There was a time when the Italians ruled fashion, but in recent years I have found Milan Fashion Week to be rather flat. Instead being groundbreaking like the French, Italian brands are more about building on their DNA (bar a few brands who do both like Prada). Saying one thing the Italians excel in is craftsmanship. Here are my top picks of the Milan shows.
Tomas Maier may not be well known but he is one of those designers who really understand luxury (he designs for Bottega Veneta after all!). This season he took one of fashion’s most simple fabrics – wool – and transformed it into beautifully sculpted silhouettes including a series of dress coats with precise folds while tops came with square sleeves. The palette was mainly black with splashes of red and brown. Origami has never looked so luxe.
Dolce & Gabanna
You can always count on Dolce & Gabbana to make a spectacle and this season they were inspired by mosaics from the Catholic Churches which were printed on series of dresses. They seemed almost virginal in comparison to the embellished red lace dresses that closed the show. What I really love though were the more lady like looks including the retro inspired tweed dresses, swinging coats and herringbone printed cardigans (matched with bloomers natch – we’re talking about the Kings of Sexy here!)
Sexy undertones at Emilio Pucci (left) and Gucci (right)
Peter Dundas is onboard the maximalist train this season (much like Tom Ford). So cue a series of 1970s rock godess looks consisting of beaded tops, printed skirts (covered in archive prints) and thigh high boots. The leather or animal print micro shorts are not for the faint hearted. There were also some fabulous cover-ups from cloaks and peacoats to fluffy jackets
Like other designers in Milan, Frida Gianni revisited the 1940s silhouette but in true Gucci style it was sexy underneath the surface. Shiny python skirt suits, leather turtlenecks and body hugging long sleeved dresses all added to the erotic vibe, although there was something demure about outings like the tailored off the shoulder dresses or light blue velvet skirt suit.
Striking colours ruled at Prada (left) and Jil Sander (right)
Miuccia’s theme this season was raw elegance, so out came models with drenched hair in various states of undress – zips on tweed jackets were undone to reveal the midriff, tops fell across the shoulders and buttons came undone on dresses. There was a lot of familiar Prada territory – retro-inspired belted skirt dresses and dress coats, and the dark beading and embellishments. Everything still looked fresh once again proving her talent.
Jil Sander may be the queen of minimalism but she has plenty of competition now thanks to the likes of Phoebe Philo et al. For her second collection she seemed to have more to say. Her minimalist and restrained silhouettes were still there but made more feminine with rounded curves and understated details like asymmetrical pleating on a leather dress. One of my favourite pieces was the black sweater with a band of gold foil across the front. I loved the Tibetan colour palette of blue, egg yellow, saffron and grey.