Angry. Marni AW19

Marni‘s Franceso Risso had a lot on his mind this season, which resulted in a rather chaotic collection. Chain belts, heavy boots, chokers, tattered finishings – this was the grungiest Marni you’ve ever seen. But was it convincing? Risso wanted to investigate the “limits of freedom”, as well as update the term ‘sensualism’. In this patchwork of gingham, pixelated prints, polished leather and fierce red, I rather saw some kind of teen aggression, but made fashion. It’s not a bad collection – but I feel like Francesco should have done something lighter, hope-sparking, or go all the way and do an Marni-esque version of 70s Westwood and McLaren. Well, we all have ups and downs, and knowing Risso’s talent, I can forgive this one.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Tenderness & Leather. Bottega Veneta AW19

First thing’s first: stop calling Daniel Lee’s Bottega Veneta the ‘new Céline’. Should we really replace Phoebe Philo? Phoebe has her irreplaceable style, which is the ideal balance between femininity, minimalism and artistic quirk. Those who have her clothes, lucky you, cherish and wear them. Let’s all hope she will come back to fashion soon – that’s it. On Lee’s note, yes, he ‘grew up’ creatively in her design studio, but I’m sure he must be already tired with all that loud comparing and the Philophiles-generated pressure of being a Céline replacement. Now it’s his Bottega Veneta, and as his debut runway collection proved, this guy has a mind of his own. I’m saying this right away: his collection didn’t completely ‘wow’ me, at some points it was over-complicated. But that’s fine, because every debut has its ups and downs. The designer focused on leather, because Bottega Veneta has always been a leather brand. While the motocross look felt, simply speaking, like too much leather, accessories were the most compelling part of the collection (the shoes in signature Intrecciato weave are so, so good, just like all the heavy boots, geometrical handbags and fringed clutches, of course in leather). A future Bottega Veneta customer should definitely invest in one of those new classics. A sharp injection of modernity was as well brought to clothes. A square neck dress that opened the collection was sensual, but strong, just like the asymmetric knits (they looked extra on guys) and quilted skirts. But then, some of the coats’ shoulders were a bit too bold and kind of conflicted with all this tender, close-to-body feeling. Good things are coming to Bottega Veneta, let’s just all hope the designer will get the time he needs to fully establish his new language for the brand. And don’t mistake him with Philo.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Anatomy of Romance. Prada AW19

What Prada’s autumn-winter 2019 was like? Rebellious and romantic, dark and light, aggressive and soft. An entire anatomy of feelings and moods, masterfully presented through fashion. Miuccia Prada sent down a line-up of big, heavy boots mixed with ultra-feminine touches, like draped silk roses stuck on skirts and bags, rich crystal embellishments and very sensual cuts that made each of the wool black dresses a true show-stopper. Just like in this season’s menswear, Prada featured Frankenstein-inspired prints (specifically the film still motif of Elsa Lanchester and Boris Karloff in the 1935 movie ‘The Bride of Frankenstein’) and following her current mood for cult horrors, some of the models had literal Wednesday Addams’ braids. There was the usual clash between utility (this time it felt even military, noting all of the khakis and uniform silhouettes) and delicacy (classical, black lace appeared dozens of times, whether layered on Prada’s signature nylon or as see-through knee-length skirts and dresses). Quite visibly, Miuccia’s woman is full of contrasts, just like each of the looks that went down the runway: there’s tenderness, there’s fragility, but there’s toughness and assertiveness. Mrs. Prada is a genius – but that fact is nothing new.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

 

Last of Karl. Fendi AW19

The news of Karl Lagerfeld’s passing away broke more than a week ago, and writing about his very final collection for Fendi seems like a struggle of using the right tense. It’s unbelievable he’s no longer here, with us. I always thought Karl will be present, forever. And just like that, it’s a season without him and his guaranteed, confident presence. Fendi’s autumn-winter 2019 was a tribute that wasn’t entirely a tribute, since Lagerfeld worked on majority of the collection – even though he was aware that his health is dangerously stumbling. After the models walked the runway, Silvia Venturini Fendi took a grieving bow. Karl’s last instruction given to Silvia was: “I want the bow” at the neck of the opening look. That was a nod to his own, unmistakable look. It’s difficult to write about the clothes from this collection as if this was just another Fendi collection. There was lightness in the pleated skirts. There was impressive craftsmanship involved, like the laser-cut “lattice” jackets and dresses. And, of course, there was the FF type face used on pretty much everything. It came from Karl’s calligraphy for the house from 1981. The models – most of them owe the designer their success by being his Fendi or Chanel muses – were visibly very emotional, but they walked their best, for Karl. Since 1965, he’s been at the helm of the brand – it’s probably the longest relationship between a brand and a designer in history – and now he’s gone. Venturini Fendi is taking the lead of the brand’s creative direction, but let’s leave the questions regarding the future of the brand for later. Rome, the city were Fendi was born, is in mourning: the brand’s flagship store on Via Condotti covered all of its window displays with Karl’s sketches of his designs for the house. Chanel faces the painful loss too, so does Paris.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.