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Sep 23, 2022
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Milan Fashion Week opens with Fendi, Cavalli and Del Core

Sep 23, 2022

Milan Fashion Week opened its first full day of shows on Wednesday with powerful performances by Fendi, Del Core and Cavalli. An opening day where bodycon fought a duel with bold, modern grandeur.

Fendi: Back to the turn of the century

Got to hand it to Kim Jones. In just a few short seasons, he has established a very clear, modernist style to Fendi, and a highly assured sense of color coordination.

Fendi - Spring-Summer2023 - Womenswear - Milan - © PixelFormula

Plus, he manages to be highly respectful of the Fendi DNA; riffing on the past even as he marches the brand forward. This season, he triumphantly referenced the house’s own archives, notably playing on clothes that he had seen Delfina Delettrez Fendi wearing.

“Basically, the starting point was looking at collections from 1996 to 2004. It’s what Delfina has been wearing a lot. Silvia’s old clothes, pulled from her wardrobe. And they just look so good, and fresh and modern and that’s what I love,” smiled Jones in a packed backstage.

It also helped that Jones’ tailoring was pretty sensational. Crisp suits, cut inside-out with soaring lapels and made in putty gray fine wools. Deconstructed wrap coats finished with satin bands, and a series of satin coats finished at the back with logo Obi belts.

For warm evenings, models look suitably romantic in crepe sheathes finished with diagonal large print logo stripes and embroidered fabric ivy.  

Fendi staged its show inside its Milan show-space on Via Solari.  The set itself was a series of constructivist scaffoldings in lime, candy pink and petrol blue. With several outfits in versions of the latter: mid-calf silk skirts with logo semi sheer tops; mink trim wedge sandals, cargo pocket minis and cashmere sweaters.

What was also instructive is how at ease Jones is referencing his predecessor Karl Lagerfeld, even as he gives Fendi far more commercial kick. All worn by very easily the best casting so far in the international runway season. All done up with bedroom hair and mauve lipstick.

Before the palette went into color-overdrive as the show progressed. 

“Fendi’s color palette is normally pretty natural, and I relate that to the Fendi family. So I wanted to add brights and mix it up, so there are three tones in every look, so they harmonise together,” Jones explained.

In a sense, this was extension of what Kim had been trying in ready-to-wear for fall/winter in February and even in the couture he showed in June. But, this collection packed much more punch.

Jones is also a master of cramming lots of product into a look without overpowering it. He must have sent out at least a dozen gals with two handbags; from hefty tores, to micro alligator bags, and expensive clutches with logo hardware. But, that just came across as clever styling. 

But, above all, one was struck by the pop-color palette seen extensively: in lime green wedge-boots, bag chains, chubby mink clutches and shaven mink sheath cocktails.

Cavalli: Big cats in Malibu

Fausto Puglisi produced fusion fashion with a daring blend of grand Hollywood glamour, regal roll, racy bodycon and signature Cavalli big-cat prints.

Roberto Cavalli Spring/Summer 2023 collection in Milan - Roberto Cavalli

When the recipe worked, it made for some novel and notable combinations, as if the great screen goddess designer Adrian had encountered the ghost of Roberto Cavalli. Though, this was a dreamy Adrian, who looked like he had smoked something strong, albeit washed down with several glasses of really pricey claret, before he began sketching and draping.

What stood out were the devilishly well-draped fan-shaped cocktails; racier versions of 1930s LA society chic. Or the black-and-white moiré coats with leopard-skin lining. Anchored by tiger-pattern flats. Sicily-meets-Santa Monica, with a dash of Charles James rolled in.

Fausto also dreamed up some rather risqué mega plissé skirts, then combined them with hot pants and a leather bra. Though his Cavalli gal will always be a rocker at heart - with the guts and chutzpah to appear in cheetah-print minis combined with white patent-leather bras; leg-of-mutton silk sleeves and piratical, ecru leather boots.

Ultimately, Puglisi’s customer is more rockstar that Tony winner, proud to prowl the stage in mega pleated cheetah-pattern minis and leather bustiers.

In his program notes, Puglisi spoke of the influence of Hitchcock and his disturbing cine noir, though backstage he seemed more concerned by the upcoming Italian parliamentary elections, where the favourite to win is the extreme right wing rabble rouser Giorgia Meloni. She has called for the forcible repatriation of immigrants and the banning of adoption by gay parents, not exactly a popular position in the fashion community. Come to think of it in many communities.

“I’m really afraid of these elections. We really risk a lot. It’s all about violence, it’s all about ugliness. So, I was thinking of Marnie from Hitchcock, and it reminded me of my first years in New York, when I met Joyce Ma and she told me about Tony Duquette, who became my first artistic obsession,” explained Fausto post-show.

Famed for his Hollywood renaissance style, decorator par excellence Duquette was noted for recycling plants, sets and objects into his unique LA home.

Rather like Puglisi and his recycling of concepts, though with new moiré and silk materials, to impact a certain magnificence to this mash-up mode.

Del Core: Couture encounters bodycon

An eclectic, but ultimately very convincing collection from Del Core; the nearest thing one gets to haute-couture in Milan’s women’s ready-to-wear seasons.

Del Core Spring/Summer 2023 collection in Milan - Del Core

A collection of contrasts beginning with floral jacquard suits cut with icy precision and ending with a couple of stunning evening gowns in red crochet; bias cut gauzy crepe or golden lemon sequins. The latter topped by white bugle beads.

“I was thinking about emerging myself in the ocean. I really like that idea. Also of something more fluid, easier, lighter and exploring a diverse woman,” said designer Daniel Del Core, adding that the sequin look was designed to suggest it was coral topped.

In between came some very gutsy bodycon ideas; from cut-out posh punk bodystockings, to pencil pants suits, to a series of really great flared loose-weave knitted pants.

“I really like Helmut Newton and that was where I started. A simplicity to the collection with sharpness, yet in wildlife colours,” smiled Del Core

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