Thursday, December 19, 2013

Italian Couture and Signature Fashion

Italy is recognized as being a worldwide trendsetter and leader in design, so much so that Italian architect Luigi Caccia is convinced that "Quite simply, we are the best" and that "We have more imagination, more culture, and are better mediators between the past and the future". One cannot deny it, that Italy today still exerts a vast influence on urban design, industrial design and fashion design worldwide and Italy's is fiercely vociferous about its’ iconic design, craftsmanship, food, ranging from cheeses, wine, pizza, pasta, ice-creams, sweets and more, has emerged into the common phrase "Made in Italy".

Some of the most famous Italian Fashion Brands

Our subject is all about the Italian fashion, which is amongst the world's most important fashion designs, such as those of France, USA, Great Britain and Japan. Since fashion has always been an important part of the culture of Italy, and its society. Italian designs became one of Europe's main trendsetters ever since the 11th–16th centuries, when artistic development in Italy was at its peak. Cities such as Venice, Milan,Florence and Vicenza started to produce luxury goods, hats, cosmetics,jewelry and rich fabrics. But Italy suffered a decline during the 17th–early 20th centuries, as Italian fashion lost its importance, and France became the main trendsetter of Europe. French fashion rose in popularity, ever since luxury dresses began to be designed for the courtiers of Louis XIV.

Italian fashion saw its come back during the 1951–53 fashion soirées held by Giovanni Battista Giorgini in Florence, the "Italian school" started to compete with the French haute couture, as labels such as Ferragamo and Gucci began to compete with Chanel and Dior. Currently, Milan, which is the centre of Italian fashion is considered the true fashion capitalof the world, according to the 2009 Global Language Monitor, and Romeranked 4th. Both these cities annually compete with other major international centres, such as Paris, New York, London and Tokyo.

Examples of major Italian fashion houses are: 
Gucci, Armani, Emilio Pucci, Valentino, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Ferragamo, Roberto Cavalli, Trussardi, Versace, Krizia, Etro, Miu Miu, Laura Biagiotti, Max Mara, Fendi,Moschino, Missoni, Benetton and Brioni, to name a few. Italy is home to many fashion magazines, such as Grazia, Amica, Gioia and Donna, and have it’s Italian edition of Vogue.


Other Italian accessory and jewelry brands, such as Bulgari are amongst the most important in the world. Luxottica the Milanese company is currently the world's most successful eyewear company, boasting billions of revenue each year. Commercially, Italian Milan-based fashion design is far more successful than its Parisian rival. Armani is well known for its minimalism and sophisticated style, Versace for its extravagant and ultra-luxurious lines, Gucci for its symbolic chicness and style, Prada for its glitz and glamour, Valentino for its supreme elegance, Dolce & Gabbana for its fantasies’ and Sicilian influenced collections, Romeo Gigli for its romantic and creative ideas, Moschino for its cheap and chic collections, Roberto Cavalli for its animal print creations.

Dolce & Gabbana

When I was in Milan for a holiday way back years ago, I used to be impressed by the Japanese and Koreans queuing after the fashion boutiques of Miuccia Prada, and Gucci, waiting their turn to enter. Prada is considered as the innovator. It is only very rarely that a brand as well-known and powerful as Prada retains the cachet of a fashion insider's label. Prada has become a household name. If anyone was in any doubt about that, the title of the Hollywood blockbuster The Devil Wears Prada proves it. The fashion fraternity worships at the altar of Miuccia Prada, who changes her aesthetic and, indeed, her mind as often as most of us have dinner and has the rest of the fashion world running to keep up with her innovations. One can also notice that many high street fashion collections are an assimilations of Prada's ideas, and appear on other people's catwalks, seasons and even years down the line. Like Armani her clothes also inspired the film industry, as recently as the remake of the Great Catsby.


The ubiquity of strange and elaborate shoes, even stranger colours, the A-line and dirndl skirt and, this season in particular, lace are all thanks to this designer. Because her viewpoint is difficult to pin down, she is labelled "intellectual" but while her intelligence is clearly a force to be reckoned with, she has the instincts of a wildcat when it comes to predicting what people might like to wear six months down the line.


Giorgio Armani is the other great lifestyle designer and he is to Italy what Ralph Lauren is to the US. Armani revolutionised tailoring, loosening up the formal jacket to suit men and women of style who continue to wear his fluid, minimally-minded designs to this day. His name is also the one behind today's symbiotic relationship between film and fashion. Armani famously dressed Richard Gere in American Gigolo, and has long seen the virtue of placing the world's superstars in his front row. And who cannot remember another blockbuster The Untouchables, In return, no red carpet is complete without his designs. The current Armani poster girl is none other than my idol Cate Blanchett quite a coup, as every designer wants her. Cate does the SI ARMANI new perfume advert. 

