Tod's: Photo Shop
Walking into the Tod's show, a raft of photographs were strung up ahead: some I recognised speedily like quirky illustrator Quentin Jones, or the model and actress Lizzy Jagger. I spotted Julia Restoin Roitfeld, daughter of famous editor Carine Roitfeld. All of them looked interesting, modern and independent.
This was designer Alessandra Facchinetti's purpose. Her aim at Tod's has been to make the fashion side as comprehensible as the brand's famous shoes. I was therefore looking in the show for a link between the practicality of a loafer in many colours, bags with so many different textures and the clothes on the runway.
Alessandra's other mantra was: 'Beyond the Rules' - suggesting something more unusual than the streamlined garments made to the theme of nature and gardens that she has shown previously. Models dressed in a biker style were apparently also guitar players, because this instrument might appear as decoration on accessories. But for the clothes the patterns were of vinyl records, although it was more likely to see just a plain pinstriped all-in-one pantsuit.
A sense of sporty energy ran through the show, as though the woman in a mid-calf skirt punched with holes or another with a leather jacket worn with shorts, might be on the way to work via the gym. The silver leather jacket and striped skirt definitely suggested a well-dressed motorcyclist.
Individually, there were appealing pieces and the sporty vibe felt right, while the long hemlines were plausible. But ultimately, there was no big statement for a line that has only put its fashion foot forward because of the success of its shoes.
Iceberg: Hotting Up
Arthur Arbesser is on a roll. A finalist for the LVMH Prize and picked to design Iceberg, the Austrian label working out of Milan, he is now on the international radar.
"I see Iceberg as all about energy, colour and lots of military details — and keeping a sense of humour," said the designer, whose play on stripes and wavy lines had the dynamic appeal of sportswear in the digital age.
It was a smart move to think of Iceberg's 30-year heritage not as a back-to-the-70s vibe, but to focus on the company's relationship with knitting instead.
With the flexibility of knit as a partner to the geometry, the effect as the bodies moved on the runway was striking. Stripes grew into checks and the patchworks of geometric lines morphed into different patterns on long dresses.
I always wonder why designers of sportswear lines seem obliged to make evening offerings. But tufts of feathers decorating simple dresses and a satin bomber jacket were plausible, and Arbesser gave the Iceberg collection a fresh and lively look.
Costume National: Last of the Minimalists
It was no surprise to find that the inspiration at Costume National was "film noir". Black has always been Ennio Capasa's vision.
For summer 2016, the designer played on contrasts - in light and dark colours, with a splash of blood red.
"For me, sensuality is something to discover — it's all about the energy of the body," he said.
But more significantly, he worked with textures and textiles, mixing so subtly silk, suede and crêpe de Chine. Those ever-changing materials contrasted with simple and sharp cuts that defined each silhouette.
The way that silk was mixed with Japanese denim or scarlet with slithers of silver made the collection seem wearable, with an idiosyncratic touch.
Ennio Capasa is a fashion pro, and his methodology should be studied by aspiring designers. Lasting in fashion means having a vision, but also knowing how to swing gently with the times.