other critics

Cathy Horyn on Milan Fashion Week: ‘An Eternity of Bad Clothes Crammed Into Four Days’

Does Cathy Horyn ever have a good time at Milan Fashion Week? In September she said the best part of the spring shows was leaving on the train with her very own bottle of Tuscan red. Yet another season just passed in Milan, and again, the clothes left her with a lot to drink off. The Times fashion critic writes:

The fall shows here, now that they’re over, were a lot like an alcohol-free version of “The Lost Weekend,” the 1945 Ray Milland film. What would that be like? An eternity of bad clothes crammed into four days with editors raging like shut-ins about the lack of fun (“Help, I need a drink!”) and the blogger Bryanboy announcing on Twitter that he had scored a free fur jacket from Dolce & Gabbana.

Not only is she fed up with the clothes and front-row bloggers, she seems irked by the industry’s attempt to globally expand by way of hotels.

Although Italy continues to pump out beautiful leather goods and well-made clothes, like the dashing coats at MaxMara, which topped anything in Milan with their authority, it seems in many ways a country of reduced expectations. You hear a lot of people here, including designers, refer to “a TV culture,” as if the bright bimbo tackiness on the tube has leached into Italy’s creative soil.

But what if it has? Big houses like Giorgio Armani can’t expect to reach around the globe, putting down hotels with little GA soaps and towels, without more thrust than yesterday’s understated pantsuit. “Times change and change brings with it a new concept of chic,” read the notes for Mr. Armani’s show. That meant coats in a slouchy patchwork of black and white fur, day skirts in swirly charmeuse with square-shoulder pinstriped jackets, and colors like coral red and Tibetan orange. “TV-bright,” as Saul Bellow would put it? You bet.

She’s right — it is annoying to think about a Giorgio Armani hotel. But only because imagining the people who decide they need to sleep in a Giorgio Armani bed, and eat Giorgio Armani continental breakfast, and clean their ears with Giorgio Armani Q-tips — and other parts with Giorgio Armani toilet paper — makes the brain hurt a thousand times worse than a night out at this city’s “elite” scary nightlife cave of sleaze, Provocateur. But maybe Italy isn’t just lacking, well, a certain sensibility — maybe it’s also lacking Tom Ford:

Six years after Tom Ford bowed out at Gucci, a glass of Scotch in hand, Italian fashion hasn’t recovered its magic and energy yet.

Is she not afraid that, before Tom Ford delivers the promised, highly anticipated womenswear line, he’ll decide he wants to build a Tom Ford hotel? He made a movie. He could just as easily decide to dabble in real-estate development.

The Looks of Lowered Expectations [NYT]

Cathy Horyn on Milan Fashion Week: ‘An Eternity of Bad Clothes Crammed Into Four Days’