February 20, 2008 / 4:26 PM / 10 years ago

Gucci performs, Cavalli paints for womenswear

MILAN (Reuters) - Gucci’s Frida Giannini thinks of her outfits as a performance, while Roberto Cavalli says his are like paintings, the designers told Reuters on Wednesday.

Models parade at the end of Gucci Fall/Winter women's collection 2008/09 during Milan Fashion Week February 20, 2008. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

Giannini, whose womenswear show for winter 2008-09 put military overtones on a bohemian, hippy look, said she was inspired by the style of east European emigrees to Paris and Vienna in the 1920s.

“They mixed, and they created something very new, something very theatrical,” she told Reuters after the show.

Her outfits mixed brass buttons and belts with soft chiffon and velvet, with ample amounts of jewelry and ornament.

“I really like the idea of a performance ... each single look has the feeling of a performance because I used more than 10 prints, I used more than 20 different patterns,” she said.

Models at the show wore tight black trousers tucked into high leather boots that covered the knee with hipster belts in brass chainlink or studded leather.

A rich, velvet patchwork of burgundy, black and jade was fine pleated into a short skirt that swung very much to a Russian tune.

Evening wear was long and liquid in patterned silk with belts whose tasseled ends were weighted with jewel-encrusted spheres. Flowing necklines were anchored in gold mayoral vees.

“I don’t want to be boring with myself and I don’t want to be boring with the collection either,” said Giannini, who has changed to wavy, palomino hair from a previous straight chestnut look.


Roberto Cavalli, whose unwavering trademark look is a cigar, suntan and dark glasses, said he felt his fashion designs were paintings.

“It’s like putting on an exhibition of paintings,” Cavalli said before his show. “Today, I presented 40 outfits which are like 40 paintings for me,” he added.

But he took inspiration from the late film actress Natalie Wood for the embroidered loose cotton and chiffon shifts in his womenswear collection.

“It’s inspired by Natalie Wood, romanticism, the 1950s ... it is created for a sensual woman,” Cavalli said at the show, which was a break from his previous leopard print and gold collections.

The designer used a full skirt with a hip-length, loose bodice for pale cotton dresses embroidered with pastel country flowers in his homage to the star of the 1961 drama “Splendor in the Grass.”

He used broderie anglaise for a white full-skirted dress that brought a touch of childhood innocence to the collection, while the same fabric’s appearance in a black dress with trailing hems carried a more somber, mourning mood.

A stunning black satin dress, again with a low waist and wide skirt, was dramatized further by a towering straw trilby hat with wide black band.

The designer kept heels high and could not resist putting some of his signature leopard print on some ankle boots, while others echoed the floral theme of dresses with tiny jewel colored buds at the heel.

Color in the clothes came in bands of heavy ethnic embroidery on the hems of jackets and lapels, or in bright satin applique flowers on black evening dresses.

And emerald, azure and pink swirled together in a silk evening dress whose folds clung to the body.

Milan’s womenswear winter 2008-09 shows run until February 23 with Dolce & Gabbana and Versace on Thursday.

Reporting by Ilaria Polleschi and Jo Winterbottom; Editing by Charles Dick

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