As we progress through Milan, another trend is strongly emerging out of the design powerhouses. In the past couple weeks all the attention has been squared on the vibrant and youthful sporty vibe started off in NY which continued expectedly to London, but as you might already know, fashion is always about contrast and juxtaposition and this season has proven to be just the same. To counter the sporty vibe, designers, starting with Marc Jacobs and Anna Sui in NY and continued by Fendi and Prada, are presenting something in stark contrast: the Retro Demure lady from the 40s and 50s.
We first saw the trend at Marc Jacobs last week. At the time, his retro vibe seemed out of place given what was dominating NY. But as he has proven in the past, he has a keen ability to set the tone for subsequent European fashion weeks and it seems that he has done it again.
Last season he sparked the major “Lady Provocateur” look featuring corseted jackets, body-con lace dresses, prim and proper yet sexy and dangerous silhouettes. And this season he slightly shifted gears and explored the 50s showing a more demure ladylike look. That meant boxy silhouettes, below the knee dresses and skirts, cardigans, and retro plaids all done in modern looking fabrications and colors.
So far Milan has followed suit with similar silhouettes, accessories, and their retro look is punctuated with the styling of the models. Shows such as Fendi and Prada both sent models down the runway in retro ladylike gears and with not a single pair of platform shoes in sight, the tone of this more demure and sweeter ladylike dressing is set.
Fendi referenced late 50s and early 60s as their retro reference. Boxy suits, mostly skirts, and a blown out hair-do complete the look.
And over at Prada I saw beautiful flowy accordion pleats contrasted with hard edge boxy cocoon jackets. The cardigan and accessories also essential for the look work for Prada, and the result was phenomenal!
Last Season’s lady was sexy and dangerous and this season’s lady decided to be sweet and demure – a sentiment I’m sure was very much influenced by public figures such as Catherine Middleton and Michelle Obama. I expect to see this retro reference spill over to Paris with designers continuing to explore the 40s and 50s, an era where everything was coming up roses, and the people were optimistic and hopeful for the future. There’s not a better time to embrace this sense of optimism then Spring and designers are right on schedule to deliver it.