London Fashion Week: Donatella Versace and Giorgio Armani bring youthful air to catwalks
The fashion houses both showed looks inspired by relaxed summer vibes. Versace’s collection focused on millennials, while Armani played with childish prints
Donatella Versace and Giorgio Armani joined Tommy Hilfiger and Nicopanda in abandoning their respective home cities and decamping to the London Fashion Week to show their latest collections, giving an already packed schedule some extra star quality.
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There was no mistaking Armani’s arrival, given that 700 London buses and black cabs, emblazoned with the Emporio Armani name, are now on the roads promoting the label’s huge, newly renovated store in New Bond Street.
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Versace, who has shown her edgy street wear line Versus in London for the past three seasons, this time moved it into London’s famous Central Saint Martins college of art and design.
To mark the 20th anniversary of her brother Gianni’s death, Versace announced an annual scholarship in his name to cover the fees at the college for a lucky fashion student each year.
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Sadly that scholarship doesn’t include a wardrobe of Versus clothes, which are clearly aimed at the millennial generation. In recent seasons, Versus, has pushed a tough clubland chic agenda, but this was definitely a more relaxed collection with Prince of Wales check blousons, gilets, bra tops and pants. Also appearing on the catwalk was a foulard silk shirt print of harnesses printed on pistachio-green cottons, skimpy silk dresses, loose shirts, shorts and bucket hats.
Some of the skimpy dresses in the show looked as though they had been ripped apart and grafted together using new elements, giving them an edgy look. However, the collection had a distinct spring/summer theme with beachwear, string tops and unbuttoned shirts for both men and women on display.
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At Emporio Armani, there was an equally relaxed vibe with a catwalk at Tobacco Dock, down in London’s old docklands. The colours were pale, from crisp white to pastel pinks, aqua and lilac. While there were pops of bright blue and red seen in a series of childish prints (dinosaurs, crabs and whales) on shirts, jackets and short coats that opened the show (teamed with silky stripes).
The mood was very youthful, especially the girlish smock dresses, and the crab motifs on sweatshirts and shift dresses worn with Bobby socks and trainers.
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The ultra-loose silhouettes, the airy, translucent blousons and the relaxed mood of the models as they sauntered around the catwalk gave the show a sporty, leisurely air. There were more sophisticated looks such as dresses and bomber jackets with neon drawstrings.
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Armani tends to think of clothes as a way of creating a mood. He recently said, “style, for me, is a mood that can be applied to everything. I’ve always thought fashion is much more than just clothes: it’s a way of being”. This show, with 100-plus looks, definitely showed a way of “being”.
The Italian fashion mogul describes London as “a place of excitement, of invention, and great possibilities,” and it’s been over 10 years since he last showed in the city. Let’s hope he returns a little sooner next time. Meanwhile, both Armani and Versace’s mainline collections will be shown in Milan later this week.