Keeping up with the boys

 

BOYS, boys, boys: that’s what Milan is really all about. Ever since Alessandro Michele was surprise appointed creative director at Gucci at the beginning of last year, things have been getting a little bit more exciting in the fashion capital. Peter Dundas was finally confirmed as taking on the creative reigns at Roberto Cavalli last March (this, a less surprising move as it had been rumored for some time) and MSGM’s spritely Massimo Giorgetti filled his slot at the house of Emilio Pucci

 

 


(Greg Kohler for NOWFASHION)

 

Between them, a mix of new and established and up-and-coming names, these three continue to keep us captivated because they have stepped into roles of very particular big-name or storied Milan houses.

 


Gucci Fall/Winter 2016 ready-to-wear show, Milan (Régis Colin-Berthelier for NOWFASHION)

 

Michele’s about-turn blend of bohemian, softness and romance marked such a departure from the previous high-octane and serious signature of Frida Giannini and struck a cultural chord as gender lines were blurring – there was at once a combined androgyny and femininity that emanated from Michele’s new world. Everyone wanted a piece of it – and sales have since gone on to to reflect that. And not a day goes by when you don’t see at least one other collection reference his hyper glitzy pleats, geek-chic tendencies and vintage overtones. This is surely the reason that this fashion season, in London especially, we saw more of a dressing-up mentality than usual: fur stoles and Hollywood grandeur of the Norma Desmond days are winning out; magpie shine shimmers from everywhere; and a layered mentality is on everyone’s agenda.

 

Gucci Fall/Winter 2016 ready-to-wear show, Milan (Régis Colin-Berthelier for NOWFASHION)

 

Autumn/Winter 2016 continued in this vein from Michele – and why wouldn’t it? If something works, it’s daft to go off in search of a new tack, especially when the only people potentially finding less favor with it are likely to be the fashion press who are always thirsty for more, having been exposed to collections for longer than most. Their eyes easily become accustomed to the new, even before it is “new." But so synonymous now is this look with the Gucci new-wave, what Michele sent out had to be similar, but different – because of the aforementioned. The trick then was to add a layer of sophistication, something a little darker (for even romance has a honeymoon period), which is just what the long-haired maestro did. Where the first season had a naïvety and a purity, and the second, a bling-thing going on, the third seemed more emotional, and the layers to each piece, more complex or certainly there were more of them. A wordy and complicated press release attempted to sum this up – Rhizomatic Scores its title – and references to change were littered throughout.

 


Massimo Giorgetti at the end of his Emilio Pucci Fall Winter 2016 ready-to-wear show, Milan (Giovanni Staiano for NOWFASHION)

 

But Michele isn’t the only one making changes – Giorgetti, the man behind the uber-popular and colorful MSGM, and one of the brands that has brought a freshness to the Milan scene in recent years, is doing so too. Perhaps, at first, too much so. Anyone looking for Dundas’ Pucci girl last season had definitely turned up to the wrong show in Giorgetti’s hands – the designer went super young and fun in a way that neither reflected entirely how he had so cleverly worked his magic at MSGM nor that married together with the traditional Pucci party girl. He seemed to rectify that second time round with an après-ski mountain vibe that harked back to heritage Pucci, back where it all began. Though at times knits couldn’t help but call to mind Iceberg.

 

Emilio Pucci Fall Winter 2016 ready-to-wear show, Milan (Giovanni Staiano for NOWFASHION)

 

It felt back on track and like a better jumping-off point than the first outing. Though in some ways perhaps it had actually worked in his favor to wipe the slate clean, meaning that archive Pucci – of which there were far more nods to here – looked brand new and fresh once again. In a world where we can only remember what we “liked” and “swiped,” looking back may just be the only way of forward thinking.

 


Roberto Cavalli Fall/Winter 2016 ready-to-wear, Milan (Giovanni Staiano for NOWFASHION)

 

Dundas, too, seemed to get into his stride second time round – it was his blend of sassy-sexy girl combined with that rock ’n’ roll Cavalli spirit to make for a groupie whose wardrobe took its cue from the late Sixties and early Seventies. She was with the band alright – and it looked like a fun one to be hanging out with: classic kohl-rimmed eyes, long-length fuzz-trimmed coats, platform boots and wafting dresses, sequins, velvet, patchwork. It was a fuller and more reflective offering – enough of that Pucci glamour he did so well, and which is so inherently him, put to good use for another brand (also so inherently Dundas, as he worked with Cavalli for three years earlier in his career, one that was likewise defined by glamour), but in a different way.

 

Peter Dundas at the end of his Roberto Cavalli Fall/Winter 2016 ready-to-wear, Milan (Giovanni Staiano for NOWFASHION)

 

“I feel more comfortable,” said a clearly pleased Dundas – his own eyes lined in kohl and his own ensemble proof that he was just as much part of the Cavalli clan as the collection he had sent out – backstage. “I’m used to how things are done now, I’m more with it,” he said.

With Dundas at Cavalli, it feels right and as though we can let it get on with itself now; Giorgetti is still one to keep an eye on as he works out the new Pucci way; and Michele, of course, will be the main man we’re gossiping about when it comes to Milan.

 

(Greg Kohler for NOWFASHION)

 

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