Thrashin’ Fashion: Baring All
by Laia Garcia
After London comes Milan, and while a lot of the bigwigs show there (Prada! Versace! Gucci!), it can generally feel like a snoozefest. Milan is known as the city of glamour and excess, I guess, and if you looked through the collections you certainly noticed. But glamour and excess can be boring when they’re all the same. And anyway, it seems that glamour and excess have come to mean an exposed nipple, which, if you are Rihanna or take your fashion cues from her, you would be very excited about.
In Aquilano Rimondi you could bare your nipples under an emerald green chiffon extra-long shirt, worn under a white wrap skirt that didn’t quite come all the way around, in that same skirt-over-dress formula we saw in New York a few weeks ago.
At Ports 1961 the turtlenecks were so thin they looked more like a Photoshop filter than an actual garment. Still, they paired it with a proper little pleated skirt to have that old-money-playing-tennis (on Skinemax, maybe) look.
For a more formal bare-breast look, take your pick of Blumarine dresses: transparent mesh with strategically placed flower appliques, a very, very, very fancy interpretation of Lil Kim’s famed dress, I’m sure.
There were NO nipples at Versace (surprise!) but Donatella did show her best collection since she took over the label after Gianni’s death; possibly because the collection had its roots in the very same clothes he designed and Richard Avedon shot in his iconic ad campaigns, which I dutifully cut out of magazines and hung on the walls of my teenage bedroom.
The sheer trend came into play here as well, except it was showing a sort of tension: wsheer stripes separating heavily sequinned pieces of fabric, creating the illusion of a floating garment, like something out of The Jetsons. The colors were bright, there was skin and sex appeal for miles, of course, but it was breaking new ground by not relying on Donatella’s fondness for the “rock n’ roll chick” aesthetic, which has just become so tired.
Nobody bared it all as beautifully as Francesco Scognamiglio, whose Victorian-inspired dresses in a tight palette of white, antiqued fire-yellow, and black were the perfect combination of conservative: dowdy silhouettes with an undeniable sense of sensuality. A collarless sheer white shirt with lace applique coming up the bust lines and sleeves, paired with a sheer white skirt with a wide satin stripe at the hem, made me question whether or not I should pursue a lifestyle that would allow me to dress so immaculately at all time. (I can’t wear white, I will inevitably spill something on it. Whether it’s because I’m clumsy or because the fear of spilling causes me to spill, we’ll never know.)
Of course, the reason why this collection had an air of sophistication as opposed to being a fashion edition of Playboy was the high-waist, boy-cut underwear worn underneath each look. I hope you will remember it next time you venture out in a layer of nothing. You’re welcome.
At Allesandro Dell’Aqua’s No. 21, a favorite label that is also the hardest to Google, Hanne Gaby stepped out in a black cropped tank top, with a square collar so low that only the top 1/8 of an inch of her nipple showed. An on-purpose-wardrobe-malfunction (aren’t they all?) to spice up your life a little bit.
Elsewhere, though, the collection was supremely wearable; a tan sheer oversized shirt paired with a matching tan skirt, belted with a big black patent leather belt and worn with gold heels featuring an oversized bow that skewed the feet’s perspective. A plaid apron dress with encrusted jewels at the shoulders, showing just enough side boob to be titillating and not vulgar, paired with the same oversized bow shoes. Dell’Aqua’s clothes always feel very modern, and he always injects enough interesting details to make it weird; they’re almost perfect, not because they are flawed but because they are unexpected.
And if we’re talking about weird clothes that are also practically perfect in every way, then we are surely talking about Marni. Marni is the official uniform of “eccentric” art aficionados everywhere (at least the ones that don’t wear all black). The first looks were surprisingly minimal, in a palette of linen, white, and black, there were sculptural dresses and kicky summer separates. All fine of course, but that is not why I or anyone else comes to Marni. If we want subdued, there’s a million other places we can get subdued. (speaking as the royal “we” of course; my lifestyle does not yet afford me to “go to Marni” for anything.)
Then, slowly, an abstract floral in the same colors appeared. After that, a bold black-and-white striped fabric started shaking things up, until finally, pink and blue and green appeared. Before I knew it, there was an explosion of floral prints and illustrations with thick, painterly lines, exactly the kind of celebration of life I was waiting for. And the shoes! Known for their super weird, color-blocked, clunky, almost-ugly show, the shoes did not disappoint. There were flatform sandals with geometric prints on the sole, weirdo flatform pumps that looked like you put on a “not-a-sock” and tied the sole to your foot with a ribbon, and the piece-de-resistance, the sandals with two sideways cylinders for heels, flattening out everything in your path. As it should be.
It’s possible that the biggest surprise this season came from Dsquared. Rooted in a casual vibe, the clothes were easy and too cool for school (except not actually “too cool”, maybe just the right amount of cool). Their color-blocked fabrics were retro and were done up in everything: little shorts, jackets, and ballgown skirts that were paired with white shrunken tees — my dream prom look, back in the day. The pants were all low-slung to expose a bit of an elastic underwear waist, an ode to the boys with their Calvin Klein’s peeking through skater jeans. The models all wore thick-rimmed glasses, mimicking Dean and Dan Caten own look, but they also added to the super cool vibe running through the entire collection. When a model wearing a white cropped tee, kinda-oversized denim shorts (with requisite underwear waistband exposed) and a long, silk printed jacket carelessly thrown over her shoulders, appeared on the runway, I knew I had found my ultimate style inspiration. A perfect way to do LUH-XSHU-REE for a lil ole’ mortal like me.
And I guess I couldn’t talk about Milan fashion week without mentioning Moschino, the kooky Italian house now helmed by American bad boy Jeremy Scott. It was a collection inspired by Barbie. Cool story, fratello.
I guess Milan DID wow me over after all. Maybe it’s just that the city doesn’t have a collective feel the way that New York and London do. Or maybe I was just salty because I look forward to the Prada show each season, like a kid looks forward to their birthday and all I can say is: wow, those are some really cool socks. It’s fine, though. There’s always next season.
Laia Garcia is a writer and stylist based in Brooklyn. One time, Chris Kraus made her cry.