Once upon a time there were minis and hot-pants. The former burst onto the scene in London in ’63 thanks to Mary Quant who, in the wake of the women’s emancipation struggles of the period, wanted to liberate women’s bodies by shortening the hemline of their skirts. Hot-pants arrived a decade later, causing a scandal driven by Oliviero Toscani‘s Jesus jeans campaign starring Donna Jordan‘s behind. Decades on, they are both making a comeback, but it seems that the already minimal hemlines are no longer sufficient to express the level of freedom that women have actually been able to attain. In other words, women’s true ambitions and desire for emancipation go even further. So we have seen hemlines virtually disappear altogether, leaving only briefs or panties, paired with a blazer, knit or shirt. The trend has been going for a while and was certainly back in the latest shows, flagging up yet another trend: fashion for girls, for young bodies, legs and bums on show, leaving almost nothing to the imagination.
This is what Girls’ Vibes is all about, a glance at underwear of these young women who are still hoping to achieve everything whilst taking (almost) everything off, offering the onlooker a detailed overview of their body. The challenge now is to dress up, but only using shorts, minis or (transparent) slip dresses. The response from older women is Quiet Luxury – a form of relaxed luxury banning all maximalism and excess in favour of simple pieces with impeccable cut and style. Men’s coats, blazers and suits, turtlenecks and midi-length skirts, slip dresses worn with rigorous overcoats or cosy coats. Then there is the ‘other place’ – the imagination – which pushes us to look elsewhere, to another time and place that can be anywhere and nowhere. Fashion makes it possible, indeed, it is in some way the creator of this utopia, this Nowhere, where everything is permitted. Where you can imagine a coming together of cultures and worlds, where angels can descend to earth and dress as today’s teenagers, complete with wings, where colours and prints have no limits and live side by side without clashing.
Staying true to its heritage, Gucci‘s new course offers a youthful style for girls who can wear ultra-short mini-skirts and microscopic shorts complete with a logoed belt, and often teamed with a matching blazer, a boxy jacket or an equally tiny jewelled bra. The alternative are ultra-short slip-dresses and tunics with metallic sheen, paired with flat or platform loafers and sneakers.
The ‘young and sexy’ mantra is also repeated on the Missoni runway, which was dominated by long, sheer tubular dresses in stretch tulle and tops and tunics of various lengths (un)veiling the body. For creative director Filippo Grazioli, the transparency was not about cheekiness but rather a symbol of lightness and joie de vivre, as represented not only by the fabrics but also by the bold colours.
Youth is given a British, slightly punk edge by MSGM, with bubble or wraparound dresses and mini-skirts, college style polo shirts and matching panties, broad-shouldered blazers, such as a black one with beads and metallic threads that is already proving to be a must-have piece. Everything comes in tartan, check and gingham patterns and is embellished with knots, bows, wrinkles, draping, asymmetry and fringes for added movement and three-dimensionality.
At Versace the first sign of a ‘girlish’ touch came in the form of hair slides and hair bands. Then followed jaunty, short or geometric outfits, little Sixties tunics with sparkling surfaces and bold candy colours. This is a “free and vibrant” woman – sorry, girl – who wants to experience a free and easy summer.
Whispered glamour, measured elegance, minimalism in form and colour. The mood of the good old bourgeoisie has stayed strong over the years despite momentous changes in society, and the women that have embodied it have stayed true to it whilst keeping up with those changes.
Fendi offers a graphic form of elegance, with Kim Jones looking to Roman colours and images. Simple, elongated lines make for long silhouettes, wrapped in minimal outerwear over equally long column dresses or turtlenecks worn with soft shorts. Sinuous tops and sheaths feature colour blocking, knots and crossovers, while knitted gloves confirm the sophistication of this trend.
Arte povera provided the inspiration for Maximilian Davis for Ferragamo which juxtaposes natural materials against industrial elements for an understated, edgy collection that celebrates tailoring, inserting dynamic openings to soften the severity of the lines, as seen in the coats and jackets with slashed sleeves. A graphic design enlivening the long jersey dresses is inserted into the rigor of the garments.
Where else to find the haute bourgeoisie if not at Prada? Certainly designed for a younger audience, the brand’s latest collection alternates chunky garments – such as mini-suits with belted waist under a floaty silk cape and oversize blouson – with ethereal organza dresses and embroidered shirts with extra-long sleeves tucked into high-waist shorts from which hung sashaying fringes.
If she isn’t clutching her bag close to her body, the Tod’s woman goes for a bumbag with leather gloves hanging from it. Hers is a practical yet refined wardrobe, comprising fluid masculine suits, vests worn with pleated skirts, relaxed trenches and soft cassocks over loose trousers. The palette is basic and limited, in line with the minimal trend.
Nicola Brognano brought angels to the Blumarine runway, complete with full sets of wings. Pale colours, lean silhouettes and goddess peplums, but also corsets, low rise trousers, dresses full of knots and draping. In short, a mixture of celestial and terrestrial to celebrate the brightness and lightness of summer. An absence of romanticism and more than a nod to the ’90s/early 2000s.
Del Core‘s collection celebrates the harmonious fusion of nature and architecture, with garments combining lightness and structure. In lilac, sea blue, pastel yellow and grey, long dresses and suits featured stylised floral shapes, which later appeared (as prints) on cosy dresses and coats, as well as on maxi-chokers and corset-belts.
Etro showcases a mix and match of prints and colours, alongside myriad shapes and lots of experimentation with skirts, which come in all lengths and types: pencil, wraparound, mermaid, culottes with big utilitarian pockets. It’s a playful whirlwind of hand-embroidered details, floral motifs, stripes and above all the brand’s signature paisley, shown here in a maximalist version.
At Sportmax, a tall, ice-cool figure dressed in a thousand shades of white, spearheads a future suspended between natural and artificial, poetry and science. This translates into tapered long dresses, tops and skirts, alternating between structured and padded materials and glossy satin and transparencies. The rigour of the lines clashes with asymmetry and other details embodying a sense of imperfection and transitoriness, in an never-ending search for balance between control and abstraction.