As many already know it is common practice for a designer to show an outfit in several color ways on the runway. The only problem is that when a designer forgets to look at the big picture and the result is ennui. This is not a design criticism but rather a merchandising and production issue. When any designer fixes on one or two very particular silhouettes or takes their themes to the extreme, the result is “didn’t I just see that go by?” to my eyes, this type of scenario occurred twice in one day by 2 very divergent designers.. Etro and Philipp Plein.
At Etro, it was Hopi meets Hippie meets YSL. The American Indian influence ran heavily throughout this very over accessorized show to the point of thinking you saw many of the same outfits over and over. Yes there was great nuance, color groupings and yes of course there were plenty of silhouettes, but the pace of the show and the abundance of exits creates this kind feeling that in your mind you are saying “AGAIN?” the bottom line here is that the collection was pretty fabulous even if Etro is a very acquired taste as well being very particular. What might have enhanced the overall presentation was a few well-spaced “palette cleansers” to have broken up the cacophony of patterns. If you are an Etro fan , this was pitch perfect, if you dislike prints then you were definitely at the wrong show and most of all , if you are a minimalist, you should never attend an Etro show again!
At Philipp Plein, we are faced with a very similar scenario except this has to do more with highly distinctive silhouettes. Yes, this show was a huge departure for the designer as he jiggered his focus towards a much more feminine feeling by featuring lots of dresses and skirts than in previous seasons. In fact, there was nary a pair of shredded jeans in sight which, by the way is a good thing. What the show lacked was variety as this retro vibe which ran through the show seemed to keep walking down the runway over and over. The Grease/Thriller/Rhianna moments kept coming at you fast and furious. It is never possible to second guess most designers but there is no question that if you were attending the show you were thinking that you would see a “hot “collection. Poodle skirts, sans poodles, second skin sparkly sweats and floor length evening tees don’t exactly set one’s heart racing or engender libidinous thoughts. Very plainly put, Plein, as a rule, has always offered sexy in your face clothes for those who dare to wear it and all of that was lost in this collection. One might get the feeling that his heart wasn’t in it! And just a little PS here ... these barely pubescent girls are a far cry from Naomi Campbell!