A Gucci spokesperson said the uniforms and straitjackets would not be sold. Photograph: Jacopo Raule/Getty Images for GucciIf fashion is a reflection of the times it is little wonder that the current round of shows have often felt discombobulating.Gucci’s show on Sunday night was was particularly surreal, opening with a series of models being propelled along a conveyor belt catwalk, staring bleakly ahead, wearing a high fashion take on straitjackets.However, in a protest that a press officer confirmed was not planned, one of the models held up their hands on which the words “mental health is not fashion” had been written. The model, Ayesha Tan Jones, later posted a video from the show on their Instagram feed:> View this post on Instagram> > STATEMENT for my protest of the @gucci show ✊🏽 MENTAL HEALTH IS NOT FASHION> > A post shared by YaYa Bones (@ayeshatanjones) on Sep 22, 2019 at 8:23am PDTThe video was accompanied by a statement that read: “As an artist and model who has experienced my own struggles with mental health, as well as family members and loved ones who have been affected by depression, anxiety, bipolar and schizophrenia, is hurtful and insensitive for a major fashion house such as Gucci to use this imagery as a concept for a fleeting fashion moment.”It added: “It is in bad taste for Gucci to use the imagery of strait jackets and outfits alluding to mental patients, while being rolled out on a conveyor belt as if a piece of factory meat.“Presenting these struggles as props for selling clothes in today’s capitalist climate is vulgar, unimaginative and offensive to the millions of people around the world affected by these issues.”Some attendees, such as the actor and model Hari Nef, defended the show’s concept. She wrote on Instagram: “It was more a provocative reminder of submission than a glamorisation of insanity.”Gucci’s creative director, Alessandro Michele, said at a press conference afterwards that he had been thinking “about humanity and uniforms. A uniform is something that blocks and constrains you - that makes you anonymous. That makes you follow the direction of travel.” The straitjacket, he said, was “the highest type of uniform”.A Gucci spokesperson said the uniforms and straitjackets “were a statement for the fashion show and will not be sold”.The brand’s notoriously philosophical press notes dug into the concept further, referencing Michel Foucault, “biopolitics” and “the ‘microphysics of powers’ that molecularly operates inside society … a power that legitimises only some existences, confining the others inside a regime of containment and/or invisibility”.Mental health campaigners might point out that people who have mental health issues and live on the margins of society could relate to that experience.This was the brand’s first ready-to-wear show after the damaging backlash against a sweater whose design looked distressingly like blackface. Gucci pulled the item, apologised unreservedly and has appointed a diversity chief. Something safe and uncontroversial might have been expected.After that opening tableau – which was searingly lit – the audience was plunged into darkness. Then the lights flickered on and the main collection was shown. This was a pared-back take on the maximalist dressing up box aesthetic that has made Gucci such a behemoth. It was stripped back, relatively speaking, with a few outfits only comprising - say - a pair of boots, a pair of trousers and a shirt, or 70s-style flared suits with a rollback underneath.The collection was designed to celebrate individuality and did so with some beautiful dresses, such as one turquoise floor-length number, mismatched trainers – one foot neon yellow, one foot pink – which look to be a surefire commercial hit, and glasses with unexpectedly thick “geek chic” chains. In a further controversial touch there were anklets and bracelets that looked like bullet casings.The impressive front row – Sienna Miller and Iggy Pop were among the sparkly Gucci-clad crowd – stood to applaud as Michele took his bow.This was also the brand’s first carbon-neutral show, with attendants’ carbon dioxide emissions offset and the set to be reused in shops. Earlier this month Gucci promised to become an entirely carbon-neutral company. Its CEO, Marco Bizzarri, said the brand had considered rethinking fashion shows altogether, but felt technology was not yet sufficiently advanced to replace the practice.In the press conference, Michele said: “The fashion show is truly a great occasion. It’s like going to the theatre to see a play - you are either there or you have not seen it. We all have iPhones but nobody can really tell you what it was like.”
