Water has made a surprising number of appearances on the runways this season. We saw it first on Marc Jacobs’ stage in New York, we saw it once in London and a couple of times here in Milan, including a thoroughly soaked set for Missoni yesterday. Today, though, Lucio Vanotti adorns his otherwise plain set with water set in large, flat dishes scattered on the runway. The one closest to the top of the runway has a white piece of cloth hanging above it with just the tip of the cloth touching the water. What could this all mean?
I don’t have a clue. I’m not sure anyone does. Vanotti isn’t saying. For that matter, he didn’t really give the collection a name, either. “Untitled n.1” is what appears on all his show material. We’re going to assume that he means to leave the clothes open to our interpretation.
This collection could be given a lot of interpretation, too. My preference is to look at the simpleness and cleanliness of the clothes. While the whole presentation was performed with only dripping water and occasional random metallic noises with models slowly sauntering down the runway with somber expressions, there is some very nice and very exciting work here.
White is the dominant color in the collection, despite the fact he opens with a shiny black patent leather coat. He roams through some other subtle colors, very pale blue and green, various shades of brown, and one piece done in a light yellow. Yet, he keeps coming back to white and ends the collection with six pieces in that color. Most looks are monochromatic except for the blue and green ensembles which are striped.
His silhouettes are very simple and the looks are very clean. There are very few accessories save the handbags, and those look more like plain shopping bags which the models clutch tightly to themselves as though they fear being mugged as they walk. The ensembles are varied but run toward being rather full and frequently masculine in their cut.
What I found interesting about his looks is his fondness for apron tops without actually providing any aprons. The white pieces where he uses this touch look especially like food service aprons at first. Only when one realises that they are attached to a romper or a dress do we see that there is no real apron at all. He also tends to cut open the back of sleeves and a couple of times uses a belt across the bust to tie down scarves.
Striped pieces actually look fun, despite the somber appearance. One slightly cropped top and shorts set could easily make for cool beach wear, but one would never pull that emotion from the runway.
Lucio Vanotti has a very nice, creatively different collection for the spring. The clothes are quite well done. This show, though, was so strangely somber that I’m not sure enough people will see the potential for fun in the clothes. We wish him luck.