MILAN, Italy — When in doubt, stick to your guns. It's not a bad principle, all things considered. For all the newfound adepts of the trends of the moment — eccentricity and deluxe pell-mell — there are just as many designers who keep doing what they usually do. Take Antonio Marras, for instance, Italian fashion's die-hard storyteller. His shows are always filled with drama and can sometimes move you to tears. But it's not just surface-level tricks.
Marras knows how to make beautifully unique dresses and enrich them with all sorts of embellishment and crafty interventions. His show today was the emotional galore one has come to expect, a eulogy of madness carried through with couture-worthy handiwork. But the problem with Marras is his lack of editing and tendency to bulk up his looks. The pieces are great, but his overall looks can feel a tad heavy. Of course, the catwalk is just a window to a vision, but it would be interesting to see Marras break his formula and try something new; something just as dreamy but less costume-y.
A different approach to styling would also be of great service to Ermanno Scervino, one of the proudest heralds of true Italian craft. His shows are too predictably ladylike. While others take pride in being artisanal, only to create dull renditions of couture pieces, Scervino has industrialised his atelier to great effect. The quality of his productions are unsurpassed.
His collections, like the one shown today, are filled with beautiful tailoring and voluptuous dresses with a lingerie quality. This season there were strong military nods, but for the rest it was ladylike business as usual. Seeing the Scervino woman become a touch more wild would be a thrill.
Natasa Cagalj's Milanese debut as womenswear creative director at Ports was much anticipated. The show was fast, moderninst, androgynous and came with a sensual sense of unraveling. It looked like the mannish tailoring which was the bulk of the collection was slashed and then peeled away from the body. The idea worked, not least because the execution was technically masterful. But the overall aesthetic felt derivative. Let's hope Cagalj forgets about Céline pretty soon.