With the Green Carpet Fashion Awards opening in Milan, the eco pioneer explains why the once-unfashionable concept is a winner. Ethical fashion used to be unfashionable. When Livia Firth launched her consultancy, Eco-Age, a decade ago, she says, “it was something no one was talking about”. During the current round of fashion shows – from Extinction Rebellion’s protests to dresses made from recycled plastic bottles – people have talked about little else. In the last two months, says Firth, “we have turned a corner finally. It is a beautiful moment, but it is also very dangerous. Fast fashion is the first offender in sustainability and there is greenwashing at a level there has never been before”. Firth is speaking from Milan as she and her team put the finishing touches to the Green Carpet Fashion Awards. Now in its third year, the event focuses on fashion’s social “handprint” rather than its environmental “footprint”, though the two are inextricably linked. Its aim is to celebrate the unsung heroes making fashion a more ethical business, she says, rattling off a list that includes cobblers and fashion studio staff to the “mayor of a tiny town which is reviving an ancient technique”. If that makes Sunday night’s event sound low-key, it really isn’t. It’s an Oscars-like production with 1,000 guests and A-list headliners. In the past Donatella Versace and Miuccia Prada have won prizes, while Cate Blanchett and Julianne Moore have presented them. This year the 87-year-old pug-loving designer Valentino Garavani will collect the Visionary award, while the gondoliers of Venice will be applauded for switching to natural fibres for their striped uniforms. The world’s best-known designers will produce gowns, too, working with Eco-Age on looks “according to our principles”. Firth has been a major player in ethical fashion since 2011, when her husband, Colin Firth, won an Oscar. Gifted with the visibility of being a plus-one for plenty of awards seasons, she chose to wear exclusively ethical brands. At the time ethical style was perceived as a bit of a party pooper, and Firth freely admits: “I could probably have never done it if it wasn’t for Colin and having the opportunity to be on the red carpet.” Through the years, though, things have evolved and people are now more open to speaking, directly, about issues such as exploitation. In mainstream fashion conversation, though, it is sustainable – not ethical – that has become the hottest buzzword. It says something about human nature that environmental concerns have affected buying habits in a way the human cost alone never quite did, even after the 2013 Rana Plaza tragedy. Then, 1,134 people died after an unsafe building in Bangladesh collapsed. It was the workplace of garment workers making clothes for some of the world’s leading fast-fashion retailers. Separating these issues has allowed fast fashion to “appropriate the conversation”, says Firth. Fast-fashion brands have recently pledged to use sustainable materials. But it is the human cost, not the type of fabric used, “which is almost the primary cause of environmental pollution”, she says. “If they [brands] could not produce so much clothing so cheaply by using slave labour, you wouldn’t have the environmental impact.” Improving fashion’s social cost is something fast-fashion brands “cannot appropriate”, she says, “unless they change their core business model and produce less. “You cannot make a monster sustainable,” she adds. “The very nature of it is that it’s a monster.” It’s very different in the luxury space, she says. “We don’t work with all of the brands – but the ones that we do work with make a completely different commitment to what they do because there is a lot of money to invest in research in development.” One of Eco-Age’s clients, Kering, for example, has been singled out for praise after “investing tonnes and tonnes of money” understanding how to do things differently and introducing an environmental profit and loss statement. Clearly, Firth’s approach is very different to that of Extinction Rebellion, which campaigned for London Fashion Week to be closed altogether, though Firth thinks the group may have a point. However, the Green Carpet Awards are more of a carrot to the industry than a stick, being co-run with the chairman of the Italian equivalent of the British Fashion Council. It has its own footprint to be considered, with the plants on the red carpet to be donated to communal gardens in Milan and the green carpet made from recycled fishing nets rescued from the ocean. Firth has proved that such glamorous awareness-raising works – and she has just found out she has been made an honorary MBE for her efforts. “It will be a weapon of mass construction,” she says. Like being Colin Firth’s wife, or being awarded UN Leader of Change, she says, “it will mean people will listen. Whatever it takes to spread the message.”
