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What to make of Dsquared2?#DIAMONDHEAD beamed up on the movie-screen backdrop, which then transformed into an abstract ocean scene of surfers, as seen through the blurred lava-lamp-like globules of piercing light-filled colour. There was no camp set this season, so it was hard to determine where we were. Possibly Ibiza, judging by the soundtrack – a techno-rave-Eurotrash kinda vibe. Out stormed Mariacarla Boscono, looking pretty fierce – in both mood and attire – in a cut-out swimsuit harnessed with coloured ropes and highly covetable mannish trousers. There followed glittery leggings with bras and more swimsuits – something of a rarity on summer catwalks these days, but Dan and Dean Caten bucked that trend. They pretty much bucked every trend. And that was just fine. Body-con? You got it. Here in rainbow-striped athletic scuba dresses, sometimes one over the other, and worn with the fiercest high heels (with jangling shells, no less) yet seen on a SS16 runway. Tattoed body stockings? Indeed. They came under tight leather pinafores. When Whitney hit the soundwaves, a bomber jacket appeared in bright yellow feathers and the scuba dresses were all bejazzlement, smothered in sequins and embroidery. You’ve got to hand it to Dan and Dean for lifting our spirits.
The big mood of this Milan season is romantic and pretty. So what would Jil Sander’s creative director Rodolfo Paglialunga do? The brand, under its namesake founder, served the women of the world with precise, beautifully spare tailoring in über-luxurious fabrics. So would he abandon the principles of Jil or stick with them? In fact, Paglialunga managed to catch the mood of the moment within the realms of Jil Sander’s strict lines. That meant soft silk dresses tied with trailing fluttering sashes, glossy tops slipping off shoulders, or sky-blue satin shirt-dresses that coiled at the stomach to reveal a slice of body beneath. All the slinky soft stuff, in quite tantalising renditions, was then anchored with more robust pieces. But even they let the air in, quite literally: a pristine cream blazer cut away at the shoulder seams, a navy suede dress cut out at the ribs, a short-sleeved jacket cut out under the arms. The best pieces were utterly simple and in truer Sander mode, like the inky sheen of a slender dress, cinched at the waist with a shiny twist of rubber. The collection proved what a talented pattern cutter Paglialunga is, a tastemaker, and that he’s getting to grips with, and updating, the Sander ethos.
Peter Dundas’ first outing at Roberto Cavalli was not at all what we were expecting. He took a giant step away from Cavalli’s trademark va-va-voom and the Emilio Pucci woman he brought to life in his previous job, she of the swirling vibrant prints and jet-set Seventies vibe was nowhere to be seen. The new Cavalli/Dundas woman rocks pink tie-dye high-waist jeans, sleeveless army-esque parkas and rocker gilets dripping in hardware. She wears suede T-shirts ridden with holes and wraps a sky-blue silk skirt with a wild long ruffled train over her leather mini. ‘I wanted to create a fresh point of view for the house, that’s what I was hired to do. It feels like a moment to change,’ said Dundas after the show. He’s right, of course. Why would he turn Cavalli into Pucci? And how could he make his mark if he merely reissued archive Cavalli? His collection was pitched squarely at a cooler girl with the confidence to mix it all up: a scarlet ringmaster’s jacket with lion-print leggings, a bandeau top with one giant bow on the shoulder, over spray-on jeans that dangled chains and were coated in silver. As for the gowns, there were plenty. But where Roberto Cavalli was king of OTT ostentation, Dundas cut back on the house’s traditional glamour and issued curvy sheaths cut out and knotted on one side, or long wispy slashed chiffon held to the body with strategically-placed metal rings. ‘Fun and exuberance, that’s what I learnt from Roberto Cavalli. And that should always remain in the house,’ he said.
'For me, being outside is the number one thing,' said Tomas Maier, Bottega's Creative Director, who explained that his collection had started with the great outdoors. There was romance, too, he said. But it wasn’t like any other romance we've seen so far in Milan. Put it this way, there were no chiffon fairy queen dresses, not a scrap of broderie anglaise and barely a ruffle. Maeir is a feminist. His women hike and sail, they’re active and sporty, and the clothes they wear prove it, detailed with fine swirls of hiking rope, drawstring pulls, metal clasps and grommets. And if his woman is going to throw on a romantic dress, it will swoosh around her body like a ship’s sail and be constructed from techno cotton, ingeniously wrapped with spaghetti-fine, luxury yacht guy ropes. The collection started out with wrinkled knee-length track pants and bomber jackets with the sleeves pushed up. There were scrunchy striped knits with leopard-print jackets and skirts - the big outdoors meant on safari, too. And swimming in vast oceans: Maier's swimwear was worn with leather or knitted gilets and chunky wooden sandals. Then the collection went headlong into urbanwear - a trouser suit featured a fragmented print that also cropped up on easy city shift dresses. It all looked pretty inspiring and plausible to a woman who wouldn’t be seen dead in a pie-crust frilled, toile de jouy-print blouse.