milan gets super turnt up
Roberto Cavalli spring/summer 16
There's a great feeling of rivalry in Milan this week. Around the dynastical Italian fashion houses, things are changing, designers are joining, and everyone's pining for that elated Gucci reaction—not least its own designer, Alessandro Michele, who might be fashion's new favorite (the Gucci store is literally filled with editors and buyers stocking up), but suddenly has a lot of hype to live up to. On Thursday, MSGM's Massimo Giorgetti had his runway debut at Emilio Pucci, the job he got last season when Peter Dundas went to Roberto Cavalli. Dundas, in turn, had his big unveiling on Saturday, and stuff got pretty intense in old Milan, like some nail-biting fash-off between giants and their new guns. What all three of them - Michele, Giorgetti, Dundas - have in common is their proposal of very defined looks. Gone is that generic Milanese glamour. In its place are directional styling, statement pieces and quite loud fashion. It follows a rhythm seen elsewhere in the fashion landscape, which can only be described as fun. Dumb as that sounds, for one reason or another - and there's no point in forcing a political reason for it yet - the season sentiment seems to be about fun and frivolity, of course with that ever-present shadow of gloom. You can't really have one without the other, and as we know, it's a cruel world.
At Emilio Pucci, Massimo Giorgetti's strategy was literally to pile it on. "Got a hunchback?" as James St. James famously said in Party Monster the Shockumentary, "throw a little glitter on it." There were no immediate hunchbacks at Pucci, but there were enough feathers and metallic effects to have covered them up. It was pop, almost like something out of those periods in the 80s and 90s, respectively, when pop stars went kitsch and cartoony—you know, like The Culture Club or Aqua. Case in point: a top constructed like a transparent plastic pocket with tons of multi-colored feathers in it. Entirely different as the Gucci collection on Wednesday was to that, Michele's pink stars and florals and glitter and sheen embodied a similar sense of fun—and the more the merrier. (In the rumored words of Donatella Versace, who actually used the word "fun" to describe her collection on Friday, "Less… is really just less, darling." Amen!) On Saturday, it was cherub-haired Peter Dundas' turn to dazzle, and boy did he dazzle. "There are different ways of making a woman feel powerful in the way she dresses, but the shoulder gives a certain silhouette that felt right for me," he said backstage, referring to his Dynasty shoulder bonanza of a collection. "I did them with short skirts, so it goes with having a strong upper body. There was a lot of leg!"
Toned down was the nature-centric poetry of Roberto Cavalli's own aesthetic (forever the James Cameron of the fashion industry), turned up was the fun power-dressing that Dundas does so well. There were elements of 80s Yves Saint Laurent and a certain Milanese sense of contemporary Saint Laurent, too. Not that it looked like the latter, but all the fancy denim and rock 'n' roll leather, spank-me mini dresses and sex-bot ruffle numbers had that take-your-pick sensory overload to it, which Saint Laurent has had so much success with. "It was, for me as a designer, exploring things I haven't done so much before," Dundas said. "Sometimes I want change, and I wanted an evolution for the Cavalli girl as well, and ease her up a little bit using materials and treatments I felt were fresh. Hopefully there was youthfulness to that as well. Every girl from fifteen to eighty wants to feel youthful, no?" The denim, he said, was his way of highlighting the nowness of his debut collection. "It was a starting point for Roberto and me; something we talked about when we first talked about me joining the brand. I wanted to pay homage to that, but also use something that just felt right for this moment."
Later that day, Milan veterans Dean and Dan Caten upped the fun factor further at DSquared2 with a terrific collection pricelessly titled #diamondhead, where tie-dye and abundant embellishment got crazier with every look, immaculately capturing the pleasurable spirit of this season's Milan. If you needed a caption for it, the first paragraph of the show notes delivered: "Sporty, flirty, tough, the traveling Dsquared2 femme of next summer rides the perfect set by day, and by dusk, is dressed up for the party of the season. Her wardrobe is detailed with her penchant for surfing and couture." Sometimes you've got to just ride the wave of fun.
Text Anders Christian Madsen
Photography Jason Lloyd Evans