Fashion: Vive Europa
From the Print Edition:
Rudy Giuliani, Nov/Dec 01
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After the much-reported Gucci takeover of Yves Saint Laurent in 1999 placed Tom Ford at the design helm, Ford manipulated the master's signature forward, into the new century. For spring 2002, Ford's superslick suits in shiny silk with knife-like tapering and super-fly accessories may prove too form-fitting to be practical for anyone other than a fashion pimp. Fashion must be pushed, but there are limits.
The French-tailored man is a creative type, an architect, art director, graphic artist, restaurant or gallery owner, or maybe just a trust fund baby. He possesses a svelte constitution, but a grand disposition. If you can afford to leave the greenbacks on the table, go for Hermés, the quintessential tailored clothing and sportswear design house for the horsey, on-the-go set. Other important French-based designers: Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Dries Van Noten, Comme des Garçons, Yohji Yamamoto.
Glance over at the monochromactically decked-out cell-phone abuser whipping through the first-class lounge, the one wearing the minichecked sport coat softened by a merino sweater cascading from his shoulders and flowing, creaseless trousers that dip just above low-vamped glove-like leather driving moccasins. Validate this one Venice, Italy…tailor-made, Milano.
The Italians have always conceived of great style and achieved it with equivalent craftsmanship. High style lies at the cornerstone of the entire Italian lifestyle, but applies more to clothing than perhaps any other category of consumption.
Italians take to heart Giorgio Armani's three rules of style and design: "Eliminate the superfluous, emphasize the comfortable, and acknowledge the elegance of the uncomplicated."
When Italy first waved the fashion scepter sometime in the early 1400s, Renaissance Romans were weavers and creators of beautiful fine fabrics that they sold throughout Europe. Ancient lore has it that Italians mastered the art of working with tender silk after two monks visiting the Orient smuggled out silkworm eggs in their telescoping canes. Italy conquered the use of other fine fabrics as well, among them cashmere, super woolens, vicuna and linen. A vivid sense of color inspired by the Mediterranean Sea and sky has always imbued Italian clothing with intense and bright saturated hues: such as azure, coral and sage.
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