In the words of fashion icon Iris Apfel: “More is more. Less is a bore”. We can’t think of a more fitting phrase to describe Milan Fashion Week. Despite worries after Gucci leaving Milan Fashion Week for Paris, the showcase was another celebration of flamboyant Italian excess. And like all great fashion weeks, the politics of the runway took the spotlight — legacy labels wowed with their diverse casting and new takes on femininity. Read about all the highlights below.
1. Dolce & Gabbana
Closing Milan Fashion Week on a high was Dolce & Gabbana. The House’s legacy took centerstage. The word DNA, along with a thumbprint, was emblazoned on a backdrop at the start of the runway — a sure sign that the show would celebrate the brand’s identity and Sicily roots. There was brocade, intricately embroidered jacquard tailored suits, and iconic Sicilian-style black dress. brocade and a rich mix of floral prints, the House’s signature. But what really stole the spotlight was the cast. A diverse mix of women walked the runway, spanning varied body shapes, ages and ethnicities. Among the star-studded cast was plus-sized model Ashley Graham, legendary and longtime model Monica Belluci, as well as families and couples, some even with babies in tow.
Versace has always been synonymous with flashy excess, and this season was no exception. “Today will be maximalist,” Donatella Versace promised backstage. And it certainly was — around a quadrangle, models walked in clashing tartan prints, head-to-toe highlighter colours, contrasting florals cut into strips and patches, 90s-style leather minis and jewel-encrusted sheer dresses. Keeping up with today’s social media landscape, the cast included influencers-slash-models Kendall Jenner, the Hadid sisters and current It-girl Kaia Gerber.
3. Giorgio Armani
“Reminiscent of a pool hit by light” is how Giorgio Armani describes its Spring/Summer collection. Pieces floated down the runway as if in a halo; fabrics seemed light-as-air in delicate pink and blue hues, soft metallics and pastels. Complemented with slender silhouettes, they shimmered under the spotlight like seashells. But behind their fluid appearance is a precise use of technical materials— laminated fabrics added depth to abstract prints. The Giorgio Armani look was a clean contrast: The makeup was kept light and pure with rosy pinks, with hair in a wild mess of curls.
At Prada, “incongruous materials harmonised”. The new Prada woman upends all conventions of femininity. She is both girlish and edgy. Feminine satin coats were downplayed with leather handbags and contemporary knit sandals. Cotton poplin dress with a light chiffon skirt were studded with punk-style studs. Sheer polka dot dresses were toughened up with knit shoes and nylon socks. Lithe models sported closely-cropped bangs, bleached eyebrows and eyes framed by feathery trompe l’oeil lashes.
The ‘F’ in Fendi stood for functionality this season. Oversized pockets was Fendi’s centrepiece. They opened the show in the form of hanging leather ones on a clear plastic waistcoat, overwhelmed high-neck blouses and puffed up the hips of blousons. Continuing the utility theme, tool belts cinched the waist of leather jackets and shirts, and in place of fanny packs, were phone pouches tightly strapped across the torso. While beige and brown dominated the looks, the range showed variety with boho dresses, suits, and soft leather blazers paired with pleated skirts. The sports-luxe trend took on a more upscale aesthetic; bicycle shorts were paired with crisp shirts and zipped up jackets, belted at the waist and worn with heels.
Things took a playful turn at Moschino with sketches inspiring the collection. Squiggles, scribbles and seemingly random painterly strokes gave the otherwise formal range a kitschy edge. Models walked in 1980s Pretty Woman-esque power dressing; called “uptown girl” by creative director Jeremy Scott on his Instagram page, flattened boater hats were perched atop models’ heads. Pouffy shoulders, wrap dresses, sleeveless shifts with elbow length gloves, oversized shoulders and skirt suits with oversized bows were worn with nude stockings with black scribbles. As the collection progressed, the suits turned into elaborate evening gowns. But in true Jeremy Scott style, these had the quirk factor — one featured a giant scissors, and another disrupted the range when a model in a skinsuit draped a colossal measuring tape around her neck like a shawl.