Dispatches from Milan: Dolce & Gabbana, Marni and Salvatore Ferragamo

Rebecca Lowthorpe reports

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GIF: Dolce & Gabbana, Marni, Salvatore Ferragamo, s/s15 - Getty

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana showed their collection against a backdrop of scarlet, a rope cordoning off a red carpet – hint, hint – and large retro film lights hanging from the ceiling. Great, we thought, sitting comfortably on our padded cinema seats waiting for the action to start, Dolce does Golden Age Hollywood glamour… Then came the castanets, the matador jackets, trousers like Spanx and flamenco ruffles. We were in Spain. In a bullfighting ring, circa 1950, to be precise – all traditional toreros, manila shawl dresses with long fringes, polka dots on everything from capes to heels, lashings of gold and plenty of blood red.
 
The designers revisited familiar territory – corsets, body-hugging lace, bras and knickers, and a tsunami of sheer black – but still, their vast collection hit current trends, smack-bang in the middle. The denim trend sweeping spring/summer 2015 was right there with Dolce’s jewel-encrusted jeans. The uniform trend – well, that would be the matador jackets worn with starched white shirts. Surface-interest fabrics? See the crimson jacquard mini-skirt suits. For bold prints aside from coin dots, try vivid red carnations creeping up a gently flared skirt. And the season’s airy sheerness was everywhere, and particularly lovely on a slim, draped black dress covered in white dots.
 
As ever, the finale made you smile – every model wore a white frilled shirt and high-waisted scarlet satin pants (as in knickers) jazzed up with jewels. Still, it would have been nice to see Dolce & Gabbana do something sensational with Hollywood glamour. More to the point, where have all the red-carpet gowns gone?

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IMAGE: Dolce & Gabbana, Marni, Salvatore Ferragamo s/s15 - IMAXTREE
 
They certainly didn’t feature at Marni. It was the kind of show that appeals to the industry insider – concept and beauty entwined from a brand that carves its own path. But looking for clothes to wear straight off the catwalk and you’ll be hard pushed to find them: almost everything represented an enormous sartorial challenge – outsized, plain-shaped at first, then swirling, twisting and draping around the body with increasingly lavish colour and embellishment… Easy wearability wasn’t the message here, as Consuelo Castiglioni celebrated Marni’s 20th year. This was more of a celebration of craft, cut and decoration. That’s why she opened with plain, raw canvas (like a toile, or designer’s prototype) in long solemn shapes tied at the waist with exaggerated black judo belts, and gradually built up the intensity with wild blooms, densely rich fabrics and dramatic cuts – all waves, ruffles and patchworked embroideries sprinkled with crystal. It was absolutely beautiful. As for things to actually buy from the collection, the accessories were utilitarian (to the hardcore fashion consumer at least), with hefty trainer-soled ballet shoes and bags – zippered shoppers with resin handles, large duffle and shoulder bags – appliqued with flowers.
 
Salvatore Ferragamo’s woman looked sleek and sophisticated in cream, tan, coffee, jade and gold. It was a simple recipe of swishing calf-length skirt, neat jumper, narrow-belted coat and long, draped dress. Nothing shouted (except the fantastic classic Ferragamo shoe, stacked in curved layers like an expensive sofa) and nothing was off-kilter or out of place. But Massimiliano Giornetti’s collection felt unresolved. Where were the trousers? Or the clever layers of his last collection? He might have played more with print, developed more intense textures or dabbled more with shape. These days, every fashion brand needs to stamp itself with a strong image and, while this was all perfectly pleasant, it lacked any oomph.
 

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