Milan Fashion Week: Alberta Ferretti and Cavalli from Fausto Puglisi
Alberta Ferretti and Fausto Puglisi showed contrasting visions of femininity; one based on crochet and craftsmanship, the other on posh punk rebellion, as Milan Fashion Week suddenly gathers major momentum.
Alberta Ferretti: Influencer heaven
Looks like Alberta Ferretti really enjoyed her summer, for her collection for next spring marked a welcome return to form for the popular designer.
And, a significant reduction in target age for the brand, with lots of easy to wear yet sophisticated clothes for special moments.
Staged in the handsomely restored double-column cloisters of San Simpliciano in Brera, the show attracted a strikingly pretty front row – with scores of influencers. Outside the cloisters, thousands of fans competed with street photographers for shots of Ferretti’s female followers, with the most intense paparazzi feeding frenzy caused by German internet star Caro Daur.
Alberta’s key idea was sculpting airy fabrics around the body, especially gathered chiffon in soft turquoises and violet seen in ravishing long halter neck dresses held together with semi-precious stones.
Alberta also played on a posh-hippie theme with multiple crocheted looks – fringed, knotted and always moving. Used in short dresses or longer sheaths and paired with centurion sandals or lace-up platforms.
All told, a brilliant display of Italian craftsmanship and a great choice of material as society carefully exits the pandemic and women search for clothes that are light and easy; sexy and flattering.
And a collection ideal for the it-gal influencers that have found a new home at Alberta Ferretti, who had her cast led by new mum Gigi Hadid and who posed en masse inside the cloisters’ garden for a graceful finale.
In the designer’s words, next spring’s clothes are all about “the ability to live the present time and respond with sturdy lightness.”
Cavalli: Suburban rebels under a Tiepolo fresco
Milan’s big runway debut this season was at the house of Cavalli, where Fausto Puglisi staged a kicky and respectful homage to the house’s DNA allied with his own newer urban nightlife twist.
Cavalli is a brand that was born on a printer, so Puglisi went into print overdrive – sending out magnificent tiger prints – life-sized heads emblazoning flared trouser legs or rock-star jackets in a co-ed show. Before segueing into a series of leopard print cat-suits and leotards worn with zebra print jackets and dusters or cheetah print blazers.
“Roberto was a god with animal prints. Christian Dior was too, even with real leopard back in the 1950s. But by the 1970s Roberto had this American hippie allure that I loved,” argued Puglisi, in a chaotic backstage.
Back in his heyday, Cavalli was one of the top three selling European designers in many American department stores and one senses under Puglisi the house is poised for renewed growth in the United States. But four years ago the house teetered on bankruptcy.
However, after Puglisi unveiled his first collection on a video in July, starring Mike Tyson, he received large orders from America’s key fashion department store Neiman Marcus.
Puglisi definitely likes tough chic – showing a quarter of punk rock cocktails all in black. Multiple looks in Wednesday’s show were anchored by leopard booties with golden talon heels; claws, pincers and hooks were sewn onto perforated black T-shirts and punky boots. Though, recognizing the current obsession with comfort, Fausto also showed chunky sandals with lion head studs, as the cast marched on raw pine boards laid over the terrazzo floor of the storied palazzo.
“Roberto Cavalli was all about the sexy woman, but I want to think about a wardrobe of separates where every kind of women can find something. The beautiful flared '50s skirts; jacquard dresses; flared pants that are so comfortable,” said the Sicilian-born Puglisi of the Florentine fashion house.
“There is no sense of glamour without suburbia, everything that is rebel comes from there. I don’t like the Cote d’Azur, or the Italian Riviera, I like Brooklyn. This collection is for America,” stressed Puglisi.
His show, staged before a select audience of just 250 due to social distancing, also marked the third change of designer since the founder retired in 2015. But, unquestionably, this was the first that was instantly recognizable as Cavalli.
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