I’ll be very honest: I’m still sitting here trying to figure out exactly what it is I just saw make its way around the catwalk of this Frencesco Scognamilio show. Just last season, having separated from his business partner, Francesco was talking about starting over, giving everything a fresh look and the clothes for his spring/summer collection echoed that sentiment: very light weight, full of pastels and floral patterns, and very feminine. What we just saw was about as far from that aesthetic as one can possibly go. Yet, I’m searching for words because I’m still not sure what those girls were wearing.
When I first saw the initial look coming down the runway, I thought the model was simply wearing a deep red, probably fox, fur coat and boots with nothing under it. That would be a very normal thing for a runway show here. As she drew closer, though, there were some shifts in the “skin” that were very unnatural and it soon became apparent that she was wearing something beneath the coat after all. That something turned out to be a latex-based flesh-colored top that is contoured to the skin. What gives this a somewhat creepy look is that the garment goes all the way up the neck, shaping itself to the collarbone and neck. The visual effect is … disturbing.
Francesco has a history with pvc and latex that isn’t all that flattering. In fact, its whispered, carefully, that his pre-occupation with the materials is part of what led to his separation from Donatella Versace’s operations several years ago. Could he be slipping back into his old ways?
As a whole, the collection is confusing, though not necessarily unattractive. Several of the initial looks have a militaristic silhouette, with squared shoulders and buttons going all the way up the neck. A couple of red jackets almost look like something borrowed from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were it not for the attached hoods. Francesco plays with leather a bit, has a couple of pieces with gold fringe, and then does a lot of sheer tops, some of which are cut out specifically to shape the breast. He does sheer in black, then grey, then a fluorescent orange. In the midst of this, between every few looks, Francesco brings back that creepy latex top, this time in grey. Finally, the lights go down on the runway and one thinks the show is mercifully over.
No, the show is not over. There was a movie in 1981 staring Dudley Moore (Demi’s father) and Liza Minnelli called Arthur. The movie was a bit of a flop, but the theme song by Christopher Cross, The Best That You Can Do became a hit.
I’ve not heard that song since at least 1984, yet, as the lights started to come back up for what we assumed was a finale walk through, Christopher Cross’s voice began crooning and Francesco sends six brand new looks down the runway, all black with white accents, and rococo styled embroidery. He then finishes up with a sheer black gown.
I’m waiting, hoping that perhaps someone from Vogue or Marie Claire can explain to me exactly what just happened here because in my mind this makes absolutely no sense at all. Francesco’s spring/summer collection went in such a positive, beautiful, feminine direction, and now this season … Surely there’s an explanation of which I’m just not aware. I do get left out of the loop from time to time. That’s what I’m hoping, because otherwise, from here, it looks as though Francesco needs some help and maybe some therapy. Fast.