Milan Fashion Week closes with a silent Giorgio Armani show and DSquared2
Milan Fashion Week completed its final major shows on Sunday with a show devoid of any music by Giorgio Armani in a mark of respect to the fallen in Ukraine, and a DSquared2 catwalk show on the other side of Milan in a disused railway yard.
Giorgio Armani: Silent respect
“I have decided this season to not use any music in this show, as a sign of respect to people involved in an ongoing tragedy,” announced a speaker in English, just before the Giorgio Armani show began.
The announcement brought forth a minute’s applause from the Covid-reduced audience of barely 200 inside Armani’s basement show-space within the designer’s private palazzo on Via Borgonuovo in central Milan.
A silent show, though one frequently interspersed with ripples of heavy applause, since this was a pure and thoroughly classy interpretation of Armani’s DNA, by a designer still at the height of his game.
It should be recalled that Armani has enjoyed a long association with Ukraine. A decade ago, his ambassador was Andriy Shevchenko the superstar Ukrainian striker who played for AC Milan. Giorgio also has three Armani Exchange boutiques in Kiev, and frequently uses Slavic models in his show.
A half decade ago, at the height of the Syrian war, with millions of refugees crossing Europe, Armani themed a menswear show as a homage to the nobility of East European immigrants.
In Sunday’s co-ed display, he opened with haut-gamme suits and separates for both men and women in a co-ed show. The ladies in elongated jodhpur pants and mini blazers, the gents lapel-free four-button jackets and sleek velvet pants. Their very refined elegance a huge contrast, indeed diametrically opposed to the sordid ugliness of a war unleashed by a gangster dictator on Ukraine.
All leading to a couture-worthy finale, a quartet of stunning diamanté and bugle beaded flapper dresses, some semi sheer, others worn over crystal sequin leggings. Before a final sapphire column look, dusted in stalagmite beads garnering another round of applause.
Clearly moved, Armani then enjoyed a standing ovation, led by stars like Anne Hathaway, Alexander Skarsgård, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Kasia Smutniak, Valeria Mazza and Fala Chen.
“I didn’t feel there was any other choice. Playing music at a moment like this seemed wrong,” commented the 87-year-old designer.
DSquared2: Wanderlust rules
This season, the duo of Dean and Dan Caten retained their title as the kings of Italian clubbing cool, with their latest jumbled up assemblage collection.
Which felt right for next winter, when they believe young kids will be surely be craving to party. They already are, though the DSquared2 duo expects them to so in multiple foreign parts.
A wanderlust collection of graphic ribbed skinny sweaters, baggy jeans and cords, over which were wrapped mesh scarves and blankets. Shod in North American Indian moccasins, or thigh boot versions of the same sure to be best-sellers. In a season of the thigh boot, DSquared2 had the funkiest versions in Italy.
All finished with amulet belts, hippie gray pearl necklaces, cable wool beanies and giant booties and slippers. A dozen gals wrapped in plaid blankets or tulle skirts, worn over jeans. The few bags were immense padded totes – all the better to turn a weekend clubbing in a foreign capital into a long affair with a new lover.
“Freedom, freshness,” commented Dan Caten at a post-show lunch. “Dreams, travel, beyond,” added Dean, over a meal of Sardinian fregola and Caesar salad.
The result was a community of what the twins called 'bohemian travelers', dressed in paisley dresses, worn over boots and under mini mackintoshes that finished just five inches below the neck. Backpacks were ever present, as were plaid shirts, some tight into knotted headbands.
Layered boho beauties, whose single most important item in their wardrobe is the backpack, seen on a refreshingly innocent new cast. Led by Elisa Nijman, a willowy Dutch beauty who also walked in N°21 and Blumarine, for whom she stars in a new ad campaign seen on a giant billboard in Piazza del Duomo, Milan’s outstanding main square.
Made in a rural palette of rust, amber, aqua blue and blood orange and oak, all the way to the party animal plaid kilts.
Not perhaps DSquared2's most revolutionary or inventive collection, but definitely the most optimistic. In a season where designers almost pleaded with their clients to believe in the future.
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