The Malta Independent 25 May 2024, Saturday
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Fendi, Del Core, Marras envelop women in protective garb for next winter

Associated Press Monday, 15 April 2024, 11:13 Last update: about 2 months ago

An anti-fur protester crashed the Fendi runway show Wednesday during the first day of Milan Fashion Week of mostly womenswear previews for Fall-Winter 2024-25.

The PETA activist jumped into the models' finale holding up a sign that read "Animals are not clothing," before being whisked away by security. The animal rights group is pressuring Fendi to join other global fashion brands that have agreed to use synthetic alternatives to real fur.

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Fendi was born nearly a century ago as a fur and leather shop in Rome, and fur remains a core part of the brand's DNA, even if featured a bit less on their runway shows in recent years.

Some highlights from Wednesday's shows:

FENDI'S UTILITARIAN LOOKS

Kim Jones created utilitarian looks in a somber palette for Fendi's next cold-weather season, with a twist.

Outwear was sculpted with big sleeves and arching lines, made cozy by criss-crossing knitwear that layered over top as fishermen knit scarves or cardigan shawls, sometimes anchored by sleeves.

Suggesting a devil-may-care attitude, ribbed bodysuits were left untucked with leather trousers and a shearling jacket. One-shoulder knitwear hedged bets against climate warming, paired with shiny leather skirts and boots.

Jones said the collection was meant to marry 1980s British subculture with Roman style epitomized by Silvia Venturini Fendi, the brand's menswear and accessories designer, who was wearing a "very chic utilitarian suit" when they met.

"That fundamentally shaped my view of what Fendi is," Jones said. "It is how a woman dresses that has something substantial to do. And she can have fun while doing it."

ANTONIO MARRAS' HEROIC TRIBUTE

Sardinian-born Italian designer Antonio Marras doesn't just create a new collection every season. He creates entire new worlds.

Marras celebrated Sardinia's most famous heroine, the medieval Princess Eleonor of Arborea, having a dialogue with her falconer that was the backdrop to the runway collection: Eleonor, in an embroidered cape over an empire waist dress. The falconer in a kilt, an intarsia sweater and heavy hiking boots.

Models emerged from the ruins of an observatory being overtaken by vines, as if coming from another world or emerging from hibernation. They were enveloped in protective capes, crocheted helmets and corsets as breastplates. Argyle knitwear was constructed with silver hardware, as if armor; jackets featured big bustles covering shorts. An enormous white headpiece with a face-covering trap door gave drama to a sheer chiffon trailing dress with leaf imprints.

The collection was made from a mélange of wispy florals and sturdy checks and tartans. Unfinished or deconstructed garments with loose threads or spiky beading gave the collection an organic feel, as if the wearer could blend back in with the natural world.

The collection's motive was a broken heart, appearing on tights and socks, or as purses. Tradition has it that Eleonor, after uniting Sardinia, died of the plague, which in Marras' telling forced her to abandon her beloved falconer.

DIESEL ZOOMS IT IN

Artistic director Glenn Martens staged his latest runway show in front of a wall of 1,000 zoomed-in Diesel fans from around the globe, some of whom used their moment in the fashion spotlight to apply makeup or literally flex their muscles. At least one mother hovered in the background.

The cameras started airing behind-the-scenes shots of Martens and his team preparing 72 hours before the show. "Diesel is a fashion democracy, so it is natural for us to reveal what is usually kept hidden,'' Martens said in show notes.

Martens continued his experimentation with textiles, creating fabrics that seemed to disintegrate into something else, a floral into an animal print, or, conversely, a bright red underlayer seemed to burst out of a dark floral. The effects created a kind of celebratory doomsday scenario of shifting garments, a sense of impermanence.

Plaid trousers seem to be disappearing, as if melting, in a process the show notes describe as "burnt out;" a bra top burst out of a disappearing argyle minidress. Whatever the technique, it's all proprietary to Diesel, and kept under lock at its Veneto headquarters, part of the brand's new mystique.

DANIEL DEL CORE COCOONS

German-born designer Daniel Del Core drapes his woman in rich cashmere for elegant day looks and bustles her in soft, thick knitwear outfitted with protective snoods, before transitioning to an explosion of color and a more fitted silhouette for his latest collection.

The Gucci alum who was head of VIP dressing said backstage that he wanted to make a collection that "could suit many women. I wanted things to be easy, but still be chic."

A centerpiece of the season was a sleeveless corset jacket zipped up, fitted at times with a thick cropped snood sweater or left to fall casually open at the neckline and layered with crystals. Crocheted long dresses included bursts of fringe, and big oversized hoods created a personal safe space. Del Core confronted head-on the human form's pointy bits, highlighting hip bones, knees and nipples with little upturned points, a tailored version of merengue swirls, best seen on a sleek bodysuit with a green and red photographic print.

"We all have pointy parts. It is like 'look but don't touch.' It's kind of a sexy thing,'' he said, adding. "I think we need a little lightness."

ROBERTO CAVALLI'S MARBLE INSPIRATION

Creative director Fausto Puglisi recreated textile versions of Italian marble with every technique imaginable for his latest Roberto Cavalli collection.

The Cavalli urban rock 'n' roll silhouette included long flowing stage dresses, sexy baby-doll looks, while an urban chic mini-skirts and jacket combos and shiny, treated trench spoke to city life. A series of pretty velvet dresses with sexy slits, cutouts and built-in capes closed the show.

"In this moment, we need a little elegance,'' Puglisi said backstage." I want to bring strong tough but elegant at the same time."

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