Controversy and Sex, Still Possible in 2019. Gucci SS20

Alessandro Michele‘s spring-summer 2020 collection for Gucci had to provoke one’s mind, but in the result it was confusing and sparked an unintended controversy. The first dozen of looks was the exact opposite of today’s Gucci: all-white, unadorned baggy clothes, and some of them were straightjackets that don’t affiliate with anything but psychiatric hospitals from the past. Pale, solemn models moved down the tape in these garments, and one of them – Ayesha Tan Jones – put her palms up so that the world could see: mental health is not fashion. Which I think was a brave thing to do, even after Michele and Gucci instantly published a statement explaining their action: uniforms, utilitarian clothes, normative dress, including straightjackets, were included in the show as the most extreme version of uniform dictated by society and those who control it. It’s hard to tell who’s right now, but in the end, the brand could exclude some of those looks from the entire collection, being aware of how it may be perceived (the statement also mentioned, that the brand won’t be sellingt these garments). The rest of the collection was surprisingly much less Gucci-fied than usual, which I liked. While in the five years of his tenure, Michele’s splendour-bordering-with-kitsch aesthetic seemed to win everything in the universe, the spring-summer line-up was cleaner, even minimal. It kind of felt like a nod to Tom Ford’s sex era at Gucci, but much more exaggerated. To the tune of Madonna’s super sensual Justify My Love, some of the models carried Gucci whips, some wore latex gloves and and sheer nightgowns, there were skirts with skin-revealing slits and dresses that had black and red lace inserts. Part of the collection was heavily inspired by 1970s – big flares, big glasses, satin suits – and it felt the least interesting. Still haven’t made up my mind about the line-up, but there’s one thing I wish to see Michele expand in his fashion: experiment with his personal opposites, style-wise.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Summer Escape. Salvatore Ferragamo SS20

Presented in the beautiful grounds of Rotonda della Besana in Milan, Paul Andrew‘s spring-summer 2020 collection for Salvatore Ferragamo saw timelessly wearable pieces in tonal colour-block pastels, forest greens, piercing blues and burnt oranges. It was Andrew’s vision of a summer escape wardrobe, especially perfect for Italy. The best takeaways from the collection? Kirsten Owen wearing a hooded kaftan and Małgosia Bela appearing twice, in two different over-sized, masculine blazers. How to style them? Well, say bye to biking shorts (hated you anyway) and say hello to over-sized, belted pantalons.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Google, Show Me The Real Jungle Dress. Versace SS20

Unless you took a digital detox, there’s no possible way you aren’t aware who closed Versace‘s spring-summer 2020 collection yesterday in Milan. The soundtrack suddenly got switched off and Donatella Versace‘s voice commanded: “Google. Show me the real jungle dress.” And there she was, the one and only Jennifer Lopez, wearing the now iconic jungle dress, version 2.0., she debuted on the red carpet back in 2000. The dress, the person and the brand that actually launched Google Images, 19 years later, all shined as bright as back then. But other than the Insta-worthy finale, there was of course an entire collection, inspired by early 2000s (and J-Lo, of course). And it was quite pleasing. Sculptural pieces paired with oversized, slashed knits in bright colours; signature metal mesh dresses revisited in the jungle print; Versace Medusa logo on draped tops. The black dresses that opened the show were sultry and Italian, while blazers and coats with XL shoulders were Donatella’s take on power-dressing. The designer takes good decisions style-wise and knows how to do the PR job right.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Sustainability At Its Best. Marni SS20

While one would think that the entire fashion industry wouldn’t really acknowledge the climate strike that happened across the world yesterday, it’s a relief to know there’s one designer who really cares. It’s Marni‘s Francesco Risso. Not only was the show’s setting considered in a sustainable way – guests sat on recompressed-cardboard benches under a recycled plastic jungle (made of reclaimed waste) – but also the new season clothes had a lot to do with this important topic. In his collection, Risso used upcycled textiles, organic cottons, and “recuperated” leathers in the most impressive ways. Balloon-smock tops paired with flared skirts, naive prints hand-painted by Francesco’s team, 1950s couture-inspired silhouettes that delivered a touch of eccentric elegance, chunky knits which hung asymmetrically. I also loved the fact that many of the pieces were aprons (that created an illusion of dresses) and were paired with full skirts. A novelty to try out next summer. All this was kept in a bold colour palette of orange, magenta and green, and was topped by Julien d’Ys’ incredible hair-styles that used dried flowers. Risso wanted to create a “joyous protestan homage to nature and our sense of humanity”, and he succeeded. It’s truly reassuring to see a major Italian brand putting sustainability as its priority. And makes it look so good!

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Camp Picasso. Moschino SS20

I still can’t believe that I’m writing about Jeremy Scott‘s Moschino. But his camp-y, silly, fun spring-summer 2020 collection just can’t be ignored. It was just as good as Franco Moscino’s Moschino. In a spectacle of art in motion, Scott’s line-up saw Pablo Picasso’s paintings reimagined as structured cocktail dresses. The designer drew on the iconography of the artist, transforming his best known motifs into theatrical, exaggerated garments – a dress adorned with a Cubist guitar, blouses with big shoulders that were flattened into two dimensions – that really, really amaze. Models emerged through a carved gilt frame, and even wore a wide, boxy dress version, its edges embroidered to three dimensions with gold thread and filled with a canvas of a Cubist nude that covered the model’s body. “Artists inspire the world” – this was Jeremy’s thought behind the collection. They really do.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.