There are few better weather vanes for changing times than the fashion industry, whose sensitive antennas quickly pick up on a mood and design accordingly.
Just think of the Gay Nineties, the somber 1940s the happy day 1950s. A similar reflection is happening for the summer of 2009, with designers opting for relaxed styles in stressed times.
Monday, the first full day of Milan Fashion Week’s preview showings for the spring-summer 2009, top designers including Giorgio Armani, Missoni and Burberry preferred laid back to outlandish, with the accent on elegant but easy clothes.
The summer palette also reflects the chill-out mood also seen on runways in New York, with muted shades ranging from sandy beiges and pinks, to earthy greens and browns.
The Milan womenswear fashion week, a semiannual event of the best in Italian ready-to-wear, ends Friday and includes among its packed calendar of over 100 designers such top names as Prada, Gucci, Versace and Dolce & Gabbana. The fashion crowd then moves on to Paris.
Giorgio Armani described his collection as "a joy to wear." From the latest Armani jacket, lined in chiffon and long enough to gently brush against the hips, to the featherweight cocktail dresses and soft, sequined eveningwear, the collection was all about airy elegance.
As the models stepped lightly down the runway in delicate high-heeled sandals or soft slippers they gave the impression of effortlessness. Nymph-like hairstyles and romantic beaded jewelry completed the dreamy look.
Armani opened his new flagship boutique on Milan’s tony via Montenapoleone with a cocktail party attended by Cate Blanchett, who also took a front-row seat at the show.
Angela Missoni, who received the knitting needle from her parents Tai and Rosita, has slowly been steering the company away from pure knitwear in incredible patterns to an all-around fashion label. Next summer is no exception.
Reflecting the current mood for easy styles, Missoni opts for sporty elegance, with long skirts, loose pants and short shirt dresses the favorite looks. Tops are often knitted in the latest Missoni patterns, including an intricate basket weave. Angela prefers her eveningwear elegantly strapless, but keeps it sporty by replacing sequins with studs. Her summer palette is earthy, with a preference for leaf green and wheat yellow.
Focal point of the collection is the waistline, high or low, but almost always cinched by a sturdy leather belt.
It may be many a season that Christopher Bailey, Burberry’s hip designer, has shown on the Milan runway, but he is still steeped in the culture and traditions of the British Isles, which means another round of trench coats for next year’s rainy season.
Coincidentally his water wear, which comes not only in proper cotton, but also in wrinkled or embroidered silk depending on the time of day, fits nicely into this round’s easy-dressing theme. The coats are paired with simple shirts and skirts.
The venue for the show, a 16th-century downtown Milan palazzo, was misleading. As models came down the runway sporting floppy hats, wooden jewelry and high-heeled sandals worn with cotton ankle socks, you knew this show had little to do with the town, but was all about the country.
Article images courtesy of the Fashion Spot forums.
Header courtesy of Splash News