Milan Fashion Week 2017
Milan Fashion Week began with Alessandro Michele’s century-hoping trip at Gucci last Wednesday and came to a festive close yesterday with Dolce & Gabbana’s toast to the Italian tropics, complete with Pomodoro, pesce, and pizza prints and local color in the form of break-dancers. Both shows were studies in glorious excess.
In the not-so-distant past, groupthink dominated this city, but Milan is changing; it’s no longer so one-note. There were excellent shows that landed all over the map, and it’s no longer only about the mega-brands. While Milan has a long way to go to live up to the promise of London’s productive young designer scene, newer names like Philosophy’s Lorenzo Serafini and Fausto Puglisi are drawing excited, engaged crowds, and both designers did their best work this week. If Milan sounds like a man’s game, that’s not quite right as the top eight collections of the week include four by women.
Donatella Versace came out blazing with a woman-power manifesto by her frequent collaborator DJ Violet on the soundtrack and athletic, take-charge clothes on the catwalk, modeled by one of the most gorgeous, diverse cats of the week. This is a house famous for its sexy eveningwear, but turning her attention to day clothes seems to have energized Versace. There were jumpsuits, tracksuits, leggings, and windbreakers as slinkily fab as her crystallized party dresses.
- Bottega Veneta
Tomas Maier took the prize for the week’s most touching moment when he brought his studio team out at the end of a double-anniversary show. Maier is celebrating his 15th year at the house, which in turn, has just turned 50. The week’s second most memorable moment was when the actress Lauren Hutton, splendid at 72, came out carrying a reproduction of the BV clutch she sported in 1980’s American Gigolo.
Hip Bags as panniers. Canvas skirts suspended form rope. In someone else’s hands it could have come off heavy and unwieldy, but Consuelo Castiglioni has a wonderful idiosyncratic outlook. This season’s most seductive number was a burn out velvet dot-patterned dress draped and gathered with elegant nonchalance.
Alessandro Michele is the most influential man in fashion. It’s an enviable but no doubt anxiety-making position to be in. the shy Gucci frontman is taking it in his stride, digging deeper into the cabinet of curiosities that is his imagination.
Veronica Etro’s collections are one of the quiet, consistent pleasures of Milan. She is a designer with a firm handle on her brand, but also a light touch. This season’s fabulously luxe printed silk caftans. At a moment when stores are full of such things, Etro’s are the least costumey, most desirable one around.
Miuccia Prada looked back to more forward for Spring. Her new collection was a reassertion of house codes: ‘90s minimalism, retro prints, weird yet wonderful briefs, and a flair for the eccentric detail, this time miles of fluffiest marabou. An inscrutable film starring the likes of Freida Pinto and Allison Williams by the Oscar-nominated director David O. Russell played in the background. The real star of the show were Prada’s evening pajamas in luminescent light yellow silk.
Coming off a sensational haute couture show at Rome’s Trevi Fountain, Karl Lagerfeld and Silvia Venturini Fendi were in fine fettle. This pretty ready-to-wear collection retained some of its predecessor’s fairy-tale feel: the wispy materials, delicate flower prints, and boudoir layers. But it was equally grounded in reality with cool techno knits and comfy-looking sock boots.
- Dolce & Gabbana
Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana are at once dedicated to preserving Italy’s past and ushering in the future. In front of a millennial-lined front row, the duo paraded an ode to the south’s seaside cuisine and culture. It was the most jubilant moment of the season so far, loaded with the designers’ signature wiggle dresses- the best in blue with a flower print and crystal buttons- and real live wiggling courtesy of break-dancing teenagers.