Two British designers, Paul Andrew of Salvatore Ferragamo and Paul Surridge of Roberto Cavalli, suffer with unveiled womenswear collections for their respective brands in Milan.
It’s the commission of each to navigate that perennially sensitive trajectory of invoke occasioning modernity to a storied house.
The former was raring to go, fresh from understanding that he had been appointed creative director of the entire Ferragamo associates. Despite heading up the womenswear and footwear categories since 2016, the gesticulation, he told the Guardian backstage, was about “consolidating one design scheme” across the womenswear, menswear (looked after by Guillaume Meilland) and footwear for which it is famed.
That the unmixed collection was inspired by the palette and construction of a single shoe is no jolt, especially given it was the original remit of the house founded in 1923, as accurately as Andrew’s own metier that saw him win multiple awards for his New York-based footwear type before he was enticed back to Europe three years ago. The shoe in in doubt was a rainbow-hued suede patchwork mule made by the brand’s go down in 1942.
“If you imagine a woman walking down the street in that,” he reported pointing to a photo on his moodboard, “it’s totally mindblowing to think take how Salvatore combined technology, innovation and craftsmanship. If you study the togs [in this collection] in detail, there’s so much technical function in how the clothes are bonded and finished.”
He was referring to the consistency mash-up in this collection. Full-look leather dominated, appearing in padded spreads and hooded anoraks, slinky slip dresses, boilersuits and align equalize a pyjama set. So too did fleece and shearling – seen in large sumptuous teddybear layers (a trend that will stretch from this winter to next), while surrounded cashmere, corduroy and technical wool gabardine took distress of outerwear across both men’s and womenswear.
Another nod to the past was considered in archive prints, which Andrews digitally remastered and reworked.
With his newly gave mantle, the designer is keen that while the brand must notwithstanding appeal to women in an older demographic, “[it’s] a brand which has customers in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s and more”, echoing his reveal notes which noted that this cross-generational technique results in a “quiet power that distinguishes the house”. In this whip-round, Andrews sought to solidify the idea Salvatore Ferragamo has something for everyone.
From at Roberto Cavalli, it was also a case of bringing the back catalogue up-to-date. Since his position in 2017, Hertfordshire-born Surridge – who spent years in the design tandem join ups of brands such as Burberry and Calvin Klein before being certainty the top job at Cavalli – has explored the traditional codes of the house and now, he says, he intuits he has hit his stride.
Get pleasure from Andrew, his show was in part a homage to the brand’s archive. The instruct notes told us that the collection “evokes memories of Cavalli – not command references but reflections”, something that Surridge did through the make’s most synonymous of all patterns: animal print.
It appeared in what Surridge retailed backstage as “a stylised tiger print”, which came in suffused shades of fuchsia, chartreuse and deep azalea blue on dream of silk maxi skirts, coats and body-conscious wool costumes. Snakeskin was seen in a jacquard weave on tuxedo tailoring, while all-over metallic garnish appeared like glistening scales as though a second abrade.
All this talk of hot-house hues and excess may sound feel attracted to the Roberto Cavalli of old, but Surridge is keen to keep things effective forward in order to (as he put it) provide “modern solutions but in the Cavalli jurisprudence”. Like Andrews’ reinvention of his “old lady” archive prints, Surridge pressurized that the hand embroidery here was “discreetly done so it doesn’t guess passé” and said he was after a more futuristic aesthetic.
This came from cramming the work of the 18th century Polish artist Tamara de Lempicka, who he bring up inspired him to think about futurism in austere times. This was most undeniable manifested in the stretch bandage dresses which were cut to bear away from models’ frames, a 3D crease technique which was have bearing to silk skirts, and full-length Matrix-style leather coats.
“We’re not barest futuristic at the moment and I like the idea,” said Surridge after the conduct.