It all started in the early 1980s when brands that specialised in accessories, notably Gucci and Prada, started making clothes. It was a fashion movement that spread across the world. Will it ever stop?
On a Milan fashion day when shoes from Aquazzura or Sergio Rossi are on display, with many more over the weekend, it is time to pose a question. Is a divorce now on its way for marriages between accessory creatives and fashion clothing?
Tod’s: Feet First
Diego Della Valle and his brother Andrea are opening a new Tod’s flagship store this weekend on Via Montenapoleone, one of the most powerful shopping streets in Milan.
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But, significantly, when it came to Friday’s runway show, the focus was on the colourful shoes, often backless with a curving kitten heel.
The clothes were nice enough – fresh but fancied up with some super-light fabrics. A slim skirt with a laser-cut pattern from thigh to hem looked spruce. So did shiny dark skirts or dresses with pleats inserted like a shower curtain at one side.
Loafers – gleaming golden – were the glitter choice of the moment.
But whereas Della Valle has, in the past, hired fashion designers, such as Alessandra Facchinetti, the studio team behind the current clothing no longer even comes out for applause.
The big excitement for Diego and his brother Andrea was the discovery in the archives of an old ‘T- for Tod’s’ logo which has been dusted down and used again. “Re-purposed” in the current parlance. In fact, the big ‘T’ appeared as a bold clasp on many of the shoulder or other handbags.
It seems a wise moment to focus on what works for an established business. Or to put it more crudely: what sells.
Bottega Veneta: An Uneasy Fit
Behind the big changes at Bottega Veneta is Daniel Lee, the English designer who has come via Celine (which started long ago as a French accessories house).
The Italian company was born from handbags and particularly from Bottega’s signature intrecciato weave.
So the floor with its squishy leather placed under a transparent, glassy material, made a fine introduction to the show.
“It’s a culmination of everything that we have been working on so far,” said Lee. “It’s about solidifying, thriving and the things we have been known for: reality dressing and clothes to live in. We want to express ease.”
The volumes looked so awkward, with wrinkly fits at the front which might, of course, be a “new look”. However, few women want a dress that looks like an imperfect fit. Ditto for the desire to have a monkey print around the breast.
“We wanted to be cheeky – our ready-to-wear clothes felt very graphic and self prints are something we like – it was graphic and Matisse like.”https://www.instagram.com/p/B2oMUyvnP7s/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=dlfixConversely, the men’s outfits looked bold and strong – say wide leather shorts and a scarlet sweater.
“Living in the moment – enjoying life,” was the designer’s mantra. And there is no doubt how influential he has become with his much-copied bags.
“For me, it’s really about the quality, which is super important to Bottega”, the designer said. “That’s what I want people to take away from the show.”