Who doesn’t love a little fuzzy Muppet madness? During the Spring shows in Milan (which feel like ages ago, but were, in fact, last week), Fendi picked up where it left off for Fall and continued having lots of fun with fur. While last season it appeared as multicolored Mohawks atop models’ heads, this time around, Lagerfeld stuck bejeweled clips with wisps of violet, cobalt, lavender, or black fluff on models’ ears. It kind of looked like what might grow out of the ear canal of everyone’s favorite out-of-control, drumming puppet, Animal—if he were aging, and impossibly glam.
Meanwhile, today at Rochas, Marco Zanini sent crystal-embellished mules covered in mops of ostrich feathers down the runway—the yellow iterations brought Big Bird to mind. Moments later, at Gareth Pugh, a model stomped the catwalk in a flurry of purple ostrich plumes that enveloped her head and neck. Call us crazy, but we think this would look fantastic on Sam the Eagle (or even Mrs. Sam the Eagle?) should he want a sartorial update.
Mexico City is rapidly emerging as a—if not the—hotbed for emerging art, fashion, and design. It boasts one of the globe’s highest concentrations of museums, features cutting-edge architecture (check out Museo Soumaya, a hull-like structure plated in honeycomb blocks designed by the firm FR-EE), and just yesterday, received attention in a front-page New York Times article about its increasing attractiveness for expatriate artists and entrepreneurs. It seems the metropolis has appealed to designers, too, as traces of Mexico City popped up on a host of Spring ’14 runways.
While such labels as Rodebjer and Rebecca Minkoff pulled inspiration from Mexico, the biggest splash belonged to Prada (as big splashes often do). Signora Miuccia commissioned a panel of muralists to paint her set with giant faces, which were replicated on dresses, skirts, and coats. Prada reported that political art out of Mexico—particularly the work of Diego Rivera—served as a strong source of inspiration, and the collection’s first look featured a print by Mexican street artist Stinkfish.
At House of Holland, Henry Holland paid homage to Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 hit Romeo + Juliet, much of which was filmed in Mexico City. Splendid hues and religious motifs weren’t compromised, thanks to prints—which nodded to Mexico’s deep Catholic roots—by L.A.-based tattoo artist Alex Garcia.
Considering that Annette and Phoebe Stephens—the duo behind New York-based jewelry line Anndra Neen—were raised in Mexico City, it is perhaps not surprising that notes from their childhood emerged in their latest offering. Spring ’14′s sculptural shields, triangular necklaces, and woven metal wares were reportedly inspired by Ron Fricke’s 1992 globe-trotting documentary Baraka. The designers, who produce the line in Mexico City’s Zona Rosa neighborhood, embraced not just Mexican artisanship but Namibian and MENA crafts as well. To top it off, the Stephens sisters showed their new range alongside their personal collection of Rivera works—the exact artist that led Ms. Prada, thousands of miles away in Milan, to her own effort.
See that bat attacking Cara Delevingne’s face? That’s a hat by Stephen Jones for Giles Deacon, who, if you may recall, gained street-style traction a couple of seasons back with his adorably plush triceratops purses. As it turns out, the animal-as-accessory trend is back for Spring ’14, spearheaded by Jones x Deacon’s vampiric topper. But not all in this animal kingdom is nocturnal.
Things were sunnier at Moschino Cheap And Chic, thanks in part to a Crayola-pink lawn flamingo purse, which complemented the collection’s overarching Barbie-goes-to-Basel (Miami, not Switzerland) theme. Cheek has always been part of the Moschino vocabulary, but this felt particularly grin-worthy.
The buzz factor, though, belonged to Ashley Williams. Showing under Fashion East, the much-hyped designer offered stuffed-hammerhead shark purses, which rounded out her nautical-themed lineup with good-humored aplomb. And who was spotted eyeing Williams’ wares from the front row? None other than Harry Styles, who, we think, would look rather fetching carrying Williams’ deadly fish as a “murse.”
The verdict is in: bralettes, crop tops, and bandeaux—which, having been seen everywhere from Alexander Wang to Fendi, are virtually unwearable for anyone who has breasts or lacks a six-pack—will continue to be a big thing this Spring. Miuccia Prada, too, got the memo—only, when it arrived, she promptly laughed at it and turned it on its head. The designer’s Spring ‘14 collection, which took to the runway in Milan today, featured irreverent, trompe l’oeil bras that appeared as contrasting insets on high-necked frocks and tops, and as a print on a cheeky orange fur coat. Well played, Mrs. Prada. Well played.
Forgive us for saying that it seems like designers get together pre-season to discuss ways to flummox journalists: “Let’s do floral, let’s do neoprene, let’s do trapeze, and, to really freak them out, let’s all do it together.”
Fashion conspiracy theory? Probably not, but there is just a hint of truth in it. “I don’t think we pull out these uniform ideas from the ether just like that,” Maria Grachvogel told us backstage at her Spring ’14 show. “We all have our inspirations and references, and sometimes, it all just collides, then we telegraph messages to each other without meaning to. I guess it’s a controlled coincidence.” One of those coincidences this season is the skirt-pants combo. Raf Simons played with the look in his Resort ’14 collection for Dior, and now, London designers have rolled with that ball.
The style opened Osman Yousefzada’s Spring ’14 show. His iteration offered a beautiful white lace overlay (above, right). Simone Rocha produced a pair in a very hip, plasticized crochet (above, center), and Roksanda Ilincic crafted hers in an elegant stiff pleated silk gazar. Meanwhile, Grachvogel presented a dress-trousers hybrid in flowy, diaphanous silk (above, left). Such designers as Naeem Khan have also been up to bat, but being Indian, it should be all but instinctive for him. Said Yousefzada backstage, “It’s the classic kurta silhouette that’s been going on for centuries in India—it’s as ubiquitous as the sari. I can’t figure out why it has taken so long to catch on here.” After this season, we’re guessing that will change.