Can we talk about jeans for a second? (Zzzzzzzz….) Yeah yeah – I’m already fainting from boredom. First of all, let’s get this ‘jeans-of-the-moment’ consumer sop out of our collective fashion system right now. We’re going back to standard issue Levi 501s – shrink or savage them as you will. They always were the best, and probably always will be. Yes, there will always be exceptions. I’ve noticed a few myself. And it’s not like I’m throwing out my J.Brands or the skin-tight Cheap Monday jeans (that really are tight and really were cheap) that seem to be this Examiner’s alternative to black tights. Yes, this year’s model 7 for All Mankind look perfect; and I liked a couple pairs of Diesels I saw and a, uhh… G-g-g-Gucci pair. (Please forget I just said that.) But, while we’re not going to get all doctrinaire on this point, the fatuous hype and posturing around what was once and forever will be an essentially utilitarian piece of apparel (and all the more perfect for it) stops here and now. I could mention one or two things that touched that off, but they really don’t deserve your time.
Okay – now for some good news. Although I practically lost my breakfast looking at the Kinder Agguguini “color block” separates – in red and (gag) pink – for the umpteenth time this morning, I was instantly revived by perusing last night’s vogue.com, style.com and New York Times coverage out of Milan. Yes, there was a ‘usual suspect’ factor (gee you guys are quick). Okay, so he’s done it again – originally, freshly, a real departure in every sense, yet true to the Jil Sander spirit (a spirit which – be advised – lives only one more season at Uniqlo): the clean, restrained lines, the out-scale paisleys in cool or springflower colors (or even grays), the elegant, almost deconstructionist play on the shirt-dress (or shirt-dress over camisole); or played as a suit, setting off an exposed rectangle of bare flesh, or simply playing with transparency in sheer tiers or panels; or (in brilliant fuschia), as a kind of tunic dressing.
Is this about your Examiner’s particular requirements for elegance? Well, sure. But we’re not saying it’s enough – oh no.
The cool restraint is refreshing; and who’s going to complain about a bit of distance and practicality in luxury labels? But what is it with the shirtwaist? Lagerfeld riffed on tailored shirting and menswear fabrics in the Fendi ready-to-wear collection he designs with Silvia Venturini Fendi, telling everyone from the get-go that he was deliberately moving away from evening and red carpet looks to put renewed emphasis on day-wear. Goddess only knows L.A. needs to see that memo; but many of the shirt-pieces seemed stilted; and even the more successful deconstructions seemed almost absurdly self-conscious and over-worked in their details. The contrasting vertical and horizontal ticking, the loops, the ribbons, the buttons – where does it end? The details worked with the simpler (stripes against solids) looks, mostly in subdued palettes (tan, umber). But details always stand out at a house like Fendi: shoes, accessories, eyewear. You really look at the hair and make-up on the models on the runway because they set the tone.
I guess I wasn’t the only one who noticed the effortless luxury of the flapper dress this past summer – because you’ll be seeing some flapper-inspired dresses from Gucci next spring and summer. Blame it on Matthew Barney – some of those dresses would have been terrific in the Chrysler Building segment of his Cremaster series. You’d think Frida Giannini had lifted some of the design motives from the old Bullocks Wilshire store. But you’ll have to wait before we walk through those elevator doors again.
[Examiner’s Note: Most of these notes were compiled early last week – publication delayed due to unusually heavy (Pacific Standard Time-related) calendar.]