from the images, I was on the way back to London then). Marc Jacobs takes a typically anarchic approach, inviting press into the showroom in the midst of shooting their lookbook images. This season, they hit on the same strain of Blue Hawaii hibiscus-printed kitsch as Prada, playing with florals, madras checks and bright shades of kumquat and azure blue.

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A nylon poncho and shorts from the spring 2014 Marni collection

Marni didn’t have models, shooting lookbook images and blowing them up larger than life, and leaving their garments on the rail for the press to flick through. There’s always something seductive about that – probably its similarity to shopping. But you also get to appreciate the textures of the textiles and the interesting finished. Conseulo Castiglioni this time played with nylon in giant poncho shapes (great for Glastonbury) and hardy rucksacks, and she also had some neat tailored pieces in Japanese denim with a satisfyingly crunchy texture. Marni showcased the collection in their new space on Via Umbria, a change since they Marni was acquired by Only The Brave, the company owned by Diesel magnate Renzo Rosso who also has control of Viktor & Rolf and Maison Martin Margiela.

  • shimkusj

    Nerdish, indeed.

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