Flattering, comfortable and stylish are just a few ways shoppers are describing these best-selling pants.
Diamante snowflakes were worn by models at Chanel. Photograph: Getty ImagesThere was a time when buying fancy hair accessories was a sign that I was on day 26 of my cycle and shouldn’t be let loose with any more than small change. Now I wonder where I put all the bands, clamps, clips and slides. At Chanel, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana and more, models wore diamante snowflakes, slides and starbursts studded into the base of ponytails, around messy buns and pinning back waves. I am irresistibly drawn to the less flashy costume pearl hairwear at Simone Rocha and Shrimps (alice bands notwithstanding – am I alone in finding them painful?). Pearls are extremely flattering near skin, and I like their contradictory demure/camp associations. The act of putting them on hair accessories instead of a three-strand necklace makes them more fun, so I recommend you snap up those I recently got in Zara (from just £4.95 for two, though I bought five – I am as God made me).Thom Browne show at Paris Fashion Week. Photograph: Getty ImagesFor more casual days, I’m enjoying a humble kirby grip placed prominently at the front, as seen at Mary Katrantzou and Blumarine. The trick here is not to attempt to match your hair colour. A deliberately contrasting shade (brass on dark hair, chocolate brown on blondes and so on) looks cooler. It’s also the only chic way of growing out a fringe. As much as I’m enjoying the headgear craze, I draw the line at the Fergie-style bows at Emilia Wickstead and Rodarte.Plaits – not your loose, sexy, Bardot variety, nor your horrifically complex 1980s fishbone type, but what I would call simple “school plaits” – were a surprise feature at Hermès, Max Mara and Thom Browne. The look here is meant to be quite tough and practical, which I love, but to stop plaits looking too severe, I like to first rough up hair with dry shampoo (I’m currently using Colab Dreamer, £2.33 for 200ml, because it isn’t chalky and doesn’t smell of car air freshener, like so many others). It adds guts and texture and stops Caucasian hair plaits from looking too spindly and St Trinian’s.Markus Lupfer at London Fashion Week. Photograph: Tabatha Fireman/BFC/Getty Images for BFCFinally, you can give yourself a break about never having nailed those tonged, beachy waves, and fire up your GHDs (from £109) with impunity. Tom Ford, David Koma and Markus Lupfer all went for glossy, super-straight manes in their shows, but this wasn’t the aggressively, flat Atomic Kitten look of yore, but a cooler, more casual vibe. It’s best achieved by drying with a paddle brush, then straightening in large, irregular sections, rather than painstakingly ironing the whole thing. Which is great news if you want to spend more of these darker mornings in bed.• Comments on this piece are premoderated to ensure the discussion remains on the topics raised by the article. Please be aware that there may be a short delay in comments appearing on the site.
The actor’s appearance in ‘That’ dress from 2000 had the crowd in Milan whooping. One of the lesser-known aspects of Versace’s brand mythology is its role in the inception of Google Images. The story goes like this. In the year 2000 – as fashion scholars will recall – Jennifer Lopez wore a sheer, low-cut green Versace dress to the Grammys. “The whole world wanted to see that dress,” said Donatella Versace at a press conference in Milan on Friday. And so the world surfed the net – as we used to say – but couldn’t find the picture within the mainly text-based system. And lo, Google Images was born. The gown – inevitably known as ‘That’ Dress – melted the internet again when it appeared on the catwalk at Versace’s spring/summer show on Friday. Donatella teased the audience at first, using its print on tote bags, hooded jackets