On The Runway

Milan Fashion Week: Dark Opulence Leads the Way

runway reviews, milan fashion week autumn/winter 2012

Looks from the runways of (left to right): Prada, Bottega Veneta, Dolce & Gabbana and Jil Sander

Milan Fashion Week is not so much about trends as it is about building on the heritage of Italy’s luxury labels. Each house has its own identity and every season designers rework this vision in a new and exciting way. That being said, most designers embraced opulence and luxury with plenty of heavy embellishments (especially on outerwear) and an abundance of rich fabrics like brocade and velvet.  Everyone also seems to have Rooney Mara fever with her look inspiring many designers, especially when it came to hairstyles!

Of course the biggest news of the week was the return of German designer Jil Sander to her namesake label, leaving the extremely talented Raf Simons free. Whoever snaps him up will be very lucky.

Here’s a rundown of some of the big shows.  Make sure you check back next week as we will be blogging live from Paris Fashion Week!

Bottega Veneta
The jist: Impenetrable tailoring
Highlights: The show opened with masculine, buttoned up dresses and jackets in dense fabrics with controlled volume at the hips or little decoration. Feminine touches appeared in the form of black-on-black sequins or bejewelled brooches and necklaces that added elegance. Printed dresses and chiffon gowns with peplums lightened the tone
Must-have pieces: Bejewelled necklaces and dresses

Dolce & Gabbana
The jist: Baroque romanticism
Highlights: The Italian duo looked to religious traditions to create an ornate collection complete with gold-embroidered capes, virginal white lace dresses and angel/cherub prints. Their signature molto sexy touches were there in the sheer dresses, visible undergarments and heavily gilded corset dresses
Must-have pieces: Any of the lace dresses

Giorgio Armani
The jist: Men’s wear tailoring
Highlights: It was a man’s world with men’s suits worn with loose pleated trousers and brogues. Jackets and tops in colours such as hot pink, as well as zig zag prints added a feminine pop
Must-have pieces: Embellished orange dresses

Gucci
The jist: Dark, decadent glamour
Highlights: Everything looked decadent at Gucci but not in an over-the-top way thanks to rich fabrics such as jacquard and velvet in shades of burgundy and dark green. Sexy sheer tops had with voluminous sleeves, while printed ruffled gowns and pleated maxi skirts showed a woman’s confident side
Must-have pieces: Any of the feather coverups

Jil Sander
The jist: Technicolour 1950s couture
Highlights: Easily the best show in Milan, Raf Simons completed his couture triology with an incredible series of cocoon morning coats in a beautiful palette of pale pink, lilac and blush, which later opened to reveal sheer sheaths cupping the breasts. Modern Grace Kelly-worthy dresses followed
Must-have pieces: Any of the incredible coats

runway reviews, milan fashion week autumn/winter 2012

Tailored pieces from (left to right): Pucci, Ferragamo, Gucci and Versace

Marni
The jist: 1960s eclectic
Highlights: Marni is known for its kooky combinations and this season Consuelo Castiglioni experimented with boyish shapes and drop waists (plus white tights!) Colour blocks of coral, blue and brown added to the retro 1960s feel
Must-have pieces: Anything in red

Prada
The jist: The Print Army
Highlights: So many elements of the show were quintessential Prada – the strategically applied chunky embellishments, dizzying prints on tailored suits and quirky Mary Janes. The suits had a 1960s feel with high waists and cropped trousers, and digitally mastered prints that I couldn’t decide if I loved or hated. The new sleeveless coats looked gorgeous, though
Must-have pieces: Black embellished vest coat

Pucci
The jist: Sexy tailoring
Highlights: Peter Dundas left behind the brand’s swirling prints and experimented with tailoring to create some gorgeous tuxedo jackets. Although the silhouette seemed covered up the sex factor was ever-present through his body con dresses and use of light and dark, and sheer and opaque. He also threw in a few show-stopping gowns for good measure
Must-have pieces: Black dresses with sheer slits

Salvatore Ferragamo
The jist: Military Gypsy
Highlights: Massimiliano Giornetti contrasted hard and soft with precise military tailoring in the form of leather and velvet jackets combined with off-the-shoulder tops and printed sheer chiffon gypsy dresses belted at the waist
Must-have pieces: One of the military jackets or off-the-shoulder blouses

Versace
The jist: Fembots, Bladerunner style
Highlights: Dontella’s girls had crosses to bear – literally. This religious symbol came plastered on sexy leather dresses, printed on dresses or used as appliqués on coats. A tribute to her brother’s final couture collection, other gothic influences could be seen in the studded leather, corsets and chain mail dresses
Must-have pieces: Printed dress

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