Colcci Autumn/Winter 2013: Resolving Mass Fashion in High Style

When a designer is tasked with overseeing the creative direction of a fashion label like Brazilian Colcci that produces 1,800 units of apparel, accessories and footwear each season to be sold in 1,760 stores across 31 countries, the pressure to comply with commercial and branding positioning imperatives can put tremendous pressures on ingenuity. However, the duo Jeziel Moraes e Adriana Zucco managed to pull together yet another successful collection for the Brazilian fashion giant’s Autumn/Winter 2013 range, as their runway shown during the 34th edition of São Paulo Fashion Week confirmed. In addition, and perhaps reflecting changes in the global perception of the fleeting celebrity arena, Colcci decided not to use the likes of Paris Hilton and Ashton Kutcher to model its clothes on the runway again, preferring instead the professional modelling skills of girl-next-door Alessandra Ambrosio, the latest ambassador of the brand.

The collection (which comprised menswear and womenswear) explored the sartorial potentials of texture and fabric blocking adroitly in a range of clothes and accessories that impressed the audience of expert fashion journalists. However, as any regular visitor to a Colcci store would have noticed, these might not be the clothes that the retailer will sell the most or even have on display. These are clothes that will please editorial stylists and journalists and will sell the high-end image of the brand to the masses in order to attract customers to the store. What remains questionable is whether these stylish pieces will be available in the large quantities that some customers will expect to find, or if they are just the hook to increase the number of customers who will eventually buy other garments when in the store.

Regardless, this was an admirable and vast collection that, particularly when considering that it tried to resolve the challenge of addressing the populist fashion demands of affluent young consumers, combined street style and sophistication. The nod to recent styles developed by global brands like Prada, Marni, Stella McCartney or Martin Margiela that have explored the notion of duality were present in the contrasting sleeves, fabric panelling and colour blocking, or in the geometric prints that evoked pyjama designs against solid colours. In addition, distressed denims contrasted with fine leathers, jacquard and beading work, while the colour palette evoked the functionality of day wear and the elegance of evening wear. Equally, military and varsity styles (as evident in the abundance of bomber jackets and raglan sleeves) clashed elegantly with mini-skirts that evoked the spirit of 1960s London.