Dress for the Age of Worry

MILAN – What is inflation? Out of all the ongoing global crises that can take over the minds of designers, is this the pain point that is becoming mainstream? Obviously so, judging by Milan’s opening days.

The first day, Diesel’s Glenn Martens Set his show around a quartet of giant inflatable dolls, and then Moschino’s Jeremy Scott turned the whole thing into a pun in 63 looks.

“Globally, everyone is talking about inflation – in housing, food, gas – so I put inflation on the runway,” Mr. Scott said backstage. Perhaps that is understandable. After all, rising prices can change the way consumption is done. And that can hurt fashion. Mr. Scott is just sorting things out.

With pool toys.

Specifically, he turned the life preserver into peplum trompe l’oeil flowers on a mini-tech dress suit; use them to padded lapels to form a bright red bulge heart around the neck or otherwise decorate the little black dresses and power lunches of the 1980s; swap them like feather boas to swap shoulders; and alternatively, use plastic flotation devices (usually in the shape of ducks, rabbits, turtles, and other cartoon childhood friends) to float, literally, the mood.

“You have to save space for fun,” he says. The joy “didn’t waver, but” – he qualified – “isn’t unknowing.”

And it’s not unheard of – Franco Moschino himself has long worn the life jacket in the collection – and is undeniably clever. Mr. Scott is a skillful hand with a visual joke. It’s hard not to let out a giggle or two when faced with a white goddess robe, like something out of an Erté Art Deco sketch, with two giant swans curled up. behind. Or smile in an iridescent blue tulle evening gown with hip-padded water-winged dolphins like panniers.

But it’s also true that Mr. Scott has a tendency to become enthralled with his own wit, and this particular impersonator video goes very close to the line of feeding-them cakes (another opinion). Mr. Scott bent its own end). For many people, inflation and its effects on the cost of living are no laughing matter.

There is value in bringing lightness to the moment, and alleviating fear by making it funny – in providing life rafts of all kinds. But it’s unclear whether selling it as a wearable liner will look good.

However, there is a feeling of sinking or swimming running through the collections. At MaxMara, Ian Griffiths also strolled by the sea, with a selection of wide-leg sailor pants, mid-cut tops and easy-to-stitch jackets of coarse linen, sun-bleached pastels and old Riviera coats. At Emporio Armani, Giorgio Armani paired her aquatic silk gowns and beaded gowns against the backdrop of a never-ending stream.

It’s a way to self-soothe by dressing in an age of anxiety; at Prada, Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons made another proposal. Hire Nicolas Winding Refn, the director of the 2011 action film “Drive,” as a kind of cinematic collaborator to create not a joke, but a mood.

So Mr. Refn built an anonymous house in an unknown place that became their setting, covered with black craft paper with holes cut out in the doors and windows, through which it was possible see different scenes in different rooms. A foot here, an empty chair there – life is just out of reach.

They then send out a Prada wardrobe with built-in flaws, like those that have been empirically beaten and put out the other side.

First, there’s an institutional gray shirt that combines leggings and a button-down shirt. For this are layered boxy jackets and lighter gray jackets. Then there’s a two-tone change like oil black and orange-red lipstick, shades that don’t quite reach the unfinished edges, silkscreen-print wrinkles on top. In addition, chunky knitted sweaters and skirts that cut mid-thigh, layered over ragged white silk and stuck in different places, looking as if the fabric had gotten caught on the edge of the table when the wearer was in a hurry. run over; apron minidresses ruched at the hips and waist; and beautiful paper silks printed with giant flowers and torn up at the edges (like paper walls), revealing the black slip underneath.

In their imperfections is their strength. Like Mr. Scott’s life preservers, they suggest survival, albeit in a more abstract and emotional way.

Finally, a series of black coats and outfits appear, each with a bow that is randomly attached to the back as a form of migratory decoration, the tails sticking out the back hinting at a train. or a sock. Just in case you need to check which way the zeitgeist is blowing.

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