and denim skirt suits, its palm fronds interpreted as crystallised details on pool sliders and appliquéd on shirts. At the end of the show, Jennifer Lopez herself appeared in the dress, in a move that had US Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour beaming and the upstanding, whooping, Instagram-posting fashion crowd proclaiming it even more spectacular than the moment, in 2017, when the designer reunited five supermodels. Even before J-Lo turned up, the show felt cranked up to 11, quite a feat for a brand so seeped in glitz and hedonism. All the biggest Insta supermodels – Bella and Gigi Hadid, Kendal Jenner and Vogue cover star Kaia Gerber – were there. The music pumped while palm tree fronds were projected on to floor-to-ceiling digital screens on the walls. The clothes were larger-than-life, literally, being a millennial take on 80s power dressing. Exaggerated proportions – T-shirts and cardigans with rolled shoulders built in and leg o’mutton sleeves on trench coats and leather dresses – ensured even the most waif-like models took up space as they strode down the catwalk. The Versace-logoed T-shirts and marble dyed tights were social media catnip. It was all strategically choreographed, of course. In September 2018, Versace – until then famously one of the last family businesses standing in fashion – was acquired for $2.1bn by Michael Kors Holdings, which then rebranded to Capri Holdings. With Versace, Michael Kors and luxury shoe label Jimmy Choo under its umbrella, Capri Holdings aims to become the first American luxury conglomerate to rival French behemoths LVMH and Kering. Versace is key to that growth, with the company seeking to double revenues and open 112 more stores by 2022. Versace was one of the brands that signed up to the Fashion Pact, launched at the G7 summit in August, and as such has pledged to achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and protect and restore natural ecosystems and oceans. The environmental impact of this particular show and collection was, at time of press, unconfirmed by the brand. There had been a lot of talk of tree-planting and carbon offsetting at some of the other shows this fashion month. At this show a tree was actually erected but it was part of the set – a 9-metre-tall gilded statue of a palm, which felt very Versace. You wondered whether some attendants might object to such high-octane glitz on global climate strike day. But with the ultimate feel-good moment of Jennifer Lopez strutting down the catwalk and Donatella Versace beaming beside her such concerns were too easy to forget.
Sure, these designer shoes naturally come with a steep price, we can’t deny that it helps make this look the perfect summer-to-fall transitional outfit.
What’s hot and what’s not in fashion this week. Going up Fabric metamorphoses First tulle, now gingham, which Vogue says is “full of sassy promise”. Stylish seniors Instagram account @gramparents catalogues well-dressed older people: expect bucket hats and chinos. Circular hairstyles Timothée Chalamet, Celine Dion and Charlize Theron: it’s official, the bowl cut is back, back, back. Haute takeaway Electronic Sheep’s latest collection of scarves depicts a girl tucking in to a bowl of noodles. Tasty. Going green See Phoebe Waller-Bridge in an emerald velvet Victoria Beckham suit. Dreamy. Going down The daytime belt Evening belts, last seen in the 60s, are making a return. Think slinky chains and crystals. Bog-standard bras Khaite’s Eda cashmere bralet sold out in an hour after Katie Holmes wore it. Sustainable shoulder Eco injury, caused by carrying bags full of reusable coffee mugs and aluminium water bottles. Heavy. Lemon juice Bella Thorne revealed she puts it on her skin, prompting a backlash from Redditors and dermatologists alike. Shrinking sliders High US temperatures saw sandals shrinking to the size of children’s shoes. Not cool.
