Review of Cathy Horyn at Milan Fashion Week: Jil Sander & Fendi
From left to right: Jil Sander, Fendi, Max Mara.
Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Courtesy of Jil Sander, Fendi, Max Mara
The Milanese collections haven’t exactly returned to normal – everyone must wear a mask and show proof of vaccination – but at least they’re ready to go. For the past year and a half, we’ve been looking at clothes through the screen of a laptop or phone. Instead of a front row perch or a thunderous meeting with a designer behind the scenes, reporters participated in a mass Zoom press call, waving from our rooms. When a brand sent me fabric samples, I would rub the samples between my thumb and forefinger, expecting to feel something more than the texture of wool or denim.
Needless to say, I didn’t. That’s the thing with a fashion show. To feel something, you have to be there.
Now that live shows have mostly picked up, how are the designers themselves reacting to the difference? The most ambitious plan comes from Francisco Risso de Marni. Not only does he dress models for his Saturday night show, but he also dresses his all audience of publishers and friends, whom he describes as “interpreters”. Throughout the week, these “interpreters”, numbering several hundred, stopped over at Marni’s offices, where dressing rooms were set up to speed up their fittings. I had a hand painted blue pantsuit, with a striped turtle to slip over my surgical mask, and I was out in 20 minutes flat. To my knowledge, no creator has attempted to integrate audiences in this total way.
Photo: Courtesy of Jil Sander
But you don’t have to go that far to awaken a feeling. Lucie and Luke Meier, in a captivating show by Jil Sander, did it with sly textures and a shifting take on femininity. They opened with the quintessential Sander garment: the minimalist pantsuit, now with voluminous jackets lightened by shades of mango, pistachio and banana sorbet, with a version in dark forest green and jade. The jackets and pants didn’t match, although the suits still had a formal quality (thanks to the superb stitching), and each jacket closed in a slightly different way, as if to recognize the individuality of the wearer.
While many fabrics in the collection felt intentionally stiff – you wondered if a pink-speckled white denim coat had been waxed or something – others emphasized an airy lightness. One of the most striking looks was a flowing coat or coat dress – your choice – in a blend of pale pistachio silk and viscose. While the coat was visibly light, the barrel-shaped cut and the weight of the fabric gave it structure. As for this rose-speckled denim, it was actually ultra-fine lambskin glued to brush-dyed white denim, a process that kind of allowed the texture and color of the interior fabric – the denim. – to be almost imprinted on the creamy surface of the lambskin.
It’s not something you can see on a digital screen, let alone feel.
Photo: Courtesy of Jil Sander
The Meiers also clearly believe that minimalism should progress. He is still largely defined by his great performers, including Sander, Helmut Lang and Narciso Rodriguez. But the Meiers open the form without losing its fundamental properties. One example was polo tops and straight-knit dresses in a broken zigzag pattern – or perhaps the design was inspired by a QR code – which were made in a combination of wool and velvety chenille yarn. Another example was simple, flattering dresses that had a small, oblong circle of pins on one side. Or the nightie-style dresses embroidered with tangy tones of pink and green sequins that closed the show. Of course, in the process of redefining minimalism, the Meiers are addressing many different personality types as well, not just one Sander type of woman. This in itself is a huge change from the past.
Photo: Courtesy of Fendi
If you don’t know the very graphic patterns and bold colors of Kim Jones’ Fendi runway – a white kaftan streaked with a black and gold brush swirl, a white pleated coat with the repeated profile of a model’s face – come from the work of the late great Antonio Lopez, whatever. Granted, Lopez’s elements helped tell a more layered story at Fendi – Jones’ best effort since becoming Creative Director in late 2020 – but the collection was stronger for what it entailed, not what it was. she declared. Fringed silk dresses, ecru pantsuits with clean bras or vests and a cherry red sheepskin mini coat were all a nod to 1970s Paris, when Lopez and her creative partner. , Juan Ramos, hung out with Karl Lagerfeld, then at Chloe and Fendi, and together helped create a kind of fashion family. Still, the clothes, in part because of modern materials – the upturned skin instead of too much fur, new, lighter jacquards – and the restraint Jones showed, were unmistakably for today.
Photo: Courtesy of Fendi
Photo: Victor Virgile / Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
Fausto Puglisi, on his first runway show for Roberto Cavalli, might have been better served if he had showcased his many animal prints and punk-cut dresses in a digital format rather than on a catwalk. They would have looked graphic and sexy, in fact, they may still appear that way to consumers on Instagram. But in a live performance, with walls strangely draped in construction plastic – a work in progress? – sounded extremely stereotypical, as if Puglisi appealed to the lowest common denominator of tastes. Vintage Cavalli is apparently hot right now. Couldn’t he have struck a more real note, that is to say more human, with a touch of bohemian glamor?
Photo: Courtesy of Max Mara
Before the Max Mara show on Thursday, Creative Director Ian Griffiths told me, “What intrigued me was the idea of where we can go in our imaginations and how clothes can help us get there. reach.” I really like a good walk, but when you look at the clothes – the loose tank tops and ankle-length dresses in sand tones, the plain boxy jackets, the striped deckchairs – you are immersed in 1950s Paris.
No, not the Dior wasp waist ensemble, honey! Griffiths’ common thread in this direct and satisfying demonstration was the beatnik style of Françoise Sagan, the author of the existentialist novel on coming of age. Hello Sadness. “Sagan was a very middle-class woman who lived in high society but she dressed in the beatnik way,” Griffiths pointed out. “In jeans and work shirts.”
In other words, existentialists were already crossing gender and class boundaries. Like Jones, Griffiths has a skillful way of taking just what he needs from a historical reference, and nothing more. Airy denim pulls apart, sexy and sexy tank tops and chore jackets, including some in leather, are perfect for tentatively stepping into next spring.