Its usually the Americans that go the bigger is better route but it seems as if the Italians were on something of a supersize kick for Spring 2009 with the catwalks showcasing more than a few larger than life options; Frankie Morello had giant dog tags, Fendi showed enormous belts, Moschino did oversized bows and let's not forget the bizarrely outsized necklaces at both Marni and Burberry. But the real winner of the bigger is better prize? Agathe Ruiz De La Prada showed an entire collection that made us feel like we were childrend again, staring up at some bigger, better, and bolder world.
Lorella Signorino must be cursing her "models and bottles" Love Sex Money name right now as the idea of conspicuous consumption and all its attendant sexual aspirations begin to strike the majority of the population as in bad taste. But that didn't stop the collection from being full of peek a boob delights, following in the footsteps of a solid majority of Milan collections for Spring 2009, even as it tempered the sex of a gentile dose of loving femininity. Soothing whites and creams with charming cut outs took care of the love, the sheer delights took care of the sex, but given the tough market now all we can say is show me the money.
Amid all the seriousness of the financial crisis in America and the muted Milan catwalks, Agatha Ruiz De La Prada's good natured loopiness for her Spring 2009 collection left us all smiles. Exagerated bowties, giant hearts, and entire flower beds create a kind of adult candyland in which the proportions are so much bigger for the express purpose of making us feel like kids again.
Not that we can imagine anyone but the most loopy grandmother or the most darling precocious child actually having the guts to put on a dress with the kind of proportions on display but the mere notion that someone is still cheery enough to try cheers us immensely.
Donatella must really be counting on things getting better in the next decade, or at least by spring, as Versace Spring 2009 had a positively mod futurism to it along with its traditional sleek sexual appeal, but then we must say the two aesthetics dovetail nicely.
Clean, crisp, shiny, even a bit ascetic if we can use that term to describe Versace without a smirk. But then we contend going for flippant frippery in a downturn is something that is psychologically challenging for consumers so perhaps the Versace team is simply merchandising for a recession. We certainly found it appealing even if we are not the target Versace. We could have done without the pastoral floral billowing gowns which did not feel integrated into the over all theme but then since everyone is doing the billowing gown we suppose they did it just for the trend report round ups.
Matthew Williamson has grown in popularity and as a designer steadily over the last few years so its little surprise that his own vision has seen a similar development in clarity, and it is little surprise that this focus is emerging as a point of contention for his soon to be former bosses at Pucci. We personally felt his Isle of Capri vacation as state of being theme for Pucci Spring 2009 was very much in line with the ideals of the house. But the downside of working with a house that is so iconically associated with an aesthetic is that any types of personal reinterpretation are invariably going to be viewed with suspicion.
Unlike brands with specific pieces of iconography like a logo or traditional silhouettes, a print and a defined aesthetic leave little room for the current creative's own artistic vision. This is not necessarily a bad thing as much of fashion is about the marketing of a commercially viable position, something a brand like Pucci is sure to relish in a downturn of conflicted attentions and pocket books. But combine that with a creative director that has his own flare for prints and trouble can occur. Take the brand too far from its roots and you diminish its inherent capital and that of its designers. Its a lose lose situation for both parties. Whether Peter Dundras will have any more like remains to be seen but we wish him the best.