The world seems pretty F’d up right now so why not look to heroes for the resilience to carry-on, inspire or excite? Three designers Miuccia Prada, Paul Andrew and Massimo Giorgetti each did in their own way.
In case you are wondering Miuccia Prada might respect animals but doesn’t like them according to one fashion insider. So, the wooden 3D puzzle-effect cardboard horse statue (designed of course by Rem Koolhaas) with a mountie (or was it a man and women a la Lady Godiva astride it?) that sat in each “carre” of the piazza-inspired Prada men’s set had nothing to do with that. Nor did it her recent Miu Miu Resort outing staged at Paris’ Hippodrome d’Auteuil racetrack. If anything, Mrs. Prada was ironically looking at heroic portrayal in the 1800s in which war heroes and such sat gallantly atop their faithful steed.
Post-show Mrs. Prada spoke to a group of rabid critics eager for some insight on the show. “In this big confusion or complication of the current time between the world going wrong or going better, discussion between the sexes, on survival or not, I wanted to give an indication that the only thing that makes me calm, relaxed and optimistic is to give value to work; to give value to things that matter in your life and your work.” The designer went on to explain that in this sense, creativity is mixed with technicalities similar to the Secessionist period when ideas, creativity and actual physical work converged. Her ode to the everyday hero. “I want to give a hope that in this casino (aka crazy world) if you do well your job, paired with intelligence, and with culture, then this already is something… It’s to give respect to work, to effort, to fatigue, and to what is difficult.”
Mrs. Prada translated these mind-easers into some recognizable yet indistinct workers – latter-day Mad Men office types; a farming country gent in corduroy or the dangerous chemicals or industrial food handler in the nylon “lab coat” each type donning rubber protective boots; or the sleeveless construction worker only this time in a shirt and vest a la Ivy League prof. The designer declined to specifically name any career, so the job viewed was in the eye of the beholder. She popped the looks up with Mid-Century modern art-inspired prints and just because a stirrup detail on every pant leg figuratively grounding each model. Juxtaposing it all as Prada always keeps us on one’s toes, a series of pajama-inspired tops and bottoms arrived for those who prefer to do their work from the comfort of their bed, a-hem. No argument here.
After three seasons of combining the men’s and women’s collection runway shows in order to project a unified message for the house of Salvatore Ferragamo, creative director Paul Andrew decided to separate the two to allow “each one a little space to breath on its own.” That added space guided Andrew’s vision of exploring six different male archetypes, especially those of the retro sort.
“I thought about what masculinity means today and it’s our first Ferragamo show of the decade,” Andrew told The Impression backstage. “Once upon a time, men fit into certain tropes and rarely moved out of them.” Andrew referenced a businessman, biker, soldier, sailor, race car driver or surfer (editor’s note: namely the James Bond scuba-suit sort)
“The younger generation has the freedom and ease to mix all these types. I’m inspired by the younger guys I see in my office and my family who aren’t afraid of mixing these things together, it’s really quite inspiring.” He said adding, “The young millennial is happy to be 10 different things.”
It could have swayed hokey but in Andrew’s tasteful hands along with men’s design director Guillaume Meilland, the collection was an elegant rendition of those types with subtle nods – i.e. a military jumpsuit done up in denim; a high sailor pant waist; a grey pinstripe short suit and a leather racing suit complete with fine knit helmet liners. The surfer inspiration came not only from the archetype but a pair of vintage 1980s Japanese surfer pants made to tear off quickly to hit the waves that Andrew found in Japan. These became Velcro tabs on coats which allow for a quick change on overcoats and jackets that transform a nipped waist to an oversized fit.
Color is key to Ferragamo DNA and Andrew explored the softer side of these alpha males in color combos like burgundy and pink or pale clay in a suit and funnel neck wool flannel overcoat meant to appeal to today’s more fluid shopper. But Andrew doesn’t feel the Ferragamo man needs to jump on the genderless train. “It’s interesting these times that anything goes; I am all for that and dress in that way all of the time. We had a few nods to a feminine side like boys with eyeliner in the show. But I think that the Ferragamo man is apt to identify more traditionally male.” he said. “But it’s all about mixing it together; there is fluidity and something for everyone.”
Getting to work with an idol from your teens is a universal dream and exactly how MSGM men’s (and women’s) show “Haunted” came together. Designer Massimo Giorgetti reached out to Italian horror film master Dario Argento whose cult flicks were his adolescent movie mainstays. “My team convinced me finally and I emailed him, and he answered me the next day!” That story certainly explained the red movie lights and smoke machine effects throughout the show.
The director of classics wasn’t so far-fetched of a partner when it came to making clothes. Telling The Impression backstage post-show Girogetti said, “It’s weird and interesting because he is really a lover of color.” Not typically what the film genre is about adding, “He loves beauty; beautiful colors and women but he likes the ugliness too.” Dichotomy is the director’s mantra and Giorgetti interpreted it in the collection which was full of colorful wool flannel overcoats and other brights peppered against custom prints taken from the director’s films – yes, that was a demon cat and dripping blood on a shirt and jacket presumably drawn from Il Gatto a Nove Code and Deep Red. Other Argento classics such as Suspiria and Inferno inspired what initially appeared as lively floral-like prints but upon closer inspection revealed something spooky. Owing to the 70s/80s time frame of the director’s work, the clothes were quite classic almost preppy in nature. “The sinisterness is there in the lights, music and set but in the end, you see its really optimistic and happy.”
A dream this may be for Giorgetti, it’s rooted in strategy. The commercial showroom collection is chock full of memorabilia-centric merch that will hit a similar nostalgia nerve and sell like hotcakes.