TOP: Fendi. ABOVE:
Gucci, by Tom Ford. ABOVE RIGHT AND
Expectations were high on Tom
Ford's farewell effort for the Florentine house, and nobody wanted
to miss the show
PRETTINESS and a touch of decadence
run across the Milanese winter 20045 catwalks, heralding a
fashion message strong on luxe and lavish elegance. The 20s
are heavily in the air, and so are the frilly 50s, with enough
tweeds and chiffons, brocades and beads, satins and, most of all,
luscious furs around to keep stylish women fashionably busy for
the next six months and beyond.
In spite of grim times, or maybe because of them,
designers painted the picture of a new belle époque, complete
with hourglass silhouette, reminding us all that fashion has a lot
to do with seduction, and seduction is a game probably best played
dressed up, and in high heels. References to the perfectly put-together
elegance of the pasta time when women didn't dare touch the
door without an impeccably coiffed head, gloved hands and small
necessities ensconced in demure clutch bagwere at times almost
literal, but carried out with a modern, cheerful spirit. The couture-like
short coat with three-quarter-length sleeves made a noteworthy comeback,
together with redingotes, lamb chop sleeves optional.
Shape-wise, the accent is again on the waist,
cinched and nipped to breathtaking perfection, while fluttering
hemlines often ended right at the knee in perfect ladylike fashion.
The overall effect is unapologetically feminine. Period.
The season's hot ticket was Gucci.
Expectations were high on Tom Ford's farewell effort for the Florentine
house, and nobody wanted to miss the show. When the Texan designer
took the role of creative director 10 years ago, the house of Gucci
had admittedly no fashion identity. He literally built it all up
from scratch, perfecting a style that is now utterly iconic. It's
a formula centred around an almost predatory, sexually-confident
brand of glamour.
The collection Ford delivered for winter openly
looked like a best of, with quasi-literal replicas or
flashbacks of some of the past 10 years best numbers. It was
almost as if Ford was paying homage to himself. The white coat with
black leather ribbon belt from 1999 was there,only this time the
funnel neck led the way to a plush collar cut from a whole fox skin.
Then there was the petrol-blue smoking jacket from the first collectionaround
1995worn over beaded trousers. Later came the Halston-y white
jersey, second-skin dresses from 1997, morphed into something more
complicated via artful draping.
Darts and complicated cuts, with strips of different
fabrics contouring the torso-like sculpture, showed off Ford's technical
expertise, which has far surpassed initial expectations. His touches
defined a body-hugging silhouette built on jackets cropped at hip
level, knee-length skirts and funnel trousers.