Massimo Dutti's minimalist moment in Paris
In fashion, as in finance, there are certain bellwether stocks. Brands whose performance predicts the future. And, when it comes to clothing, one of these is Massimo Dutti, which staged its debut Paris catwalk show before an august audience of editors and influencers in the Palais de Tokyo Thursday morning.
What did this show suggest about the future? That women will wear clean, minimalist looks this summer. Devoid of handwriting or loud logos, not remotely ironic and eschewing athleisure, this show was a salutary lesson in less is more. High fashion may be dominated by the Instagram driven; look-at-me, multi-era, maximalism of Gucci – but when it comes to what many women – and men – will wear to work and play this summer, this Massimo Dutti show spoke volumes.
For the gals, calf-length plissé linen skirts topped by chiffon wrap shirts; leather jumpsuits cut as safari jackets; waffle linen military shirts; extra large canary yellow cotton pants paired with dusters; flowing governess gowns. Barely a single print in sight, except for a hyper-large big cut look.
All in the colors of a Texan desert, since the show was staged before the brand’s latest ad campaign, shot in Marfa, Texas by photographer Josh Olins, inside the famed art foundation of Donald Judd, America’s most famous Minimalist artist.
For guys, Prince of Wales linen suits; white cotton/linen blend blazers; and a smart tobacco-hued suede safari jacket – like the one worn by brand executives backstage. Two true See Now Buy Now shows; where the collections were available online and in selected flagships as soon as the show ended just before 1PM CET.
Though its name is Italian, the brand is Spanish. Massimo Dutti, in effect, is a trademark as there is no such designer. Founded in 1985, the brand is owned by the Spanish giant Inditex, the owner of Zara.
Last spring, Massimo Dutti staged its first runway show in Madrid. For its Paris debut the brand flew in scores of fashion honchos to its front row; from influencers like Jeanne Damas, Tamu McPherson, Candela Pelizza and Eleonora Carisi; to editors from China, Italy and the Iberian Peninsula.
“Why are we in Paris? I’d say for any fashion brand, it’s the one place you have to show. It’s a question of prestige for our brand,” smiled Jean-Jacques Salaün, the the General Director of Inditex France. The group is notoriously secretive, however, Inditex France passed the one million euro in annual sales mark back in 2015; while Massimo Dutti is understood to have worldwide revenues of some €1.7 billion. Massimo Dutti boasts some 20 French boutiques, very deliberately concentrated in high foot traffic locations in major cities, such as rue Royale or rue de la Paix in Paris. The secrecy extended to this show, where there were just a handful of accredited photographers and a mere four film crews – tiny numbers for a catwalk show in a prestigious venue like the Palais de Tokyo, with an expensive model casting.
“Of course, we are proud of Inditex. Zara is the world’s biggest fashion brand; while Massimo Dutti produces great affordable clothes. They might not be haute couture, but we Spanish have Cristobal Balenciaga, who invented couture. Didn’t he!” laughed Yolanda Sacristan, Editor-in-Chief of Harper’s Bazaar Spain.
Though based outside Barcelona, the label's women’s designer is Italian Damiano Biella.
“Our idea was to make a very clean, clear statement. Almost minimal, which is why Donald Judd and Texas made so much sense. We may not make super directional fashion. But I believe our fashion has a clear point of view,” said Biella backstage. Hard to argue with that after today’s show.
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