Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Milan Fashion Week A/W14: Salvatore Ferragamo and Sportmax Have Arty Animal Instincts

Being a self-confessed lover of all things leopard print (from shoes to pyjamas), I always have my eye out for a peek of it on the catwalk, especially as it rarely goes out of fashion. Many style bibles may claim that zebra takes over in certain seasons, but the truth is that leopard is here to stay, reminding us of everything from 1950s kitsch to 1980s sex kitten glamour, purely because there are so many visual references aligned with it.

Naturally I was pleased to see leopard print appearing in the collections of two Italian heavyweights, Salvatore Ferragamo and Sportmax, but I also noticed some other thematic similarities between the two, such as delving into other animal prints (specifically patent black coats with a croc or snake finish) and experimenting with painterly touches. 

Rawr Prints

Tan leopard print coats and overcoat
 [Images via Style.com]. Ferragamo favoured soft leopard tailoring worn for high impact.

Leopard dresses and jacket on Italy catwalk
Sportmax opted for a brighter and more precise print, teamed with leather trims.

I love how differently the print has been interpreted by each designer, and how far removed the two central looks can be, with Ferragamo's 70s-style tan cape battling against the 90s slim-fit approach from Sportmax. 

Black Lines

Black dresses with varying textures on the catwalk
 The power of applied volume and precisely placed belts is at hand.

Snakeskin coat on the Milan catwalk
 Here, the belts are almost obi-style in thickness, cutting straight across the body and almost creating two separate canvases.

I think it's safe to assume that a belted patent black coat, to knee length or below, will be a staple purchase for A/W 2014 and beyond. Personally my favourite is Ferragamo's collarless minimalist number - it's neat and edgy.

 A Fashionable Animal

Salvatore Ferragamo autumn winter
 Whatever the silhouette you're going for, Ferragamo has you covered.

Animal prints as a trend for Autumn Winter 2014
 Sportmax shows its full range of animal prints in action.

This is where the real trend-led pieces come in; the ones that are less classic and more instant fashion fixes. Enter high necks, puff sleeves, print skirts and other easy separates to pair with the rest of your wardrobe.

Artistic Licence

Painted leather and fabric seen at Milan Fashion Week
 Painted leather, oil slick effects and bursts of colourful dye transform these looks.

Paint splattered clothing on trend for AW14
Clear artistic inspiration from Jackson Pollock shaped the latter part of this collection.

It's interesting that both designers chose to combine animal prints with paintbrush effects, allowing them to push their collections in new directions, and that the end results continue to be so different. You'd hardly say that the watercolour-esque mustard lines of Salvatore Ferragamo were from the same school of thought as the Jackson Pollock splodges employed by Sportmax. 

I suppose the uniting factor about these two ranges is fun; the prints are fun, the experimentation is fun, and the wearers are going to have the most fun of all.

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