Versace Goes “Versace” – Spring/Summer 2012

Seventeenth century Baroque architecture and art was used by the Roman Empire to impress visitors by expressing triumphant power and control.  The Versace name has always lived and breathed Baroque.  While many of the fashion houses are muting or getting rid of colour altogether for next spring/summer, Donatella has cranked up the volume.  Sure, there are plenty of timid grey and beige suits, but even they have nuances of Baroque in the detailing.  SS12 is about classic, raw, in-your-face Versace.  Highlights of the collection included Glen plaid suits, a canary yellow suit (featured in several of the Milan collections), the footwear including the gladiator sandals, the buckled sports jackets/suits, an elaborately studded black leather jacket, the swimsuits, and definitely those gorgeous terrycloth robes.  Versace in all its glory.  A return to vibrant intrepid colours, audacious zebra prints, buckles, shackles, and gold studs –  a return to 1980s Miami.

Versace SS12


Canali Channels India – Spring/Summer 2012

Anna Dello Russo had once told me that she found menswear boring.  So much so, that she couldn’t bring herself to comment on the subject.  I sincerely hope that she was in Milan these past few days because the collections have invigorated men’s fashion and can be categorized as many things, but boring isn’t one of them.

In mid-January, Ermenegildo Zegna presented us with their engaging Fall/Winter 2011 Collection.  A Far Eastern inspired collection, it was designed to entice the growing Asian market.  By tapping into some of China’s historical designs and fusing them with traditional Italian tailoring, Zegna created one of the most astounding fall/winter collections of Milan Fashion Week.  Six months later, history has repeated itself, but this time it’s Canali who has channeled the rich historical fashion design influences of another growing market – South Asia.

Canali’s runway, a vast white pishtaq leading to an arched Mughal iwan was a clear reproduction of the entrance to Taj Mahal.  Striking handsome model after model poured out in Indian inspired suits, foulard, Nehru collared shirts, reworked slippers, and even a Ganesh-print tote.  The subdued pastels calmed the senses during the first part of the show which culminated in a climactic barrage of vibrant jewel-coloured suits and embellished tuxedos.

Canali’s SS12 collection provides a healthy mix of South Asian looks that run the gamut from conservative contemporary to abstract traditional.  Subtle South Asian detailing is found in the slim fitting ensembles.  Tailored two-piece suits layered over white T-shirts, silk scarves, and light cardigans for the conventional.  More traditional Indian looks featuring reinterpreted kurtis, churidars, and Indian slipper ready for the daring.

I’ve never been to India, but there are many beautiful pieces in this collection that I would definitely wear.  Definitely one of the top three collections to come out of Milan this Fashion Week.

Canali SS12

Golf Prada Style – Spring/Summer 2012

Sports have always been an influence in fashion and fashion has been a huge factor in sportswear.  Lacoste, Fred Perry, Convers, all examples of sports apparel companies that have transcended the tennis and basketball courts to take on a life of their own with immense success.  The reverse is also true.  Thom Browne’s recent collections for Moncler Gamme Bleu have found inspiration outside of the ski world dabbling in the worlds of fencing, cycling, and royal dog showing (is that even a sport?).

Miuccia Prada is apparently no exception. Turning to the sport of golf for Spring/Summer 2012, she lined the room with green AstroTurf and attendees, seated on blue cube-shaped golf tees became the golf balls.  The collection was 100% golf, but Italian style.  Traditional golf plaids were reworked into something more befitting of the Mediterranean male.  Then there were the bombastic floral printed shower curtain trousers and jackets that I guarantee will get you banned from every respectable golf course.  The powder blue suits were very cool.  The Prada bowling shoes?  Uglier than a domestic altercation at the Tiger Woods residence.

Loving the Adventures of Tin Tin looking illustrated prints, a close second to the suits.  Perhaps the coolest and most creative in collection had to be the spaghetti western cowboy jackets and shirts studded with rhinestones.  The thought has crossed my mind that these pieces go beyond simple golf inspiration, a marketing strategy to draw attention to Prada’s new line of golf clubs and golf bags.  Alas, therein lies the cha-ching.

Prada SS12

Bottega Veneta’s Epic Mash-Up – Spring/Summer 2012

Tomas Maier had more mash-ups in store for Bottega’s Spring/Summer 2012 Collection than Robin Skouteris’ latest mix album.  Denim and leather fused together delectably like the chocolate and peanut butter in a Reese’s Cup.  It didn’t end there.  The mash-up mayhem also included Neapolitan three-flavoured ice-cream coloured bags, Fidel Castro X Mao Tse-Tung Cubano-Chinese communist shirts and jackets, and Italian trousers and dress shirts treated in American hippie tie-dye.  What drugs was this dude on?

The Creative Director explained the diversity of the collection as an influence of the Arab democratic uprisings.  There wasn’t anything Middle Eastern that I could make out, but perhaps he was talking in the metaphorical sense of Arab culture meeting Western culture?  The ultimate mash-up.

The acid trip continued with loud check suits clashing against more practical grey two and three-buttoned ones.  Brilliant summer Creamsicle suits in lime green, electric blueberry, and white coconut – a pleasant jolt of seasonal colour.  Highlights of the collection?  The denim-leather S&M gear, Creamsicle suits, Neopolitan ice cream bags, and some funky geometric patterned sweaters all rocked.  I’ll skip on the tie-dye.

Bottega Veneta SS12

Roberto Cavalli’s Playboys – Spring/Summer 2012

A semiannual favourite of mine is Roberto Cavalli’s men’s fashion show.  Held outdoors this year, in the garden of Milan’s beautiful and historic Palazzo Serbelloni, the Spring/Summer 2012 Collection was a tribute to men’s casual Italian sartorial elegance at its best.  Cavalli’s SS12 collection looks reserved for the privileged and audacious few.  Playboys rich and alpha male enough to sport Cavalli while off stepping their yachts and disappearing into the nightclubs of Saint-Tropez.

Aggressive suit jackets in single and double-breast variety donned wide Tom Ford-like lapels and tapered waists.  At least one of Cavalli’s double-breasted jackets took on an attractive Lanvin-styled cut – a look that’s definitely growing on me. The colours were blinding – valiant cobalts and ultramarines, unapologetic neon fuchsias, and rich tropical mango cadmium yellows slap you in the face.  Carryovers include SS11’s colour-blocks, braided leather belts, tasseled tan loafers, and white suits.  Making their début at the house of Cavalli for next spring/summer are the stripes which are back and bolder than they’ve ever been.  For the most part, classic Cavalli leather, python, and crocodile prints are used sparingly on belts, shoes, and jackets.  I love this collection.  If there is an Achilles heel to the collection though, it’s in the tuxedos.  Sadly, for me, they come off more like American lounge lizard than sophisticated Italian.

Roberto Cavalli SS12

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