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Ghesquière Departs Balenciaga in Major Surprise November 05th, 2012 @ 00:43 AM


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London Unveils Men’s Season Schedule November 01st, 2012 @ 00:36 AM


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Revenue Soars 22 Percent at LVMH in First Three Quarters October 16th, 2012 @ 00:18 AM


Rykiel Names Geraldo da Conceicao Artistic Director September 21st, 2012 @ 8:12 PM


Brazil’s New London Pop-Up September 21st, 2012 @ 7:20 PM


McQueen Men Returning Home to London September 12th, 2012 @ 7:19 PM


Roitfeld, Mum and Son, Open in Brazil September 07th, 2012 @ 00:54 AM


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Stefano Pilati Back with a Bang at Zegna September 05th, 2012 @ 7:10 PM


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Salvatore Ferragamo: Crusin’ the Louvre June 13th, 2012 @ 11:04 AM


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Sykes Jettisoned by Aquascutum; Maurer In at Rabanne June 06th, 2012 @ 00:18 AM


Armani Conquers China, Chastises the Pope June 01st, 2012 @ 11:53 AM



 
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Three Reasons We Love Milan: BV, Sander and Dell’Acqua

Godfrey Deeny
March 03rd, 2009 @ 00:51 AM - Milan

If anything summed up what a good season it was in Milan it was the contrasting styles and values of three distinctly different fashion houses – Jil Sander, Bottega Veneta and Alessandro Dell’Acqua – whose skill, panache and creativity underlined why when it comes to the heavy lifting in fashion one still holds one’s breath for the collections of Europe.

Many people seemed a tad underwhelmed by the Italian shows that ended Milan Fashion Week on Tuesday, March 3, but the fall 2009 season was all about designers putting in the hours in a tricky economic environment to create clothes of modernist distinction, giving consumers reasons to come back into their boutiques. That was the case for these three diverse houses; Sander, an established designer label enjoying a revival under a brilliant young talent, Raf Simons; Bottega Veneta, a luxury brand under the guidance of a thoroughly self-assured creative director, Tomas Maier; and Alessandro Dell’Acqua, an independent talent who has carved out an admirable oeuvre of sexy style.

Taken in chronological order, the Jil Sander show was a double-header in that Simons began with a homage to the German founder’s characteristic minimalism; before segueing into a highly experimental second act, that did that rare thing in fashion, create genuinely new clothes.

His openers, in regal fabrics like chinchilla and cashgora, was Simon’s way of saying he could revamp or tweak the signature, lean and patrician Sander style, updating it for today. Lapel-free dusters, pencil pant suits, pod jackets and some remarkably well cut overcoats with curvilinear openings, done in bright white, high-tech orange and shiny beige, was a highly astute re-working of a departed designer’s tradition by a respectful successor.

Simons then radically changed gear, a fact underlined by the show lights in primary colors that began swiveling from the show space roof. Raf Simons did “Raf Sander,” in a tour de force of futurist chic that managed to be rather revolutionary, yet plausible too – a tricky balancing act.

Backed by some Galactic groove sounds from ace DJ Michel Gaubert and inspired by French ceramist Pol Chambost, Simons went mega sculptural, with curvaceous jackets with flipped over lapels, dresses with Gaudi like twists and necklines that spiraled around the head. The forms were so audacious they looked like they belonged in the Museum of Modern Art. Like the peach colored wool petal cocktail worn by, now red-haired, Russian model Vlada Roslyakova, or the tulip opening at noon gray and yellow dress donned by Irina Kulikova, this was fashion happily reaching into the realm of art.

And, in a gentlemanly touch, Simons took his bow with Christel von Kiedrowski, Sander’s long time head of atelier, making clear the point that this was a season of endeavor and commitment, not celebrity and froth.

At Bottega Veneta, Maier took a fresh approach with offbeat glamour, quite a departure for a brand that’s always been about understated luxury. The collection was print free, and most of the opening looks seemed like they were made with one piece of fabric, but the creamy coats, mineral twill silk dresses and nero wool dresses with ruffled seams shouted out that this designer had been putting in the draping hours dreaming up something fresh and provocative.

“We’ve had enough negativism to last a very long while; I wanted to be positive with this collection,” Maier said backstage.

As ever, Maier had lots of instant classic accessories, from racy armadillo booties to grape colored woven leather clutches. But what was more striking was the naughty, after hours, coal-eyed and rouged lipped makeup, and even the soundtrack.

Maier’s best looks were his boldest, like a tobacco-hued sleeveless leather cocktails, velvet sheaths with crystal shoulder straps or an elephant pinstripe velvet dress, a pulse-quickening look that would guarantee any lass a warm reception on a first date.

At Dell’Acqua it was “Joan of Arc meets Jerry Hall,” in the inimitable words of the designer who makes the sexiest chic in Italy. Throughout his career Alessandro Dell’Acqua has arguably paid something of price for that, because the vast majority of fashion critics appear to feel a tad uncomfortable by his way-out-there style. If Alessandro has a leit motif it is semi-sheer clothes, like the skimpy and sassy mini dresses with feathered necklines or the see-through chain mail cocktails worn under Patagonia coats that opened his show. His minis in mixes of lightweight metallic plate, chain mail and lace were way too much, but uncannily cool, as this designer took his style into a new realm.

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