MILAN, Italy — Without it even being a specific reference, the easiness of Massimiliano Giornetti’s Spring collection for Salvatore Ferragamo evoked — with equal ease — a couple of decades in mid-century American fashion when Claire McCardell was designing, and Toni Frissell was photographing fashion. Giornetti’s long sundresses and off-the-shoulder flounced tops, either strapless or hanging off spaghetti-thin strips, were in the vein of both those women’s visions.
“Everything’s made in cotton,” said the designer, some of it waxed for special effect, which enhanced the classic summeriness. Giornetti wanted lightness in the clothes, because the accessories were, he claimed, extremely constructed. He opened a smock-top along its seams, did the same thing with a pair of trousers that were then tied at the side. The essence of the collection was air.
It was also about simple shapes with arcane flourishes. A froth of marabou would usually sound frilly, but here it was serious: as the cuff detail on a severe black coat, or trimming the neckline of a dress in black chiffon. In fact, seriousness — or at least, the no-nonsense-ness that characterised McCardell’s work — sat comfortably next to lightness. The single large pearls that adorned ears and throats were “serious”. So, in their way, were the capes, and the curious palette of muted orange, yellow, green and blue. Again, they seemed like mid-century colours.
And that all might have been a million miles away from Giornetti’s intention, except that “subtle seduction,” was what he was after, “because”, he added, “shyness is more sensual.” And if that’s what he wanted, that’s what he got.