From Milan, don't expect studies on conservative minimalism, yet relish in the talent of some of the city's major talents & their bravado when it comes to going for the bold. For Spring/Summer 2011, striking colorways & prints, intellectual takes on femininity and superior craftsmanship made for an alluring mix of modernity that played on mundane ideas of the past for statements that are achingly modern. Here's a look at our favorites:Prada(and above)
After Fall's bosom-buddy "balconette" dresses(which we can't imagine being easy to wear), Miuccia Prada delivered one of the season's best collections yet. Beautifully cut Japanese cotton suits that looked almost molded came in intense hues styled with bold contrasting fox fur stoles opened her show and the collection went on to elicit countless references while keeping in tow with contemporary fashion's need for a cleaner aesthetic and relaxed shapes. Only Miuccia can combine almost banal influences like Josephine Baker, 17th century Baroque prints, uniform dressing, stripes, tango shoes, and cherubs to create a collection that's bold but never too much. Dream pieces from this collection include a Baroque printed striped scuba shaped top, scroll molded sunglasses, striped crepe sole platform brogues and some of the striped separates with pie-crust collars.
So many things come to mind when looking at Raf Simon's blockbuster collection for Jil Sander Spring 2011. For one, he is the right man for the job(in case you hadn't noticed before), for another, this may have been his best collection at the house ever. Why? Because it's clear that after five years, Simons is confident enough to take the house codes in a new direction while continuing to cater to it's most ardent fans. Now he can make both sides of the fashion world happy and that he did with a collection that took what Isaac Mizrahi did with evening wear in the early 90's(juxtaposing old-world couture notions with uniform pieces such as a denim jacket), mixing it with a hyper color palette that could rival Yves Saint Laurent's and his own knack for what you could call intense techno-couture. He opened with a passage of vivid variations on maxi skirts with attached white tee's that made a strong case for minimalism having the ability to make a big impact. He moved on to maxi parachute dresses, some in optical contrasting stripes, followed by a series of origami folded pieces(ones that could make Helmut Lang proud), and layered jackets, three at a time, all contrasting, all ultra-thin, over today's ubiquitous skinny pant. While the pieces retain the house's requisite codes for clean, cool sportswear, Simons may have just upped Jil Sander's status quo exponentially.
We love what Antonio Marras has been doing at Kenzo and so we naturally love what he does at his own eponymous line. For Spring 2011, he continued to display his deft hand at creating updated variations on the luxury minded arty/hippie girl aesthetic that he has mastered. Spring's muted palette of spices and khaki's, over blown floral prints, and billowy, relaxed shapes were generous updates to his well-versed perspective.
Each season we find ourselves gravitating to a few pieces from Bottega Veneta, yet never an entire collection until we saw Spring 2011. Here, contrasting embroidered sack dresses with a chiffon midriff, soft, tonally decorated a-line dresses and sleek leather separates had an appeal that was less about delivering on the hype of the urban warrior at the height of minimalism's return and more about creating a collection that could take those now mundane notions to a heritage level with wondrous execution and that sometimes elusive gift of good taste.