Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Aquilano.Rimondi's Baroque Vision


Aquilano.Rimondi Fall/Winter 2012/13

Back in Tiepolo’s day, women in aristocratic circles might have spent about, oh, two hours or so to get dressed, once they (or more strictly speaking, those indentured in their service) had dealt with the stays, the paniers, and the stomachers, not to mention the parures of jewels. Pity that the likes of Tomasso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi of Aquilano.Rimondi weren’t around then. The duo had been looking at Tiepolo’s early 18th-century godly orchestrations of paint, canvas, and divinity, as well as the works of Mantegna and Artemesia, for fall. 

One of my favorite collections at Milano Fashion Week, - enjoy my previous Aquilano.Rimondo post 'Marble Sculptures by Aquilano.Rimondi' at the end of this post.  LoL, Andrea

The result was a baroque vision of short-boned dresses with sculpted hips, elaborately and expertly rendered in iridescent velvet, leather, and silk scrolled with jewels and heat-pressed curlicue motifs, in shades of ruby, emerald, and sapphire, that will take approximately 56 seconds to do up, assuming you have someone at hand to tackle the zipper that runs the length of the back. And unlike those in the royal court, barely able to move with the weight of everything they were wearing, Aquilano.Rimondi’s looks are, if not exactly light as air, then certainly close to it; they were also referencing scuba with those very same dresses.

“We are believers in maximalism,Aquilano said backstage, in the moments leading up to the show, as he and Rimondi were trying to effect their own divine intervention by getting the models dressed while being interviewed in front of a slew of television cameras. “It’s important to make women sit up and take notice of what you can do. Give them a simple black coat and they’ll think, ‘I could have designed that myself.’ ” So, yes, they had coats, but theirs are in a micro-jacquard that they’d had specially woven for a lean, high-buttoning style cut with a frocklike flow at the back, worn over flared crop pants and velvet bow pumps and bootees.

Both the coats and dresses came with that curiously chic touch that has been all over Milan; a high-necked or curved collar that gives a cardinal-like flourish to the look. With their collection, Aquilano.Rimondi caught the ecclesiastical opulence that has been occurring here as much as the Duomo holds mass, which is to say, several times daily. It’s the kind of excessive richness that Alexander McQueen would have plundered back in the day, a particularly dark and dramatic idea of sacredness. From Aquilano.Rimondi, though, it springs from more earthly concerns. “When the economy here is so bad,” said Aquilano, with a sigh, “you have to make fashion special and joyous. We’re designers, yes, but we also have to interpret what’s going on around us, and do our best to make it a little better.”

Selections by ANDREA JANKE Finest Accessories

Photo Credit/Source: VOGUE
Photography by Marcio Madeira 

Enjoy my previous Aquilano.Rimondi-post

'Marble Sculptures by Aquilano.Rimondi'

Spring/Summer 2012 Collection


Sunday, 26 February 2012

Milan Fashion Week | Jil Sander by Raf Simons

Jil Sander Fall/Winter 2012/13 by Raf Simons

The audience stood and cheered for Raf Simons as he took his final bow at Jil Sander today. Then they continued to stand and cheer until the designer, overwhelmed by emotion, reappeared on the catwalk. An ovation and an encore: That is the very definition of a hard fashion act to follow. Which is exactly as it should be, given what Simons has achieved in his seven years at Jil Sander. Never mind that this was the best collection he'd presented for the label. In light of the week's events, there was an unwittingly bitter irony to the story it told. After last season's women's-world scenario, Simons wanted to celebrate a day in the life of a relationship, the pure and simple pleasure of two as one. But Raf's no Pollyanna. He was equally engaged by the hard work it takes to maintain such an ideal. So he introduced chaos into his dream world. The most graphically significant element in his collection might have been the slash of shine that split open Julia Nobis' strapless matte black sheath. Thus are hopes and dreams splintered.

Before that climactic moment, however, there was a seamless parade of peerlessly beautiful dresses and coats. A grace note was struck from the moment models entered clutching their coats closed. In Raf's day-in-the-life scenario, these might have been bathrobes, just as insinuations of slips and nighties crept in later. A palette of blush pink, coffee, and pale gray underlined an early-morning feel. The soundtrack was Mazzy Star's "Fade into You" and Sonic Youth's version of the Carpenters classic "Superstar," both songs where love is lorn. Can melancholia be uplifting? Here be proof, compounded by Smashing Pumpkins' "Tonight, Tonight," one of Simons' favorite songs. It sounded like an envoi to the Sander years.

He called his previous three seasons for Sander his "couture trilogy," and even before this week's shock announcement that he was departing and the house's namesake founder was returning, Simons had decided he wanted to unhinge the perfect universe he'd created. The leathered-up menswear collection he showed here in January cued a dark finale for his womenswear, where black leather and PVC threw a fetish wrench in a perfect day. Again, irony, in that the complete control of his Spring collection implied that chaos is a shot away. And here it finally was. Good luck to his successor. She'll need it.

The coats often shrugged open to reveal camisole slipdresses intriguingly pieced from different types of knit, a hand-knit-looking cable for the sleeves, say; the finest underwear jersey for the torso; and a thicker gauge for the gently swinging skirts. Those luxurious double-face coats with their welted seams, a classic Jil Sander signature, were cut like balmacaans or full-bodied swing coats in fine meltons or even a stiff cotton. 

Characteristically, however, Simons had reimagined those armorial originals for the modern woman, with poetic asymmetry to the skirts, and in light or innovative fabrics. These included a soft, mauve-pink charmeuse satin, draped like a pareo over a buff-colored bra top, and a fine vinyl, in platinum that winked beneath a pale stone-colored coat, or in black sliced into black wool in a curving spiral, or draped into a dramatic panache over a strapless wool bodice. Those structured bra or off-the-shoulder tops were also worn with high-waist, wide-leg pants, a look that suggested a modern jumpsuit.

Accessories included an elegant strappy high heel that pieced chic neutral colors with a dash of fluo in a sophisticated patchwork, and a simple rectangular clutch in reflective or crystal-dazzled fabrics. Some of the coats were cut to the ankles, like the most luxurious dressing gowns or the kind of “at home” robes favored by midcentury tastemakers such as Mona Bismarck, Marella Agnelli, and Pauline de Rothschild. In this collection, Simons has continued his engagement with the style of those iconic “haute couture” ladies and their lifestyles and couturiers that have intrigued him for several seasons.

The strapless or off-the-shoulder evening dresses, with their full, swinging skirts of origami complexity, for instance, evoked the midcentury masterworks of Charles James, Christian Dior, and Jacques Fath. The first girl to appear wrapped about her a version in soft sugar pink wool faced in stone, and subsequent variants were in subtle colors like orchid and rose pinks, mauve, and a vivid poppy red; colors that were reflected in the ravishing floral arrangements that dotted the stage, modernistically encased within Lucite boxes. (These latter-day Dutch still-lives were the work of Simons’s friend and fellow Antwerp native, Mark Colle.)  In a collection as elegant, nuanced, and thoughtful as the designer himself, Raf Simons’s final show for the house of Jil Sander proved an exquisite coda to his remarkable career here.

Selections by ANDREA JANKE Finest Accessories

Photo Credit/Source: VOGUE
Photography by Marcio Madeira/firstVIEW

Enjoy my previous Milan Fashion Week-post - 

Fall/Winter 2012/12 Collection 

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