Wanted: A designer to bring back the feisty, forceful spirit of the Jet Set age
The digital era has had a baleful effect on print. Now that every store on Main Street has patterns in every shade and shape, where is the kudos for brands that were founded on poetic imagination?
Watching the Emilio Pucci show, put together by a ‘team’, it was sad to think that the founder was an inventive, solo genius who brought a sporty freshness first to ski-wear and then to the wardrobes of his Jet Set friends. They were in need of clothes that could work for their on-the-move spirits, and the inventive Pucci was the real founder of upscale and glamorous sportswear in a kaleidoscope of colors.
But now, rudderless because there is no current creative director, Pucci can only re-produce what every other brand is playing with: the puffer, down-filled jacket – its version colorful, of course, and worn with a Pucci-patterned skirt. Or there were faintly familiar patterns from the past, but apparently with fewer and less dynamic colors.
In the audience were Laudomia Pucci (the family’s keeper of the flame) and Sidney Toledano, formerly running Christian Dior in Paris and now part of the wider LVMH empire. He is tasked – and it should not be so difficult – with ensuring that objects of desire, in the Pucci spirit, will entice customers.
Perhaps his first job will be to define what Pucci stands for today. Back in the days when Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Kennedy were seen in Pucci outfits, these were not always patterned. In fact, when Marilyn’s clothes were offered at auction, slim trousers in vivid colors were her Pucci mainstay.
But during the recent years that Peter Dundas was the house designer, Pucci moved towards evening outfits, skillfully done, but a long way from the aristocratic founder’s vision. Alongside the red-carpet glamour came the choice of setting – always in those grand Italian buildings where the ceiling alone is a work of art and the chandeliers are enormous.
That is how it was for the Fall 2018 season. And it needs a change. It is time to press the refresh button and move the show to somewhere that represents the core of the brand. A private-jet airport wouldn’t be a bad idea as a venue for a label that was founded as a blast of fashion fresh air.