Armani Perfume Ad feat Cate Blanchett

Italian fashion is indeed a celebration of influence, its designs and creations have influenced millions of people around the world, and many high street fashion designer is recreating and following closely on their heels. Indeed Italian Fashion is a celebration of influence!!



Thursday, October 24, 2013

Alberta Ferretti Spring Summer 2014

Summer is still with us here in Malta and Gozo, with temperatures as high as 27 degrees Celsius, and people are still seeking the beaches as the sea temperature is 25 degrees Celsius, with a UV index of 5 or 6.  Most of us are looking forward for autumn and winter to kick start, to start wear our winter wear.  But we have still weeks ahead of good sunny weather. 
Yesterday I was tuned on Fashion TV and I happened to watch the Italian fashion designer one of my favourites.  Alberta Ferretti Spring Summer 2014 collection is folkloric evoking Spanish, Peruvian and Southern Italian style, with femininity.  The colours are very bold for Spring time with lively reds to oranges, apple green as well as a heavy presence of black and white.  We have seen florals this season, but Ferretti includes bold stripes into the mix with horizontal and vertical arrangements.  The dresses feature ruffles, floral prints and lots of lace and tulle. 

 Dresses are the real stars of Ferretti’s collection with some look consists of tops and skirts.  The dresses are short, sleeveless long dresses with flowery decorations.  The dresses play transparency with lace and tulle, very lively and elegant paisley prints and flowers.  The evening dresses collection are very refined, in soft fabrics and with long working fluid skirt or sophisticated, with transparent straps and lace adorning the bustier or strapless.

The clothes come with top puffed sleeves, mesh transparent, top wear with applied flowers, colourful, long and short skirts with flounces in plain or stripped print.  I have to admit that it is much different from any other collection that we have reported on.  But I like it very much, looking back there is not one single outfit that I would not wear.   

Monday, October 14, 2013

John Rocha

The Parisian, New Yorkers, Londoners, and the Milanese pavements have felt the elegant footfall of the world’s fashion press on the way to the bi-annual shows, just a couple of weeks ago in September.
This weekend on Fashion TV I came upon the John Rocha Spring Summer 2014 collection.   In his collection John Rocha makes reference to ‘extraordinary forms’ and he really explains it all.  It is literally sculptural, and architectural, I describe it as beautiful, and desperately sexy.
The dresses were striking from top to toe,  voluminous skirts, which bloomed out from the waist, like a bell or a dome, were in turn worked in blooms of couched georgette and yarn blossoms, creating a couture-like impression, more so when topped with wide-brimmed hats formed from coiled acetate that jutted out in front of the models’ faces like high-fashion visors.  I literally glowed over these fabulous hats.  I also noticed that the dresses hemline were under the ankle. 
What I loved most were his evening dresses, in fluid black lace with flowers picked out in gold which gives the aura of mysticism, and also the white outfits which can easily be dressed as day wear. 
This was vintage Rocha sexy and sophisticated, but elegant and feminine always. What would l give to own a couple of the dresses and hats. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

My absolute favorites from the Spring/Summer 2014 Collections

I admit I have not seen all spring summer 2014 collections, but if I had to choose from what I have seen, I would undoubtedly wear Burberry Prorsum and Dolce and Gabbana.
Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana seem to be sleeping and dreaming on the sunny island of Sicily. Sicily’s sandy shores, blue ocean, and religious artifacts that have remained in their collections. With the difference that this time round it was the island Greek and Roman history, its almond trees and some traditional Sicilian dress that was one more fix he designers continue to send.
The gold coin was without a doubt the collections symbol. It did feature on platform heels, big boxer sized belts and headbands. It’s circular shape and embossed features formed an entire golden dress. Dresses were embossed and printed with coin images, giving it the polka dot motif.
The designers ventured away from the coin motif, and  they shifted gears and got romantic. They used prints of blooming almond trees, bringing the flowering tree to life via appliqué petals that danced on top of dresses, tops, jackets and skirts.  Dolce & Gabbana must explore further this motif of the almond trees, which combined nature and beauty. 
There were also roman ruined amphitheater vintage photo prints in the show, with columns looking striking down the front of a shift dress. What I adore most and which seem to be permanent with Dolce & Gabbana creations, is the lace dress.  They showed it in both the black slip dress and in shimmering gold option. 

