As fashion marches forward, some designers walk the runway alone and others traipse down the aisle hand-in-hand with a partner. I thought you, dear reader, might find it interesting to take a look at the Spring 2011 offerings from the European runways with a focus on the brands that are co-designed.
Milan was abuzz with chatter about the 25th anniversary of Dolce and Gabbana. In a tribute to wedded bliss, the design duo drew inspiration from the quaint concept of a woman’s hope chest. Bringing this outdated idea into today and the future, they adapted ladylike silhouettes of yesteryear for today’s more sexually liberated woman. The nearly all white collection featured fitted silhouettes that were almost demure overall, until you looked closely at the peekaboo lace panels that revealed the modern woman underneath.
Dan and Dean Caten, the identical twin designers behind D Squared2, are known for their flamboyance in their personal lives and on their runways in Milan. This season’s offerings did not disappoint and the show ended with a bit of cross-dressing. Adapting their coveted men’s tuxedos for women, they offered their homage to YSL’s iconic Le Smoking. The next time you receive an engraved invitation with the words â€œBlack Tieâ€ in the lower corner, consider taking it a little more literally!
Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi carry on the tradition of Gianfranco Ferre, the Architect of Fashion, by creating designs that are grand in their overall presence and devastating in their details. Incorporating python, the latest must-have exotic skin, into woven textiles, the duo amp up the vamp appeal of the brand. Short skirts, plunging necklines and luxurious textiles all combine to form the finest in fashion fusion!
Fendi is the brand that crosses the traditional rivalry between Fashion Capitals Milan and Paris. The only brand co-designed by a native Italian and an adopted â€œFrenchmanâ€, Silvia Fendi and Kaiser Karl Lagerfeld respectively, this brand saw its heyday in the go-go 80s, but is now experiencing a revival with a whole new audience. No matter whether you escape to chilly climates for the Cote D’Azur or the Adriatic Coast, you’ll want you matched luggage packed full of these feminine, flirty clothes in fresh as springtime pastels.
From Paris, Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri, of the venerable house of Valentino, march forward in pursuit of a whole new generation of customers, while still respecting the traditions of the well known brand. While most young women try to avoid dressing like their mothers, some can’t help but incorporate essential elements of their mothers’ style into their own as they enter their fourth decade of life. Ruffles and bold black-and-white polka dots may have been signature 80’s era looks of the mothers of today’s young women, but today’s woman wants ladylike dressing that fits her modern life. For Spring 2011, Valentino offers her exactly what she wants and needs.
Transition is a natural occurrence in the world of fashion, and as we bid adieu to one designer, we welcome another. Jean Paul Gaultier’s swan song at Hermes was as gloriously joyful as Christophe Lemaire’s for Lacoste was here in New York. Lemaire, as you know, has taken the reins of Hermes and is already working furiously on next season. For his last collection, JPG returned to the equestrian roots of the brand and created riding costumes for fashionable fillies the world over. Combining supple leather – in black, cognac and even Hermes’ signature orange – with the lightest of chiffons, JPG’s designs will have you in the Winner’s Circle of the Fashion Stakes come Spring 2011.
While the sudden loss of Alexander McQueen rocked the fashion world, his successor at his eponymous brand entered quietly and gracefully. Fashion’s pundits – myself included – all agreed that Sarah Burton transitioned the brand smoothly into a new era. Still respectful of McQueen’s aesthetic, Burton brought a fresh – some say a more feminine – take on the design. No piece was more poignant or more emblematic of the transition than the butterfly dress. Iconically McQueen in design and materials, the dress is constructed entirely of North American Monarch butterflies, those delicate and delightful harbingers of seasonal change. For anyone who has experienced the annual migration of thousands of these gloriously beautiful – yet sadly short lived – creatures, the symbolism could not be more powerful.
As we transition through fall into winter, know that a bright future awaits us all in Spring 2011. Enjoy the pleasures of layering luxury this fall, swaddle yourself in winter cocoons of cashmere and fur, and prepare to emerge a glorious butterfly next spring!
1. Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2011 RTW
2. DSquared2 Spring Spring 2011 RTW
3. Gianfranco FerrÃ© Spring 2011 RTW
4. Fendi Spring 2011 RTW
5. Valentino Spring 2011 RTW
6. Hermes Spring 2011 RTW
7. Alexander McQueen Spring 2011 RTW