Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Fashion: Prada, Marni and Beyond

Of the four fashion capitals, Milan is the most brand-centric. If you think about the Italian fashion houses, logos like inverted “G”s, red plastic strips that read “Prada,” interlocking Fendi “F”s, D&G hardware and blinged out Versace “V”s come to mind, as do the signature styles of Armani, Missoni, Marni and Pucci. Milan is not the place where one thinks of young, struggling, up-and-coming designers.

Evrim Timur

But this season there seems to be a shift in Milano Moda Donna – or Milan Fashion Week – which officially kicked off its Autumn/Winter 2007/2008 collections on Saturday, February 17th. Its first full day was entirely dedicated to promising young designers like Andres Caballero, Francesca Marchisio, Maria Teresa Mazzoni, Evrim Timur and Maria Elena Piro, who are all winners of the NEXT GENERATION competition that supports on-the-rise Italian designers.

But even if there are a lot of newbies in Milan this season, it’s still the maestros everyone is looking forward to seeing. Donatella Versace has been blowing back the hair of everyone from New York Times’ fashion writer (and conservative dresser) Cathy Horyn to not-so-conservative dressers like Christina Aguilera, Scarlett Johannson and basically the rest of Hollywood, since she cleaned up her act in the past year. Her show is definitely one of the more anticipated.

Maria Elena Piro

“I always look forward to seeing Prada and Marni,” admits Godfrey Deeny, another highly respected show reviewer and industry insider, “Miuccia is still the single most influential designer - bar none - and her shows are both sexy and brainy. I love the way women look in Marni - so many of the fashionistas wear Marni, I sometimes think it’s the best-dressed audience in the world.”

That said, there is also something new Mr. Deeny - and much of the industry – is looking forward to: Giles Deacon’s debut for Daks. Mr. Deacon, who showed his eponymous collection Giles in London this past week, is “very hot” right now, as Mr. Deeny described. He said Mr. Deacon draws “the right crowd, very exclusive, practically no photographers… they even banned Canal Plus” at his London show. Any hype like that, alongside the fact Mr. Deacon is the new designer for the distinguished Daks house, which established their bespoke tailoring factory in the United Kingdom in 1894, is sure to be a hot ticket.

As, of course, is the super-exclusive party Saks Fifth Avenue, The Wall Street Journal and Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana is throwing on at Palazzo Reale on February 19th. One of the many fashion week parties where plenty of intelligent Marni will mix with the more typically “overt” Italian ensembles that will undoubtedly include a healthy quantity of interlocked “F”s, blinged out “V”s and D&G hardware.

Viva Italia…

— Erin Skrypek

Evrim Timur

Maria Elena Piro

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