Regarding the Burberry Prorsum collection what I loved most is Bailey’s versatility and savvy way of inventing the Burberry’s iconic ingredients , while added his own touch to it, without much of a disturb.  Celebrities like Alex Chung and Burberry campaign face Sienna Miller were among the traffic stopping crowds of guests and paparazzi waiting to flash their cameras on celebrities. 
As I have said before I just adore lace from underwear to outer wear.  The iconic trench coat, this time spun into sugary pastels, worn over delicate see-through lace. The colours were dusty pinks, eggshell and milky blues, Burberry’s new subject focused on turning the old into new, including crochet skirts worn over granny panties. As the collection moved on the lace gave way to polka dots and stripes, and later to shapes, sprinkled or fixed together by crystals blooming into giant colourful brooches. 

Transparent waterproof cape was worn over a lacy pencil skirt, both showered in jewels, depicting Bailey’s talent further more for successfully mixing materials and ideas.  Another striking feature were the accessories like sandals and sheepskin clutches worn crunched or folded.  It was a very striking collection.  I really want to own a few pieces of the collection, but bad luck for me as they are very pricey over my budget.
Having said that, it is good to watch fashion shows, and although most of us cannot afford not even a single piece without going bankrupt at least it is good to have an idea what to buy, from high street fashion shops that try to emulate these big designers collections. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Milan Fashion Week

In Milan, fashion shows packed Friday, Saturday, and Sunday oozing sex appeal, with Versace, Cavalli , and Pucci whereas Bottega Veneta Jill Sander, and Marni collections were studies in creative shape and volume. Sure the big bold names—Prada, Versace, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana—all churned out buzzling collections. We are commenting on most standout collections you may have watched or missed. It made me ask again, what do I dress for; to impress other women, to impress men or simply to boost my alter ego. For me it always has been the latter, with me it is like food, I eat to satisfy my love of food, and it is the same way with clothes. Like food I adore clothes. You can be exuberant and the fashion houses at Etro, and Missoni and many more exploited just that feeling. What impressed me more is the glamour and the richness of the colour gold and expensive materials of the clothes of Dolce & Gabbana. 

Sportmax was packed by people, watching models wearing cutre mules with pom poms like scoops of ice-cream and dresses with polka dots the size of oreo cookies.



At Armani the dresses were shimmering in muted pastels, some mixed with bold black straps and crazy pin curls. At Etro dresses were silky and filled with paisley.



To very loud music Versace ended the show with a model in a dazzling black and silver gown. Bottega Veneta showed sensuality in ruffles. The show was refined and elegant. So feminine...a perfect collection. The look I loved was the short ruffle skirt with boxy shirt look.

Bottega Veneta
Bottega Veneta

Cavalli had a festival of bling and glory. Jil Sander had a mix of simple coats, cropped pants and artistic prints. I loved a shinning dress paired with gold loafers.


Jil Sander

Jil Sander

Pucci was all about beads, beads and more beads. I loved the beaded jackets and motocross pants. Marni show depicted Japanese influences, with visors and phenomenal skirts covered in thousands of florets and jackets encrusted with giant beads. One of my favourite as I highlighted above was the sensational golden bevy of girls at the Dolce & Gabbana finale. But they also had stunning red dresses, some of which were belted at the waist with a huge gold coin belt, It seemed to be that of an old Italian movie, like the Dolce Vita. Prada sent models down the runway in military-inspired khaki dresses topped with bejeweled bras.

Dolce & Gabbana

Dolce & Gabbana


As always, Prada was absolutely creative and we are sure that these glamorous bras are going to be the fashion.. “The intention was to set off this idea of women, of the strength of women,” said Prada. “They are kind of fighters. We like to make men afraid.



Prada show was in an auditorium covered with murals of women faces. These faces were also adorning coats and skirts. Everything was sending a social message: Women in Power.

What do you think? Tell us which collection you most enjoyed watching or dream to dress like this coming fall and winter of 2013-2014

Friday, September 20, 2013

Travelling Effortlessly Chic

Some of you have been asking me for some styling tips for when travelling abroad. Let's face it, it's quite a headache having to pack, especially if it's for a short stay, that is for a day or two (business trip). The most important thing though is that you always try to look comfortable and stylish at the same time. 

First things first..
1. Check the weather
This is the most important thing to do before starting to pack as you have to dress for the season. No matter where you are travelling abroad you to need to wear some layers whether it's a coat, scarf, a cardi, etc....

2. Respect the country/culture you are visiting
This naturally depends on where you are going but try to avoid wearing shorts,  (Daisy Dukes style), mini skirts, transparent garments or anything strapless as these may cause unwanted attention.

3. Duration of your stay/holiday
Go for lightweight travel clothes, and if you are not going to wear it for more than three times just do not pack it! Make sure that every garment you take complements every other garment or that at least it has two uses (scarf worn as a wrap, sarongs worn as a skirt/dress, white shirt). Also rolling your clothes rather than folding them saves some space.   