Office culture has changed but no one has a clue about the dress code. Here’s your 2019 update. Looking back, the late 20th century looks like an enviably straightforward place to live. There’s probably a touch of rose-tinted hindsight here, I suppose (imagine having to get around using only paper maps, and eating iceberg lettuce in every salad) but at least you knew where you were. Work, for instance. Work had a fixed geographical location and a time window. Work was desks and staplers and telephones and fountain pens. You had to spend all your time sitting still at the desk, so that the people at your work knew you were at work, and so that other people in their other workplaces could phone you, on the phone that didn’t move from your desk. And so you knew what to wear. A pencil skirt and court shoes were perfect when your longest journey was walking to the kettle point and back. There was little pressure to “refresh your work look” when your office surroundings, from colleagues to pot plants, remained largely the same from year to year. If we are confused and discombobulated about what to wear to work in 2019, it is because we don’t really know what work is supposed to look like any more. Freelancing, remote working, technology and office culture has fundamentally changed the way work looks and feels. Work is paper-free hotdesking and laptops in cafes and lunch al desko. Work is emails on your phone at bedtime and video meetings. It is office politics choreographed through social media rather than the watercooler. A pencil skirt does not work for walking meetings, nor is it your friend if you have to gather in “break-out areas” with low-level seating. And yet our iconography of workwear for women remains rooted in the 80s and 90s. It is Margaret Thatcher in Downing Street, and Melanie Griffith in Working Girl. It is stuck in the era when Tina Brown first ruled New York and Ally McBeal was an up-and-coming Boston lawyer. It is trouser suits and shoulder pads and handbags built to house a Filofax. None of which is appropriate any more, but we have nothing with which to replace it. The last major storyline in the narrative of what we wear to work was Dress Down Friday, which felt like progress, but was essentially just a shrug of tacit admission that no one has a clue what to put on any more. In many workplaces these days, anything goes. Which, of course, is the hardest dress code of them all, because it doesn’t actually mean that anything goes, – it means a minefield of unspoken rules to be navigated. If you wear, say, a brightly coloured trouser suit instead of institutionalised black, will people think you have a creative and original mind, or will they think you are a fundamentally unserious person? Because those judgments matter, whether you like it or not. If you wear trainers with your trouser suit will your colleagues admire your fashion sense, or wonder if you forgot to change your shoes in the ladies? And so on and so forth. When you are standing in front of your wardrobe in the morning with the clock ticking down on the departure board in your head and these questions running through your mind, anything goes is not helpful at all. So I’m not here to tell you that you should wear whatever you feel comfortable in, because (a) it’s not true and (b) it’s not useful. We don’t need rules, but we do need a plan. Right? Let’s go to work. Stand tall in flat shoes High heels at work are a bit toxic these days, no? It goes without saying that no woman should be forced by her employer to wear high heels if she doesn’t want to, and that it is utterly ludicrous that we are still having this debate; but here we are. Two years ago, the British government rejected calls to outlaw mandatory high-heel policy. Japan, where a heel policy is commonplace, is the latest battleground, with a vocal #KuToo campaign – a pun on kutsu, meaning shoe, kutsuu, meaning pain, and #MeToo. Once you recognise how high heels have been weaponised against women in the workplace it’s harder to see them in a purely benign light, as fun and empowering. I’ve worn high heels for decades and I don’t find them painful; but these days I wear flats most of the time, because heels can look a bit out of touch. But here’s the thing – you’re not going to like this, but it’s true – knee-length hemlines rarely work with flat shoes, and nor do floor-scraping trousers. Those silhouettes were built on a mannequin in heels. There are exceptions, obviously. If you are Stella Tennant you can wear a knee-length kilt and a brogue and look amazing, but on most of us norms it is not an elegant silhouette. Flat shoes work best with midi-length skirts, or with trousers that end at the ankle bone or a bit higher. A flat shoe shouldn’t make you look unsophisticated, or as if you haven’t made an effort. So instead of plain ballet pumps, go for loafers, or flat Mary