Sep 18, 2014
Fashion royalty watches as Gucci takes fans on 70s trip
Sep 18, 2014
MILAN, Italy - Gucci took an audience sprinkled with fashion royalty on a mind-expanding trip back to the early 1970s on Wednesday as the global style powerhouse unveiled its 2015 spring/summer womenswear collection.
Skirts were cut above the knee, or shorter: always an encouraging sign if you believe the old maxim about global stock markets tending to rise in tandem with hemlines.
Prints had a slight psychedelic edge to them and there was a bit of a nautical/pirate theme running through a set that included plenty of embroidery and gilt-edged, oversized buttons on short-cut jackets featuring a range of exotic materials including python and Mongolian lamb.
There was also a range of three-quarter length, flared trousers and tight-waisted trench coats in an eclectic mix the company itself dubbed "kaleidoscopic glamour".
Gucci's creative director Frida Giannini has long been a fan of the hippy era and she gave full vent to that particular enthusiasm, to the apparent approval of a front-row featuring Kate Moss, US Vogue editor Anna Wintour and glamorous Monaco royal Charlotte Casiraghi.
Casiraghi, who is a top-level showjumper, has long been an ambassador for the company's equestrian line of clothing and she has now become the face of its cosmetics collection, which was making its catwalk debut here.
Elsewhere, there was much interest in the collection presented by Angelos Bratis, the latest young designer to be taken under the fatherly wing of Giorgio Armani.
The 36-year-old Greek's mastery of dresswear is seen by some to be sufficiently impressive for him to be considered a potential successor to the 80-year-old Armani, should the dean of Italian fashion decide to hand over the creative leadership of his global style empire.
Anxious to make the most of the additional interest generated by Armani's sponsorship, Bratis restricted his show to a small selection of sensual evening dresses in featherweight textiles including crepe de Chine and silk twill.
Many of them featured bold geometric patterns and vivid splashes of colour, offsetting the generally understated palate of the materials.
Bratis said he had deliberately opted for a pared-down collection to make the most of his moment in the spotlight to promote his own singular style.
"There has been a lot of pressure and it has been a lot of hard work," the designer told AFP. "But Mr. Armani chose me because I have my own style and that is what I wanted to show.
"With all this attention from the press and buyers, I wanted to show to the people who don't know Bratis, what Bratis is.
"In one show they get all the codes - that is why I limited everything to only dresses, only technique."
With Milan's position as the undisputed centrepoint of global high-fashion perceived to be under threat, it badly needs the world to embrace the likes of Bratis and other young designers seeking to make their mark in a landscape dominated by designers well past the age of retirement.
The competition is getting stronger all the time. New York is punching harder than ever on the back of a Stateside economic recovery that so far has eluded Italy and the rest of the eurozone.
London has ditched quirky-bizarre in favour of quirky-commercial and Paris is, well, Paris.
In what has been seen as a sign of the times, this fashion week will not, as had become traditional, be brought to a close by Armani.
Instead the master of sartorial understatement has opted to show his eponymous collection on Saturday, apparently out of concern that the most influential opinion makers in fashion may slip away early, before the week officially wraps up on Monday.
According to media reports, Armani's decision to pull out of the final day prompted some other leading houses to stamp their stilettos and insist on following suit, a state of affairs which has given the week a lop-sided look with the sixth and final day dedicated to new talent and devoid of a marquee name.
Bratis, who was born and raised in Greece but studied and then honed his craft in the Netherlands, is the latest in a series of young designers who have benefited from Armani's sponsorship, following in the footsteps of other promising emerging talents including Stella Jean and Julian Zigerli.
Stella Jean's latest collection was well received with the upcoming star - who is half Haitian - going even further than Gucci did in her blending of materials in a bold Caribbean-influenced range of colours.
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