Milan Fashion Week Spring 2014: Pucci rolls with the punches, Sander gets serious and Moschino brings the house down
We haven’t had much fun this season, honestly. Designers seem to be taking it all very seriously. Which is fair enough. Fashion is a business – it makes £21 billion in the UK alone. Here in Milan, where we’re sliding into the penultimate day of the Italian leg of the international collections, there finally seems to be some genuine joy emerging in the collections. Versace was wonderful – not so much in the innovative new materials and rich prints, the glistening Medusa heads banging against the sternum of Donatella’s hyper-groomed models, although all that was good enough. The great part was that the clothes – and Donatella – didn’t take themselves too seriously.
Compare and contrast with Jil Sander, who intellectualised everything from pinafores to platforms (“soft plateau shoes” they called them). There wasn’t much joy there, even though the clothes were fine enough and, I’m sure, will be worn by many women. But it didn’t get your heart pumping.
Peter Dundas had a romping, stomping show for Emilio Pucci, sexy and sporty and rich, smothered in embroidery, including a macro aertex crusted with beads and crafted into streamlined evening dresses, leather running shorts and umpteen gold-studded wrestling belts. Activewear was the ostensible theme, but these looked like clothes for an Italian soccer teams’ terribly fashionable other halves – the Spag WAG. It was whole-hearted in its take-no-prisoners vulgarity. And it was great, inconsequential fun.
Fun brings us, inevitably to Moschino, who celebrate their thirtieth anniversary this year. And if you thought Pucci was romping stomping fun, it paled in comparison to Pat Cleveland careening down a catwalk in a look from the first ever Moschino show – ruffled red dress with paper bag of French loaves and a black stetson. It took her a full ninety seconds to make it to the first turn, such was the high camp posing going on while the audience cheered (yes, genuinely cheered).This was a great fashion show, first and foremost, beginning with Moschino models past – Pat, Violetta Sanchez, Amalia and Gisele Zelany – modelling archive pieces, including the famous teddy bear dress, to riotous applause.
It then segued into Moschino’s actual spring.summer 2014 collection, themed around good and bad girls. Oddly, that chimed with Miuccia Prada’s many faceted women, although Moschino dumbed it down a little. That’s no criticism: this was a big, dumb Moschino collection in the house’s glorious tradition, witty, light-hearted and instantly recognisable. It was revitalised and energising. Frankly, it was a joy to watch.
Logo-emblazoned bags and belts, the hyped-up glistening gold accessories, the slogan t-shirts, all reference the early nineties styles Moschino helped to invent, styles younger designers and consumers are falling on with glee. Rosella Jardini is a canny woman: she picked exactly the right moment to delve into her archive and remind us just how great all those Moschino hits still are. Thank god, the audience agreed: Jardini was greeted to a standing ovation, round after round of applause accompanying the models. It felt like something you just don’t get to experience anymore.
Jardini also gave us some feeling, some true soul. It’s rare in fashion generally. Before the show a film screened of house founder Franco Moschino, created shortly after his death, capturing a few of his witty aphorisms and the man himself having fun, the fun the house is known for. It was heart-felt, warm and loving. It made you happy to be there.
As for the second helping of soul, that came courtesy of seventies songstress Gloria Gaynor, who emerged at the end as the audience clamour reached a crescendo (Vogue Japan’s exuberant editor-at-large and creative consultant Anna Dello Russo was on her feet dancing already). She sang “I am What I am,” but could equally have belted out “I Will Survive,” both of which are entirely applicable to Moschino, and indeed to Italian fashion as a whole.
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