Janes, or flat pumps with a narrow front V which gives them a little more gravitas. Trainers need to be spotless (most can be machine washed, on cold). Black tights with flat black shoes can look a bit school uniform, so if it’s only your ankle showing, get some trainer-liner socks and show a few inches of skin instead. Don’t forget to breathe Many women equate dressing smartly with wearing tight-fitting clothes. Give a woman an intimidating meeting or presentation to dress for and her default will often be to vacuum-pack herself into a tight dress or suit. I suppose there are issues here about what women are valued for, stirred into a primal instinct of what to wear in order to hold an audience’s attention. Anyway, I think it’s worth recognising as a pitfall: if what you are wearing is so tight that the only male equivalent is midlife crisis cycling gear, then consider a rethink. I am not suggesting we waft around the office in kaftans. (I love kaftans with a passion and plan to spend my entire dotage in them; but they are not workwear.) There is certainly something about a defined, clear silhouette that projects a crispness and clarity that feels right at work – it just doesn’t have to be a newsreader-esque hourglass dress. I am very into the trouser shape I’m calling a Mom-trouser: high-waisted, with a buttoned waistband and wide or tapered (but not sausage tight) legs. This works really well with a shirt or blouse tucked in. A loose or pleated midi skirt becomes very purposeful-looking if you wear it with a structured blazer. Make print and colour your friends You can be taken seriously without being a joyless automaton. Looking too officey is very ageing, when younger people in the workplace tend to dress more casually. And anyway, we spend a lot of time working, and what you wear is one way to alter the mood of your day. Print and colour are your friends. This time of year, before we get mired in the practicalities of freezing temperatures and wet pavements, is a good time to bring some fun to what you wear. Now, while our getting-dressed time slot still happens in daylight in a civilised fashion, before darkness descends and we are groping inside wardrobes in the pitch black, is the moment to experiment. When you look at outfits in fashion shoots and ad campaigns, don’t look at the price in the credits; stare at the outfit and think about what you’ve already got in your wardrobe that has a similar vibe. It might be the same silhouette in a different print, or vice versa – but if you get an idea, then try it out. There are lots of ways you can add fun to what you wear to work. Colour is fun. Leopard print is possibly a bit too fun for some workplaces, but stripes are great. Florals can be very work-friendly on black backgrounds, and florals on black backgrounds are to autumn what leopard-print skirts are to summer, in the modern fashion calendar, which is, everywhere. Jumpsuits and boilersuits put a spring in your step, mentally as well as physically – something about the mobility of a jumpsuit makes it seem like an upbeat thing to wear. Pick your trends with care Not all fashion is created equal, when it comes to workwear. Fashion this autumn, for instance, includes many trends, some of which are well suited to wearing to the office (70s bourgeois is a slam dunk, being both smart and slick but also fashiony), and others which are perhaps less so. Feathers, for instance. Bucket hats. “Ugly sister” shoulders. Microbags. Trends that will work this season include shirtdresses: try them over knee-length or ankle-length boots, or layered over a polo neck, if they feel too summery otherwise. Also, try a blazer with a belt over the top; I am very much feeling this as an intermediary level before the time comes to wear an actual coat. Make an entrance, make an exit I’m talking about your coat, and your tote bag. The image in your head of what you wear to work is the clothes you are wearing once you have taken off your coat and hung it up along with the bag with your snacks, your gym clothes, the returns parcel you’ve got to drop off at lunchtime. But for many people you encounter on your way in and out and to and from meetings and appointments, the only part of you they see is your coat and your tote bag. So, think about your coat, obviously, but also be aware that even though you can’t see it – you get it out of the cupboard and sling it over your shoulder and leave the house – if your tote bag bears a brand or slogan, then that is the headline emblazoned across your person. If you wouldn’t wear it on a slogan T-shirt, don’t wear it on a tote bag. People will judge you, fact. Life hack: turn it inside out. . If you would like a comment on this piece to be considered for inclusion on Weekend magazine’s letters page in print, please email email@example.com, including your name and address (not for publication).
