Milan Fashion Week: Bursting with strength, pride and style


For the first time in history, a prime minister opened the Milan Fashion Week: Matteo Renzi. A symbol of fashion’s economic importance, a symbol of the strength of Italian brands and a symbol of the pride attached to the “Made in Italy” label. Except for Dolce & Gabbana, everyone was there: Giorgio Armani, Donatella Versace, Andrea della Valle, Alberta Ferretti, Angela Missoni. “Close ranks” is the name of the game in Milan: the more big names in the fashion industry pull together, the more successful it will be. After all, change is always waiting for someone to make it happen. “Catwalk today, shop tomorrow” was of course the number-one topic on everyone’s lips at Milan. Be that as it may, the clothes at this month’s shows will only be on sale in autumn/winter 2016/17.
This is Peter Dundas’s second season at Roberto Cavalli. With all his body and soul he combines things that don’t really belong together to create something new, something unique. His inspiration came from music idols like Janis Joplin and Led Zeppelin just as much as Gustav Klimt and the annals of the couture house itself. Together that results in compelling looks with long, thin scarves, tight trousers, figure-hugging dresses, art nouveau embroidery. Updated but indisputably Roberto Cavalli, here is everything for the rock chic generation. The Prada customer is not very easy to categorize. Women’s nature is very complex, obscure and has as many layers as a Russian doll, writes Miuccia Prada in the notes about the show. And the way she built up the collection was similarly multi-layered. Woollen tights, open shoes, dress, and a coat under a cummerbund under a belt, decorated with a bunch of keys so large it could rival any prison officer’s. Around the neck: a chain with a miniature book as a pendant – for the wearer to jot down her most private thoughts. And the cherry on the top: a sailor cap, as had already been sported at the menswear show. Prada women are well equipped for next season. What an Etro outfit would look like on the street is presumably the same as on this year’s catwalk: street styles mixed with ’90s grunge are clearly what went through Veronika Etro’s mind when she designed the latest collection. Flowing dresses, baggy jumpers, woollen scarves, patterned patchworks, long coats: next autumn looks deliciously comfortable and laid-back. Creating dateless fashion is an art unto itself, but Tomas Maier appears to have mastered it. For Bottega Veneta he has designed simple and apparently comfily wide-cut suits that range from wintry white to deepest black – made of cashmere, of course, and combined with scarves varying from thin and dainty to thick and bulky. Then there are delicate dresses worn with coats in variations of the same colour scheme. “We make clothes for people, not for the show,” he informed the audience via the info sheet. It’s true: even the dark purple velvet suit will prove fitting for some occasion or other. Fendi was definitely one of the highlights this fashion week. In his 51st season for the label, designer Karl Lagerfeld had Japanese mascots flown in. You don’t have to wait long before the master quotes something insightful. This time, it was Voltaire: “What needs an explanation is not worth explaining.” He doesn’t like overly intellectual collections. He simply makes. And doesn’t complain about it. For this show Piro-chan & Bug-kun flew in from Tokyo – the highly sought-after Fendi bag charms in supersize version – and immediately posed with model Kendall Jenner and Karl Lagerfeld himself.
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