Fashion Week Smackdown: Paris vs. Milan

October 6, 2007 • Magazine

Fashion Week Smackdown: Paris vs. Milan

Fashion Week Smackdown: Paris vs. Milan

Sat, 2007-10-06 11:00

Who Won the Battle for RTW Spring ’08?

Joanne Molina, Senior Editor

It started with NYC, continued in Milan and as I type I’m still waiting for more Paris shows to start and end — the fashion week whirlwind. And while trends usually work backwards (starting across the pond and trickling their way back to the US) we tried to guess which city will be bragging that their collections made racks and backs this spring. We took three collections from each city to see whether we’ll be saying arrivederci or avoir. Who won? My bet is on Paris.

Miuccia Prada. Neo-Art Nouveau. Sexy Swirls and Gothy Glam Girls.
There’s something about her eyes. Dark and lovely she appears to be a moody creature… happy perhaps as the sun is just about to go down and the evening events begin. She’s daring, thoughtful but still a bit shy, perhaps one traditionally feminine trait. Whatever she may be Miuccia Prada’s spring 08′ woman was certainly conceived in response to more of the geometric Deco trends we saw this past fall and even a bit in the spring shows. Per usual, Prada’s response to the trend du jour is to ask about its feminine counterpart — this time the swirling and playful circles and spheres of Art Nouveau — sans the Victorian timidity. Excellent.

Jil Sander. Minimalist Magic Makes Jil Sanders the Best in Show
Simply stunning. Jil Sander’s spring ’08 collection is breathtaking. Sincere, simple, and yet provocative in its execution and elaborate examination of fabric, color and form it doesn’t shock so much as it inspires. Light and carefree, dresses float down the runway and even ensembles that are layered (many a straight black skinny pant) manage to look lighter than many of his colleagues. Oh, and did I mention that in addition to its amazing aesthetic it’s completely and utterly retail-friendly — something I don’t necessary look for but nevertheless find intriguing when paired with such a smart collection.

Gucci. Gorgeous and All Grown Up
Maybe it’s the ’80s association with unfortunate designers logos and my current confusion with why people still adore Gucci bags, but was caught off guard by this collection: I just adore what Frida Giannini, Gucci’s artistic director, has done with her spring collection. Somewhere between La Dolce Vita and what almost appears to be a ’60s remake she just stole my heart. Sunflower yellow stands its own next to black and white and while the pink and black and white check ensembles tend to be a bit pushy, it really works. Fresh and still and-god-created-woman sexy. Not only would I wear these bold, graphic dresses but I think everyone else will be too.

Christian Lacroix. The Mad Hatter. Christain Lacroix Uses His Head.
This is one of the best collections to hit the runway by far. Lacroix manages to stay interesting and alluring without pandering to some uber-trend, showing a ton of skin or by going for celebrity model “guests” clomping down the runway. Instead the house relies on its innate ability to capture the essence of Paris in the springtime — filled with color, shape, fun and something completely unexpected — hats, ahem. With the exception of shorts and a pair of exemplary swimsuits there isn’t one hemline that goes above the knee — and it still has exuberance and youth, do you hear that grandma jezebels? It’s called style.

Balenciaga. Space Invader Style.
There is some a little unheimlich about this collection — I’m thinking Tales of Hoffman meets Tron. And to think that after reading Cathy Horyn’s blog about the “floral” motif (with one picture that was supposed to represent this whole collection btw) I thought I was in for a garden party of sorts… But I digress and will save my rant about recent Menkes and Horyn reviews for later.

Back to Balenciaga’s spring ’08 collection. Indeed, the almost inhuman beetle-like shapes that are the foundation for the collection are hardly “pretty” and maybe that’s the point. The hard, shell-like demeanor of the fabric is an interesting juxtaposition to what’s usually considered frilly and sweet. Duplicates (automatons?) walk down the runway eventually transforming themselves into robotic figures and lose almost all evidence of their femininity (note the turn to the pants). Is this really the future.

Dior. Puttin’ on the Ritz. Dazzling at Dior.
This is what you wear when you want to dress, not simply put on a dress. Galliano’s RWT collection for Dior is simply stunning — not an ode or interpretation of old school glamour but a complete embodiment. (And this includes his strange diversion into a 20’s lingerie-style cabaret ensembles). Filled with the lovely curves and angles that make women mysterious and moody Galliano has forgone gimmicks and the lure of being a l’enfant terrible in favor of recalling the pleasure of allure and the titillation that comes from just the right amount of tension between he who gazes and she who looks back. The best I’ve seen so far.

Paris Fashion Week Spring ’08
Milan Fashion Week Spring ’08

Photos: Wireimage

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