Dispatches from Milan: Versace, Tod’s, Missoni

Rebecca Lowthorpe reports

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GIF: Versace, Tod’s, Missoni s/s 2015 - Imaxtree

Donatella Versace doesn’t mess about when it comes to assertive clothes. Her power predator can be relied upon to wear the sharpest, briefest, tightest, kinkiest wardrobe. But in the past few seasons, Donatella has loosened up. Witness her own outfit when she took her bow last night: not the usual laminated-to-the-body black – well, not the bottom half anyway – she wore trousers that skimmed her teeny-weeny frame. And it was the same story in the collection she showed.
 
‘It was about bold and simple,’ she said backstage, blinking through kohl-rimmed eyes, flicking platinum hair aside with a diamond-rocked finger. ‘I wanted to strip the Versace attitude from unnecessary decoration. Use the graphics of Versace but in shapes that skim the body.’
 
The silhouette – long and lean or short and sharp – glided over the body rather than clinging to it for dear life. Like the suits at the beginning in her beloved pitch black, which traced the female form with broken white stripes like road markings. She used the Versace logo – not the golden Medusa head (that came later, printed on a colour-blocked top) but the monochrome zig-zag blown up on a pastel pink mini dress or running like tyre tracks down a sporty sleeve. Sharp colours criss-crossed the body on long sheath dresses. Square holes were punched out of black leather making grid patterns across bare skin. The big surprise here was the lack of embellishment – Donatella had decommissioned the signature gold/crystal/studs and so on. In their place, a slinky lightweight chainmail in gold, silver, purple, red and pink in blocks and stripes that gave a new twist to the familiar Versace code.
 

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IMAGE: Versace, Tod’s, Missoni s/s 2015 - Imaxtree

It was the designer Alessandra Facchinetti’s third outing as creative director of Tod’s – the luxury leather goods brand whose womenswear she has overhauled with an image of high polish, crisp lines, accents of bold colour and refined leather. While there were no surprises here, Facchinetti continued to develop some believable clothes for a certain super-sleek lifestyle. Neat as a pin trouser suits – one in daffodil, another in turquoise, the last in double-breasted dark denim – looked like the kind of chic suit Caroline Issa might wear, the street-style star who collaborates on the brand with Facchinetti. The designer, an equally stylish advert for the brand, stepped out to take her bow in white culottes and heels. Facchinetti has tapped into what she, Isa and other impeccably stylish women want to wear now – like the pieces stitched with mini coin mirrors, those fresh palm prints in loose, soft, long skirts. That said, there were a few clunky leather pieces – on brand for the leather goods house, but too rigid, they didn’t have the ease or elegance of the rest. The shoes – also overhauled by the designer – with slender driving loafers (pretty in powder pink suede), leather flip-flops and espadrilles sometimes studded with crystal were all in keeping with the new Tod’s woman.
 
Angela Missoni set out to catch the wind with billowing silks, airy chiffons and featherweight knitwear. Missoni likes a literal translation of her inspirations – sometimes that can be a little too heavy a nod to a retro decade or a flight of fancy that doesn’t necessarily suit the brand’s DNA. But here, Misson’s signature super-fine knitwear was perfectly suited to the idea of sails blowing in the wind and Matisse-like collages. Cut into long, loose shapes – drapey kaftans, macs loosely belted, sundresses, tunics and swishing trousers – both printed fabric and yarn soaked up the most vivid shades in watery blue-greens through yellow and orange into intense red. The effect was simple, joyful and on track with the season’s overarching super-sheer, soft, feminine mood.

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