To Neneh Cherry's erotic version of the Cole Porter classic "I've Got You Under My Skin," Miuccia Prada made femme fatales out of her Miu Miu girls. Models in high-heeled pumps wore outfits cut from dark denim, an odd choice for the designer. But she made it look both sexy and contemporary by counter balancing it with the slightly 1950's feel of the show. Lots of splotchy fur coats and stoles came paired with skirt suits and dresses crafted from wrinkled satin -- as if the model had just returned to work after a lunchtime tryst. There were also retro looking bra tops with matching pencil skirts and printed dresses that looked like they had been shot by oversized paintball pellets -- as if the wearer had been caught out on her dalliances.
But because most of the clothing was crafted in forgiving shapes -- wide cut jackets, long dresses, cocooning furs -- the sexual overtones were tampered down just enough to give this show the feeling of effortless eroticism.
Designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli’s Spring collection was not about red carpet dressing. Although any one of the long evening gowns — from the reserved looking version in Valentino red that revealed a nude back, to the final all white option with delicate blooms— would win raves from the Hollywood fashion set. No, this show was about making an everyday outfit exceptional: sweet dresses painted with a dandelion motif, slip dresses that came with graphic slits judiciously inserted and those that featured bib fronts covered in lace all fit the bill. And to make sure that the show didn’t become too sugar sweet, the designers added just the right amount of sensuality into the line up. This came in the form of a plastic, studded raincoat and a pleated organza dress spiced up with strips of snakeskin bonded to the pleats. It was a terrific show that perfectly encapsulated the past of the Valentino brand but showed that these designers have their sights set on its future.
Once again, Sarah Burton showed her mastery of the McQueen esthetic — its corseted shapes, structured suiting and skeletal hoop skirted style — and imbued it with all things bee related.
“After last season’s explosion of proportions I wanted to bring it back to the silhouette of the house, which is about womanhood and embracing femininity and the female form,” said Burton, who is pregnant with her first child. She certainly did that. There was a real sensuality to the show. Models, their faces half hidden by designer versions of a beekeeper bonnets, marched down the runway in golden honeycomb printed suits, shorts and dresses with wasp waistlines accentuated with wide belts. Slightly more S&M-like ensembles came out in graphic see-though black lacquered lace with resin colored corsetry or harness-like armature that brought to mind hardened honey. “I wanted to look at the waist and the hips and the bust and then peel it away,” explained Burton “ I wanted it to feel erotic, but not overtly sexual.”
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