Friday, September 29, 2006

Hems pay hip service to the '60s

Well, it's certainly going to be a season for good underwear.

Miuccia Prada might have defended her supra-pubis skirts as mere show ponies intended to be worn as tops out in the real world, but there were no cover-ups going on at Gucci on Wednesday.

Hemlines barely covered the models' derrieres in a collection that, like so many others this season, paid hip service to the 1960s with a series of appliqued micro-sack and baby-doll dresses and waistless shift dresses.

Many of them were rendered iridescent by means of crystal embroidery or multifaceted brocade in the apparently de rigueur spring-summer 2007 tone of space-age silver.

But the Gucci designer Frida Giannini hedged her hemline bets with some floor-length alternatives, notably the finale piece: a striking black tent dress with violet and carmine geometric applique.

Also coming up short was Alberta Ferretti, Italy's queen of ethereal evening chic, whose heavily detailed, full-length georgette gowns are popular choices for the red carpets of international awards nights.

Judging by the number of micro-sack dresses in silver, oyster and gunmetal grey on offer, Ferretti's gala girls may be going the cocktail dress route next year.

After delving into '70s glam rock for winter, the Anna Molinari designer Rossella Tarabini moved forward two decades for spring – a period when today's young women first began scouring vintage stores, she noted backstage after the show.

There might have been numerous skin-tight leather pants and skinny suits, but falling in with yet another theme that first emerged in New York – demi-couture – Tarabini countered those skinny-day looks with a series of draped and heavily embellished rag dresses, many of them festooned with crystals and flower applique.

Keeping with the micro-courtesan look championed last week in London by up-and-coming British name Christopher Kane – who might not yet boast a commercial collection but does happen to consult to Donatella Versace – every last one was ludicrously short.

"People like to show legs," offered Tarabini. "It was almost swimming-suit [length] – I know that."

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