Atmospheric conditions indoors almost mirrored those outdoors. Rain settled in over Milan this morning and doesn’t show any signs of letting up. That didn’t stop a very large crowd from making their way to the Palazzo Serbelloni for Anna Molinari’s Blumarine runway presentation. One could smell the damp fabrics as guests crowded together for what is, locally, at least, one of the more popular shows, despite the snub from some American outlets such as the New York Times. Those who like feminine sensuality love this line, and its Italian audience is very appreciative.
Set against a backdrop of nighttime along damp cobblestone in an old Italian neighborhood, one could almost feel the light mist. The model walking the runway in a blue fur coat matched her gate with the sound of footsteps echoing on a soundtrack that represented the passing sounds one might hear as they walk through the night. A little jazz here, a conversation there, more jazz, classical music, more conversation. A young, attractive woman out for a stroll, perhaps on her way home from a date, a social engagement, or an evening with friends, with time to think to herself.
There is a lot more fur in this collection than what we’ve seen previously. Granted, this is Italy and fur has been stronger here this season, so one has to assume the inclusion reflects more local attitudes rather than global sensitivity to the subject. We see fur along the hem of dresses, collars and scarves, handbags, the shoulders of coats, head-enveloping hoods, and even as little balls dangling at the end of long earrings. Perhaps the most unusual placement was a fur belt buckle, which one just doesn’t see every day. Those who live or work around PETA activists might want to be careful with some of these pieces.
Practicality also seemed to take a stronger precedent than usual. There have been previous collections where the use of sheer and lace has been so heavy that it was difficult to find a piece one could wear in public without adding a slip or perhaps an overcoat. We see more practical daywear in this collection, with plenty of floral print dresses and sweater/trouser combinations with hem lengths that go well below the knee. One denim piece with floral applique almost feels casual.
Ah, but then, there are the sweater/shorts combinations that not only feel out of season, but are almost humorous when presented with the fur hood. These keep showing up in each collection which means they must be selling well. Again, I’m going to assume it’s an Italian thing.
When she finally does introduce the evening wear, however, Molinari still seems a bit subdued. Yes, there are plenty of sequins and sheer gowns that leave little to the imagination, and yes, the tailoring is exquisite and the floral applique is second to none. No one does smoky sensuality like Anna Molinari and she feeds it to her guests seductively, almost tauntingly. Even here, there are touches of fur at hems and along seams, and gowns are more opaque than we’ve seen in recent seasons. The sensuality is less aggressive.
This season’s Blumarine woman is confident and patient. She’s willing to leave the party on her terms, alone, quietly contemplating her place in the world. She needs no one else, but knows well who wants her and is willing to wait. At the end of the show, Molinari walks out, her hands inside the pockets of her own fur coat. She barely smiles and doesn’t bother waving, but nods. She knows you like the clothes. She knows you’ll shop. She knows you’ll be back next season. That’s the confidence she’s built into Blumarine.