Saturday, July 10, 2004

I’ll show you the ropes

Is the common rope poised to become the next fashionable object of desire and status symbol? Chains have always been seen as edgy, hip, cool, sexy, while ropes have traditionally been seen as sporty and boaty.

But of course, that’s precisely the point - for the international resort 2005 collections (and as a season, resort IS admittedly becoming more important and directional ever year) as well as the spring/summer 2005 menswear collections, there was an unabashed and unapologetic nautical undercurrent within some of the most directional houses. This was exemplified by the return of the natty navy blazer complete with gold buttons, the reliance on the classic maritime color palette of crisp navy and white, graphic and sporty stripes, and ropes.

And because ropes were seen in collections by highly regarded designers, it’s a sure bet that this will be interpreted and referenced at all price levels in the future. When WWD previewed Stefano Pilati’s “very Saint Laurent” first collection for the house of YSL Rive Gauche, which admittedly is more about safari than boating, he used gutsy natural ropes to replace belts for both day and evening wear, as trim on epaulets of chic trenchcoats and jackets, as handles on slouchy bags, and as the base for his sexy platform sandals.

And for her first collection for the house of Gucci, another Tom Ford replacement, Alessandra Faccinetti, used ropes to trim handsome tan trenchcoats, used them as belts, and as decoration on handbags.

Let’s face it, if anyone can make ropes seem edgy, it’s Helmut Lang, whose sexy, urban yet very nautical menswear spring/summer 2005 menswear collection, just shown in Paris, was replete with ropes: white ropes were seen as ‘appendages’ dangling from belts, and encircling seersucker suits. He even took it a step further and used a rope print to add interest to the side of a t shirt.

And of course, there is always the classic and traditional rope- soled espadrille. Versions of the flat espadrille and the more retro platformed espadrille are being seen on chic women in town and country- as well as at the beach, and it is poised to become the shoe of the season. As they say, it’s ‘beachy’ keen!

Posted by Marilyn Kirschner

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