There is a favourite line from rockers, hippies and love children about their misspent, drug-filled, manic youth: “If you can remember the Seventies, you weren’t there!”
One person who can honestly say he was not present is Matteo Renzi, Italy’s youthful new Prime Minister. Now just 39, he was born in 1975, well after the Age of Aquarius and the Summer of Love back in 1967.
In the Seventies, he was barely in his cradle. So with this dynamic role model of the youngest leader in Europe and beyond, why would designers at Milan Fashion Week appear to be mad about the Seventies?
The colours of that decade are everywhere: mustard, apricot, mud brown and burgundy. There are suede tunics — or suede anything. There are dangling fringes galore. And even – Oh horror! – variations on flared trousers.
At Gucci, designer Frida Giannini was half in love with the era, recreating it in a luxurious, streamlined Gucci way.
Alberta Ferretti’s love children wore fringed suede and some flowery dresses.
MaxMara went mad for the moment when floppy hats and high-rise boots were in vogue. Then they were shown with matching clothes – in the same print.
Even at Costume National, designer Ennio Capasa went for suede and fringe.
Of course, modern suede and laser-cutting give a more 20th-century look to the old hefty hide. And digital patterns give a new meaning to Flower Power.
But surely it is time that Italian designers looked forward – not back – however witty and stylish some of these pastiches can be?
For Prime Minister Renzi, with his penchant for taking off his jacket and appearing in a sharp shirt, has the right fashion idea. Shirts are hot. Or rather, they are cool. And they are much more suited than suede and fringe to modern times.