Fluidity. Jil Sander Pre-Fall 2020

Lucie and Luke Meier‘s vision for Jil Sander is all about soft, tactile minimalism (which occasionally lets some eclecticism in). For pre-fall 2020, the duo once again showed their appreciation for craft. A skirt suit was padded and stitched with an abstract floral motif, while an ensemble in soft pink satin had a luscious, almost liquid finish. Fluidity of the silhouette is a big topic for the Meiers – they continue to master it, creating refined, feminine, yet magically comfortable forms. Please do note the feminine lines of the décolletages, borrowed from corsetry and delicately lined with inconspicuous embroideries (see the high-waisted ruched slipdress). Art references are also crucial in their vision for Jil Sander. Recently, the designers have been fascinated by the Viennese Secession movement, extensively researching the work of Wiener Werkstätte’s artists like Josef Hoffmann, Koloman Moser, and the textile designer Maria Lucia Stadlmayer. Their aesthetics, which flourished at the juncture of Art Nouveau’s sensuality and Japonisme’s sophisticated restraint, clearly appealed to the Meiers. For pre-fall, Stadlmayer’s graphic patterns were reproduced in their original proportions and colors on sheer organza layers, juxtaposed over sharp-cut silk twill or silk jersey shirts, skirts, and tunics, inducing a slightly kinetic, blurred chromatic effect. “We used the motifs on their authentic scale, because you have permission from the archives in Vienna to reproduce them only in the exact proportions and colors she intended to use,” they said. “We really cared about keeping the integrity of the design; we didn’t want to appropriate them in the wrong way.”

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Bold And Sustainable. Colville SS20

 Co-founded by Molly Molloy, Kristin Forss and Lucinda Chambers, Colville – the London/Milan-based brand – is independent, off-kilter and too cool for the traditional fashion industry. Colville is the creative encounter between three different minds and three personal points of view. The trio have worked together at Marni, while Chambers was Consuelo Castiglioni’s longtime stylist and is famous for her sense for eclectic layering. Their spring-summer 2020 collection involved working collaboratively with a Colombian women’s group on charming woven bags, and they’re sourcing vintage silk scarves and old shell jackets from the ’90s and turning them into graceful dresses and  sleeved shrugs. Social responsibility and upcycling are buzzwords that fashion companies use as their marketing ploy. But for Colville, this isn’t a trend. Molloy, Forss, and Chambers are really, truly close to the product. Those are clothes to be worn, cherished, mixed and matched. Clothes that are bold and brave, considered and careful, sensitive and detailed. Colville designer have a soft point for bold floral prints and off-kilter silhouettes (if you worked with Castiglioni, that’s an inheritable trait), like an upside-down shirt whose sleeves drape below the hips and a trompe l’oeil skirt that looks like a folded-over dress. The collection as well features amazing raincoats made from boat sails. Keep this brand on your radar next season, if you’re looking for truly sustainable, bold fashion.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

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.