Gucci pre-fall 2016
A mastery of maximalism and a fast-rising new gen of design talent in Italy could see the Parisians playing catch-up, says Claire Maclean.
Giulia Tordini, Gilda Ambrosio, Diletta Bonaiuti, and Chiara Capitani
Chiara Ferragni and Candela Novembre in Fendi
Gilda Ambrosio and Giorgia Tordini
Prada pre-fall 2016
Chiara Ferragni in Fendi
Bottega Veneta pre-fall 2016
It’s rock’n’roll renaissance, ’80s renaissance, street-style renaissance, bourgeois renaissance, chinoiserie renaissance,” Gucci’s Alessandro Michele said of his fall/winter 2016 collection at the brand’s show in Milan in February. He might very well have added Italian renaissance.
Only a few years ago, Parisian style was held ultimate fashion look to aspire to. Whole books were on the minimal way Frenchwomen groom their hair, they keep the same high-quality blazer for decades would rather die than fall victim to trends.
It was a minimalist doctrine that fit with the financially uncertain times, as well as the strippedback fashion aesthetic popularised by Phoebe Philo at Céline. Still, it was only a matter of time before designers grew tired of restrained, tonal elegance.
Enter the Italians and their pitch-perfect brand of maximalism. A little over a year ago, JJ Martin, an American living in Milan who is an unashamed cheerleader for her adopted city via her website La DoubleJ, told me, “Italians don’t know how market themselves.” Well, it would appear they’ve fixed that problem. Thanks to Maria Grazia Chiuri Pierpaolo Piccioli at Valentino and Alessandro new vision for Gucci, an optimistic, individualistic yes, decorative celebration of femininity has cast over the rest of the fashion world, including which showed its Métiers d’Art collection in in November, and the producers of Zoolander chose to film there. And as evidenced by Gucci’s final-quarter sales bump of five percent, consumers enthusiastic for dramatic cape dresses, powdery-pink ruffled tops, slightly bonkers turbans, brocade loafers and bold stripes as they are for Elena Ferrante’s blockbuster Neapolitan novel series.
If this sounds like the type of fashion-victimy look Parisians despise (according to all those style books, anyway), it truly isn’t. One only need turn to a new crop of Italian street-style stars who are championing Italy’s next generation of establishment designers including Marco de Vincenzo, handbag Paula Cademartori, Aquazzura’s Edgardo Osorio, Massimo Giorgetti for MSGM and Emilio Pucci, and Stella Jean, well as the country’s venerated brands such as Fendi and Prada. Think stylist and Attico co-designer Gilda Ambrosio’s neopre- Raphaelite look, made up of lush velvets, graphic fringe coats (Marco de Vincenzo) and tie-front robes (Sportmax) or model Candela Novembre’s subversive take on Milanese “sciura” look via textured furs, pencil skirts and cropped sweaters, as well as richly coloured pussybow blouses and embellished top-handle bags.
And their posse of friends is no less stylish, from Luisa Via Roma’s Diletta Bonaiuti, who likes to fuse sportswear and elegant tailoring with distressed denim and so-bad-it’s-good fire-engine-red leather, to the Tordini sisters, deft hands at elevating understated outfits with unexpected prints and textures. The one thing all of these women have in common is they know when to pull back: A straight-from-the-runway Fendi piece might be paired with trumpet pants, or a printed jumper over a ’90s-inspired denim skirt. It’s less about mixing statement pieces with basics and more about a finely tuned balance of and texture that tells the eye exactly where and when Now that’s something to aspire to.