September 24, 2007
Milan's punishing schedule of Spring shows has turned the week into a big squeeze for everyonedesigners, retailers, press, models, et cetera, et ceteraand someone has to lose. It's a shame that scheduling conflicts meant more people didn't see Rifat Ozbek's latest collection for Pollini, because his tribal-techno theme attached itself effectively to the London vibe that has seeped onto fashion's international stage. There was a blissed-out moment in the late eighties when Ozbek offered an all-white collection that captured the second Summer of Love's youthquaking optimism and energy, and he harked back to it here with a sheer-sleeved white shift. There were also new-rave echoes in the accessories (especially the fluoro shoes) and in John Gosling's sensational soundtrack. But, equally, Ozbek has always been a dab hand at integrating ethnic elements into his designs. A bold ikat was a running motif in this collectionin a shift over sheer pants, in chiffon layers as a ghostly pattern, or as a trim on tops and trousers. Africa made its presence felt in leopard-print shorts or the tribal beading on a khaki coat-dress. Ozbek has a real knack for giving interest to simple shapes with such flourishes. Along the same lines, he used a mélange of antique coins as a neckpiece from which to hang one of the shaped tunic tops that were a key silhouette for the collection. Pair that with his cigarette-slim pants in batiked organza, and you've got a look that effortlessly spans elegance and excess.