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



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Jil Sander’s Psychedelic Toy Soldiers

Godfrey Deeny
June 18th, 2010 @ 00:17 AM - Florence

If any message emerged from three days this week in Florence at Pitti, the world’s leading menswear trade show, it’s that men will be wearing mega bright, high-tech colors next spring, especially if they shop at Jil Sander, which staged a gala show here Thursday night, June 17.

Using a combination of colors that one would normally expect to find inside a box of Legos or at FAO Schwartz – electric violet, shiny orange, Aegean turquoise – Sander’s creative designer Raf Simons whipped up a Pop Art ensemble that dazzled the eyes, even though it was staged at night.

Held in the strikingly beautiful gardens of Villa Gamberaia, a late 18th century neoclassical villa east of Florence, the show featured 45 models wandering around the bushes and intricate pathways before stomping down an 80-yard lawn.

Simons pulled no punches when it came to brights; he even color co-ordinated outfits with shoes whose soles were in fiery red or indigo blue. Nor did he hesitate when it came to advanced fabrics – between high-tech waterproof cottons and nylon taffeta.

His show underlined a major trend here – bright 1960s hippie flower power looks, though updated by modern technology. For instance, Simons showed several great white shirts with outrageously large single floral prints, which on closer inspection turned out be amalgams of several flowers, like roses or orchids, morphed together in a Photoshop computer program.

The clothes were so intensely tinted they recalled the brilliant color combos favored by the late, great Yves Saint Laurent in women’s shows, which is something of a compliment to the Sander designer.

Simons is also an extremely savvy tailor, alternating between floating technical trench coats in geranium and light yet super structured jackets in iris where stripes of silver duct tape added cool details and functional rigidity. Plus his glistening zigzag stripe jerseys in an Andy Warhol palette looked like a surefire commercial hit.

The collection picked up on Sander’s fall winter show, which featured thin suits sprouting curly panels that acted as belts, clasps and overlaps. But where the previous season the look was a sci-fi executive descending from a spaceship to sort out the subprime mortgage crisis, this collection was more boy poet in a video game fantasy.

Whether many men will wear the collection as styled in this show remains open to question. How many guys will don nylon shorts with black socks, brogues and a striped sweater? Probably not too many.

However, this vivid psychedelic display, brilliantly lit by lighting designer Thierry Dreyfus – no easy task in a post-sunset garden - will certainly make its mark on men’s fashion, and its ideas will ripple through stylish men’s wardrobes next spring.

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Fashion Wire Daily: The Last Word in Fashion

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