Max Mara models in military-inspired coords, from left: Bente Oort, Ajok Madel and Mona Tougaard. Photograph: Pietro D’Aprano/Getty ImagesNews that the next 007 is reportedly female has reached Max Mara HQ in Milan. At the Italian brand’s spring/summer 2020 show on Thursday, espionage chic was the main thread in a collection that cast the 1960s secret service agent Modesty Blaise as its undercover protagonist.The creative director, Ian Griffiths, kitted out his statuesque army of operatives in military-style shirts, skinny ties and strict pencil skirts with practical pocket belts – though there was space for only a baby magnifying glass in there. The palette was incognito too, with greys and whites punctuated by occasional spats of pastel.Polka dots at Max Mara. Photograph: Luca Bruno/APSeveral ensembles were accessorised with holsters which, although an unusual detail for a brand known for its heritage cashmere coats, the show notes placed them in the context of the fictional narrative. With the leading lady capable of working without weapons, they relayed, there was “no need for a gun then, but the holster makes for a very stylish design detail”.The audience was told the collection was inspired by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who has been livening up the upcoming Bond script. However, the long Pippi Longstocking-style plaits and knee-high socks were more aligned with the minxy and experimental wardrobe of her Killing Eve character, Villanelle. It fell instead to three-piece suiting and cashmere and satin coats to remind us that Max Mara caters to the everyday woman as well as wannabe secret operatives. FendiFendi models in muted tones. Photograph: Victor Boyko/Getty ImagesLater in the day, Fendi was reconfiguring its aesthetic too, in the second season without its long-term co-creative director, Karl Lagerfeld. Staged against a glowing semi-circular lightbox reminiscent of sunrise, the set’s subtext was that it was a new dawn under a solo Silvia Fendi who worked alongside the Chanel frontman.Like other fashion houses this fashion week, the brand eschewed the big logos and Insta-friendly product to focus on a more nostalgic look.Quilted jackets in retro prints, crochet two-pieces and terry towelling paid homage to summer holidays in the 70s. Probably not packed in those suitcases were any of the many coats this collection had to offer. They came long and in suede and covered in fur which, despite growing pressure from animal-rights groups and commitments from other luxury houses to stop using, Fendi continues to produce year-round. MissoniModels wear creations onboard a tram as part of Missoni’s retro spring/summer 2020 collection. Photograph: Luca Bruno/APIt fell to Margherita Missoni of the Italian fashion dynasty to bring the fun to day two of the showcase. The third-generation designer has recently taken over the label’s M Missoni label and is intent on attracting a new audience by selling its wares at a competitive price.She staged her inaugural outing on a tram that circulated around central Milan, picking up new passengers modelling the SS20 collection over five stops. The designer said this was an attempt to avoid “catwalk antics”.The collection was inspired by the Missoni archive, from which she took never-seen-before prints and fabrics to fuse together a fresh – yet distinctively Missoni – aesthetic.Missoni’s vibrant summer collection was inspired by its archives. Photograph: Luca Bruno/AP“It’s conceptual and physical upcycling … authorised appropriation,” Missoni said. “A lot of our heritage isn’t the iconic parts that took off in the 60s and 70s that everyone is familiar with.”The models – men and women and ranging in age from 20s to 60s who were street-cast or friends of Missoni – wore their own items of clothing alongside her new collection.The range included sweaters with old logos spliced from two designs, necklaces made from old buttons, and a forgotten scribbled Missoni signature reproduced on tracksuit bottoms, evoking a sartorial timeline that Missoni put her stamp on.
Decision to serve the season without a big splash showed in the finish and finer detailing. If fashion is currently getting a bad rap for being trend-led and disposable, Miuccia Prada – the ridiculously influential fashion designer responsible for the most-imitated trends – is only too aware of the conversational zeitgeist. So much so that on Wednesday at her spring/summer 2020 show in Milan, “fashion” as a concept was relegated in favour of clothes, or as Mrs Prada put it: “It was more about personal style.” It certainly showed in the 51-look show. For several seasons now, across both her womenswear and menswear collections, there have been products that seem tailored to appeal to the hypebeast market. That flame shirt ( hello Jeff Goldblum), the sandals, those big padded headbands. Now it is all about stripping it back. This collection featured outfits comprised of: knitted pencil skirts and ribbed knitted polo shirts; woven cotton shift dresses; fitted blazers; and an excellent line in practically seasonless LBDs. “Simplicity is the first and most important thing, [more] than the clothes … [these are] timeless clothes you don’t throw away,” said Prada. The designer’s relaxed approach to serving the season without a big splash showed in the finish and finer detailing. Romantic dresses looked fresh from the washing line (no iron in sight), sequin-appliqued skirts had a