#SuzyMFW: Renewing Identity is the Beating Heart of Fashion Design
Last season Alberta Ferretti was the first designer to show a Muslim woman with a headscarf modelling her clothes. It was a fine gesture and a subtle signal that the designer knows that the world is changing – but not that much, as her Spring/Summer 2018 collection illustrated.
The airy chiffon dresses with feminine trimmings that have graced red-carpet events for the last decade were trounced by Ferretti’s body suits. Curving to a woman’s shape but otherwise streamlined and maybe cut at an angle, these sporty clothes made the purposeful models look like escapees from a gym class as they walked the rounded archway of the late-Baroque Rotonda della Besana, a former cemetery.
That look segued into the same concept elongated as slinky black dresses with a plunging V-neck here, a slim skirt there, and cut-out midriffs. Even when black lightened to beige, the clothes were still sharp, angular and sliced sideways.
It is a difficult decision to take a new fashion course, and Ferretti must be admired for taking this new stand. When her artistic vision of colour appeared with lavender, pale green and rain-washed sky blue, the collection seemed more coherent with its previous identity. Although the soft, sparkly material and a casual look of midriff-tied blouse and baggy pants raised the question of when and where this look would be worn.
Ferretti scores points for pushing herself ahead. But she needs to co-ordinate past and future.
How Max Mara managed to work the writer Baudelaire into the show notes is a mystery. For the essence of this presentation was not of a complex, tortured or even a French soul, but rather a return to basics with streamlined tailoring.
But this was tailoring light. As the models walked the arched arcade in the bright morning sun, it was smart for the designers to point out that Max Mara may have been built on streamlined winter coats, but it can also produce a lighter, springtime version.
In a fashion world where crazy clothes and wild patterns are king, these narrow, tailored outfits made sense – especially when the colours were mauve or sand beige.
When the models walked a runway where the carpet spelled out a heritage company logo, all seemed crisp and clear. Gauzy linen jackets were an ode to Italy’s creative fabric makers who know how to modernise materials. Paired with the same neutral-coloured trousers, cut like jeans to slither round the hips, the summer-in-the-city look suggested that Max Mara actually thinks about the majority of women who go out to work.
Even the insertion of prints of peonies and roses was as controlled as a municipal garden. Read: You could walk into the boardroom wearing this.
The show ended with the same ideas in black, which moved the presentation from serenity to severity. But the overall effect was brisk and realistic – two words that do not get much traction today.