What to wear:

  • comfortable pair of walking shoes 
  • cardigans, sweaters, wraps, scarves, pashminas
  • secure purse/bag - to avoid pick pocketers
  • dark coloured/pattern garments - great at trying to camouflage stains and wrinkles/creases
  • a good pair of sunglasses 
  • white shirt
  • pair of jeans
  • black dress/black pencil skirt (you can never go wrong with the little black dress!! :))

What not to wear:

  • a new pair of shoes
  • anything that is very expensive such as jewellery/bags
  • baseball caps
  • tracksuits
  • white runners
Rosie travelling in style 

Miranda Kerr 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

LFW:Burberry Prorsum

So far I have not been able to view much of the runway fashion show that were held during the New York fashion week.  I have been lucky only to see Christopher Bailey’s Burberry Prorsum show, and I liked it for the simple fact that it is wearable and do able. 
At the finale of the Burberry Prorsum show, there was a rainfall of rose petals, milky custard yellow blushed with pink—that tumbled from the skies I wanted this English rose,” explained Christopher Bailey backstage, “soft and tender. It started with a mood more than a theme—something gentle and kind.”

There was an impressive front row of English celebrities including Sienna Miller, and Suki Waterhouse, among others.  There was something that suggested the 1950s suburban dream girl in the fluffy knits and lacy pencil skirts, that I simple adorned and wish to have in my closet for next spring. The atmosphere at the show seemed to be very romantic indeed, as Christopher would have like it to be.

Every woman’s look was shown with the same needle-heeled sandal, anchored with a strip of rubber in strong pink or vivid green. The flat purses were worn in the latest fashion, not only clutched, but folded and crushed, too, a styling trick that certainly looks stylish, but of course wouldn't allow for as much as a lipstick. 

Certainly as always, Christopher pushes the strong fashion message in his collections the house’s iconic raincoats and trenches that were transformed into sleek fifties cocktail dresses with necklines draped across the shoulder, cinched with bejewelled “necklace” belts, and that signature Burberry water-resistant cotton was used not only for a trench, but for a pencil skirt with embroidered cut outs, elaborate as an Edwardian Ascot frock.

I will surely try to steal some of the looks and try to emulate the outfits of the models.  I have a few pencil skirts, some of which are lacey.  It is still far away to think about it, we have autumn coming up to think about.

NYFW: Summing it all up

Hi to all GTL blog fans (old and new ones). It has been over a week since we posted in our blog. Last week,  we were busy, excited, eager and in awe of what top level New York fashion designers are proposing for Spring summer 2013/14.

Some of the trends/styles that dominated the catwalk at the New York Fashion Week were:

  • pleats
  • mannish shirts and trousers
  • pencil skirts
  • oversized jackets
  • fringes 
  • sheer, organza
  • lace

It seems that black and white is here to stay. Narcisio Ridriguez, Ralph lauren, Calvin Klein, Carolina Herrera are amongst the designers that are still proposing monochrome for Spring/Summer 2014. Even though, Ralph Lauren made a striking change in his catwalk from monochrome to acid-bright colors. 

Calvin Klein - oversized sheer blouses

Calvin Klein - fringe 
Carolina Herrera - monochrome
Ralph Lauren - monochrome school girl look
Ralph Lauren - monochrome school girl look

Ralph Lauren - striking change to bright colors

Earth tone and pastel colors will also be very popular. Amongst the designers who are proposing these colors are Micheal Kors and Phillip Lim, with the latter describing his collection as  "as a survey of raw landscapes and terrains". Safari separates also ruled the runway at Micheal Kors.  

Micheal Kors - Safari 
Phillip Lim - oversized sheer blouses 

Phillip Lim - Pastel colors, oversized jackets

Narcisio Rodriguez introduced the "half skirt" that is the skirt & shorts hybrid. His collection consisted mainly in masculine cut garments with layers of shine and lace to give that feminine look. 

Narcisio Rodriguez - black & white

Narcisio Rodriguez - "half skirt"

I was very intrigued with Donna Karan's collection. She described her collection as one which " was about bringing day into night". Karan proposes mannish shirts, ethnic prints,  and artisanal bags and belts.  Karan,  "blended primitive motifs and hand blocked prints with artisanal quality."  What stood out though in this collection is that garments looked both versatile and wardrobe ready.  

Donna Karan - artisanal leather bags
Donna Karan - urban ethnic prints

Mark Jacobs closed the NYFW "with a bang." His collection was very dark and aggressive with short/long matador jackets and Victorian gowns. 

Marc Jacobs - tassel matador jackets

Marc Jacobs - victorian dresses