MILAN, Italy — Show reviewers have quite a reputation for being difficult to please, which to a certain extent is true. Living in the fashion trenches for many months of the year, we all crave for something that gives us a thrill, a little spark, something to think about or just enjoy for a moment. But these occurrences are getting rarer and rarer.
Today two shows offered nice, well-made, straightforward clothes — stuff — without anything much to think about. Of course, good product is what sustains the system, but it’s always better when it comes with substance.
At Philosophy, Lorenzo Serafini upped the ante on sensuality and toned down the romanticism, keeping in place the 1980s nostalgia which is a defining trait of his hazy aesthetic. The collection was heavy on banana-shaped trousers, foamy lace blouses and dresses, both long and short drenched with vague ethnic nods, worn with high-heeled soft boots. Serafini called it “Bohemian Oasis,” and it was a bit monotone. We’ll all be forgiven if Isabel Marant came to mind.
This said, Serafini has a lovely soft hand, and delivers catchy goods. His work has a palpable French touch that is partly the fruit of an aesthetic upbringing, partly a matter of styling. In order to shine as an original, however, he needs to kill his idols, and test more original grounds.
Meanwhile, at Ermanno Scervino, a brand that’s a prime purveyor of Italian craft, the goings were a bit all over the place. Women looking for perfectly made dresses and faultless outerwear should look no further. But this season Scervino’s problem was the exact opposite of what went wrong with Philosophy: the collection touched too many chords, delivering no message, safe for the quality of the clothes. There was mannish tailoring and big-skirted femininity, leather dresses and printed duvets, tutus and military nods.
Over the past few seasons, Scervino has sharpened his aesthetic, but this collection was a step backwards. It’s a pity, but no drama. Some vigorous editing will surely help next time. The clothes are already beautiful.