DIY feel as though customised, and shell necklaces looked as if they might have been made on the beach this summer. While there were still the chunky high-heel loafers that Prada devotees worship, many of the outfits were grounded by woven raffia flats – the kind that you pull out for your holidays or for running around town. This element of the collection evoked a spontaneous feel which – Prada said, post show – was her intent. From the wide-lapelled leather jackets and to the retro-printed suiting, a strong 1970s feel reverberated, while upturned sou’wester-cum-cloche hats reasserted the idea of clothes that stand the test of time. “The past is still very important, especially for me,” Prada said. It is an apt statement given that the brand has clearly been reflecting on its position on the world stage of late. Like many of her fellow luxury fashion designers, Mrs Prada has recognised the need to address several pressing issues within her ranks to adapt accordingly and this year has seen her throw serious weight behind her words. In February, the brand announced it would launch its Diversity and Inclusivity Council “to elevate voices of colour within the company and the fashion industry at large”, following criticism for figurines which appeared to contain blackface imagery in a New York store. In May, it announced it would go fur-free, starting with this collection in a move Prada said was meeting “[the] demand for ethical products”. And in August, it joined 31 other fashion brands – including Burberry, Chanel and Zara owner Inditex – in signing up to the Fashion Pact, a mandate to work collaboratively with competitors to reduce negative impacts by the fashion industry on the environment and humanity. This agile approach extends to the financial side too. In August, CEO Patrizio Bertelli credited the brand’s positive performance in the first half of the year (net profit rose 56.5% to €155m, or £137m) to the company’s decision to stop end-of-season markdowns. Further evidence of its strides to address what people actually want now. As the first big hitter out of the door at Milan fashion week, all eyes were on this show to take the temperature of where Italian designers stand on taking a more sustainable approach. While Italy’s fashion capital may not have the likes of Extinction Rebellion – the protest group which disrupted the London shows in an attempt to hold the industry to account – out in force, Prada kicked things off by showing that a new way of thinking is on her agenda.
The Bstroy label’s sweatshirts reference schools such as Sandy Hook and Columbine – to the disgust of survivors and their families. An avant-garde fashion brand has received significant criticism for designs they presented at a show in New York over the weekend. In a series of images posted to their Instagram on Monday, the label Bstroy highlighted a series of hooded sweatshirts featuring the names of schools that are well known as the sites of some of the deadliest mass shootings in American history. To further bring the point home – and there is a point, they say – the sweatshirts, emblazoned with the names Columbine, Sandy Hook and Stoneman Douglas, were tattered with bullet-like holes. If the two men behind the brand, Brick Owens and Dieter Grams, were looking to draw attention to their work through controversy, it certainly worked. Angelina Lazo, a survivor of Parkland, Florida, school shooting, was among the many whose lives have been touched by the American gun epidemic, who levied a sharp rebuke to the designs. “I lived through this … to make money off of something pathetic like this is disgusting,” she wrote in part. “You don’t even know how it is to live everyday with reminders everywhere you go.” The Vicki Soto Memorial Fund also commented: Soto was a teacher among the 20 killed in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012. “Under what scenario could somebody think this was a good idea?” tweeted Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was killed in Parkland. Owens responded to the backlash shortly thereafter with a post to Instagram. “Sometimes life can be painfully ironic. Like the irony of dying violently in a place you considered to be a safe, controlled environment, like school,” the printed statement read. “We are reminded all the time of life’s fragility, shortness, and unpredictability yet we are also reminded of its infinite potential.” “We are making violent statements,” Grams, known as Du, told the New York Times in a profile of the brand from last week. “That’s for you to know who we are, so we can have a voice in the market. But eventually that voice will say things that everyone can wear.” The Times wrote: “Each Bstroy collection is a blend of high-concept pieces and sly tweaks to more conventional forms, like graphic T-shirts that nod to preppy interests like tennis and fencing, but with the sports gear replaced by guns,.” Owens told NBC’s Today Show via email: “We wanted to make a comment on gun violence and the type of gun violence that needs preventative attention and what its origins are, while also empowering the survivors of tragedy through storytelling in the clothes.” In 2014 Urban Outfitters stirred a similar controversy when they sold, then pulled, a Kent State sweatshirt made to look as if it were spattered with blood. According to the group Everytown For Gun Safety, 100 Americans are killed by guns every day and hundreds more are injured.