For the last several seasons shirts have been retired to the back of women's wardrobes, overtaken in popularity by the more youthful t-shirt, worn even under the most elegant of jackets. However, in the eternal fashion cycle, this season the symbol of unisex attire, shirts are making a comeback and are once again an important part of every woman's wardrobe. When thinking women's shirts at their peak of elegance, Gianfranco Ferre' springs to mind. In the 1990s, the architect of fashion chose the white shirt as the highest tool for female seductiveness, restructuring it in chiffon and organza with voluminous shapes and refined lines, soaring necks and tassel belts inspired by Japanese obi sashes. Today the two new creative directors Federico Piaggi and Stefano Citron are introducing Ferre' white shirts by deconstructing them and tucking in the waist with high, golden-hued metallic belts.
An archetype of elegance due to its clear and pure colour, the white shirt was once a symbol of nobility for men and the expression of personal care and hygiene since, until the beginning of the 1900s, only the well-off could afford to wash their clothes frequently and have enough clean ones perpetually on hand. It is no coincidence that stripes and checkered prints didn't catch on so easily, since they were a sort of trick to hide stains and dirt of a proletarian nature. However, today's wrinkled and seemingly not-ironed white linen shirt is considered trendy casual attire to be worn even on hot summer days over a tube skirt or jeans and a must-have for all women with a minimalist style and little time.
For Dolce & Gabbana, shirts are a symbol of Sicily, an endless source of inspiration for their ever-Mediterranean feel and for whom black and white lace shirts are a style staple found in all of their collections. The duo's new collection adds a printed, multi-coloured cashmere patchwork design version. For Giorgio Armani, shirts can do without their collars and an eternal piece of timeless femininity. Ferragamo created a shirt in bordeaux red, while Aigner has reintroduced a sporty version with African-hued stripes and pockets in the front. A more romantic take on the matter can be found with Anna Molinari's BluGirl collection, in chiffon with floral prints and delicate colours. Givenchy's is utterly chic, in total white chiffon in contrast to Matthew Williamson who instead offers a brilliant, coral red chiffon design.
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