Monday, 27 February 2012

MFW A/W2012: Marni and Etro's Power of Print

Both Marni and Etro have given their reliably distinct nod to print for Autumn/Winter 2012, which is reassuring for lovers of the fashion houses who can't imagine them detracting from their vintage flavour and love of all things eye-poppingly good.

Marni A/W2012

 [Images via]. 
This dress reminded me of long vintage vases with stained glass motifs.

 Ignoring the unnecessary fur collar, this outsize coat looks good enough to eat. 
It's a 60s kooky moment that deserves to be brought back.

There's a nod to Japanese traditional dressing in the shoes and the cut of this outfit.

Whilst Marni's show began with bold block shapes of squares that were pure 1960s cool, later pieces were more Miu Miu-esque in their adoption of repeated floral shapes. Accompanying the dazzling visuals were very 1960s fabrics and shapes, from PVC button-up coats to chiffon shift dresses and bell-sleeved trouser suits. Accessories were not big in this collection and hair was blunt, unfussy and shiny as the clothes took centre stage. There was definitely a refreshing simplicity here that designer Consuelo Castiglioni wanted to get across to the audience for most of the show.

 A thankfully fur-free outfit, in an icy blue. I loved the doll-like white tights as accessories.

The element I didn't enjoy, for two reasons, was the use of fur: firstly, on an animal rights level, because it is completely unnecessary to use the real thing in 2012 (other than to get the financial backing of fur suppliers), and secondly the placing of fur was completely distracting and jarring against the outfits themselves. It looked like a clunky afterthought, strewn across the body or wrestled into submission with a skinny belt and a glacial model stare. The ensembles that were fur-free were a lot less cluttered and completely ruined the clean lines of the main collection.

Etro A/W2012

There is something beautifully fiery about red paisley, and it's finished nicely here with a chunky leather belt.

The cravat might not be the world's most stylish accessory, but it looks quite natural within this look. Masculine tailoring is neatly steered away from 1980s yuppy connotations.

The peplum blouse refuses to die, even with a twist of leather.

Etro is a firm favourite for print lovers and it's easy to see why, with these catwalk looks that take vintage-looking motifs and inject a freshness into them. So many of the pieces could easily have been picked up at a retro boutique rather than from an Italian designer's studio, and I enjoyed the celebration of the old. The use of paisley is something that has been on the fashion radar for buyers and enthusiasts since the Spring/Summer 2012 collections were shown, so Etro's adoption of it will not go unnoticed but may feel a little behind the times. However the red paisley A-line winter coat is sure to be a hit.
Not a top for the faint-hearted, or the ample-chested.

What will also be picked up on is the dividing of different print sections with laser cutting in order to make a new and distorted pattern, and this may divide hardcore Etro devotees and those who enjoy seeing reinvention. One look I can definitely see proving popular is the embellishment of sheer blouses with sculptural motifs in swirls and curves, flattering the body in either multi-colour or matt black designs.

Both of these designers tackled the idea of print in different ways, from simple graphic lines to intricate lasered concoctions. It's fair to say that next season won't be dull for high fashion, and we'll all be taking tips from vintage styling and classic shapes - either the uber-masculine or the uber-feminine.

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