Milan Fashion Week AW16 highlights

Oh, what a Fashion Month we’re having. Full of drama, twists and turns, that is for sure. First, New York and London powerhouses declare the arrival of immediate fashion – straight to stores from the runway. Then, Milan and Paris dug their heels in and refute the idea completely, saying it would be the death of high end, well executed design.
Milan Fashion Week has just wrapped up, and – possibly to silence any fashion modernisers criticising it for being stuck in the past and thus without the right to make big statements – it proved exactly what kind of ideas we’ll be missing without the 6 month delay between catwalk shows and store arrivals. Yes, even though the Italian fashion capital is often dismissed for being only concerned with sexy and opulent (in plain speak: chintzy and vulgar) clothes, this season we were proven wrong. Not that sex was missing from the runways entirely – that would be a lie. But what we got treated to was a masterclass in high end thinking and craft. It’s been a long time since MFW shows felt so current and exciting, just like they have in Gianni Versace’s heyday.
Here’s our top 5 shows of Milan Fashion Week:

Setting Moschino on fire, literally
Is Jeremy Scott’s Moschino growing up? Not quite, but it’s getting more complex. Instead of an instantly recognisable pop-cultural reference (be it Barbie dolls, Maccy D’s or carwash babes) we got him reflecting on the Italian Renaissance. Or more precisely, the 15th century fanatic Florentine monks who wanted to burn all the art, books and objects of beauty in aptly called ‘bonfires of vanity’. Hence the setup – abandoned church-like hall, with a destroyed grand piano and stacks of burnt books, with distressed rugs carelessly thrown around.
The clothes were more in keeping with Moschino’s youthful spirit – this time, Jeremy decided to revisit the decade that made Moschino what it is. Namely the 80’s. Taffeta gathered dresses and tops in shocking pink and electric blue could’ve been lifted straight out of a Cyndi Lauper video. He then paired them with some early 90’s biker chick paraphernalia. Renaissance mixed with disco and leather? It all became clear when the models started appearing in burnt dresses, (one was actually still on fire). Jeremy Scott’s message is that of defiance – even though he might have been one of the first to propose buy-it-from-the-catwalk pieces, he’s also not willing to let anyone crash the inherent beauty of fashion. Or did we just read too much into some smoke and mirrors? One thing was sure, this collection was much edgier (and angrier) than a Barbie on roller skates.


Fun, luxurious knitwear is more than enough to make a statement
Hardly an exciting ticket these days, Missoni is one of those brands that built a name decades ago and struggle to keep it relevant. Usually because they’ve strayed too far from their roots – in this case, the fabulously innovative and fun knitwear. After years of trying to be too clever, they must’ve finally noticed brands like Sibling and Leutton Postle build followings on their tongue-in-cheek knits. So the Missoni family decided enough is enough, it is time to reclaim the woolly throne – and reclaim they did.
70’s-via-90’s silhouette – oversize, baggy cardis, trousers you have to watch not to step on and trip, and long skinny scarves – were jazzed up with colourful prints the brand is so known for, busy stripes and zig zags. Nothing revolutionary, true, but going back to the roots and focusing on your strengths may be something new indeed for many brands. And the luxe hippy look Missoni were favoured for in the 70’s is back in vogue now, so it would be silly letting other brands make money of the aesthetic they de facto created.


Throwing 80’s into the mix
The hype shows no signs of dying down, and for a good few reasons. Alessandro Michele seems to have found the answer to fashion’s eternal struggle – how to stay relevant and exciting and propose something new every season, and how to stay recognisable and create a brand recognition. Go too far either way and you’re in trouble. Well, Gucci’s solution is to create a faux-retro romantic magpie look taking cue from Tumblr-like philosophy. The overall appearance stays the same whatever new exciting things you put in the mix to satisfy the OTT attention of the social media generation.
So, this time around, new were the leg-of-mutton sleeves, faded neon tights and general 80’s cheap, tongue-in-cheek party accessorizing (diamanté sunglasses, little hats with veils), and leather jackets with spray painted. But there was a lot of what we’ve already seen before: geeky girls in romantic dresses and librarian’s glasses, mix of 70’s prints and textures, trompe-l’oeil motifs, platform shoes, glam suits and abundance of fur. Just listing all those things makes our heads spin, so props to the designer for making it all fit together in order to create the Gucci look.


Fun furs, indeed
Karl Lagerfeld is probably the last person to look to the past – especially when it comes to designing for Fendi where he’s obsessed with modernity and the here and now. But since everyone else is casting their eye to the past it seems, Karl decided to take all those retro trends of the moments – 70’s ruffles, thigh high boots, floaty dresses, 80’s colours – and make them over in his own way, usually by making it all more graphic and less wistful.
Cue a super-fresh, fun and highly desirable collection – our faves were the different shoes, each as bonkers as the pair preceding them. From stompy, hoof-with-frills concoctions to sock-on-a-sock-on-a-sock boots and Japanese-style platforms, they were the highlight here – but there was much more to salivate over. Like the furs (that were indebted just a little bit to the Alessandro Michele ones) or stripe-patterned the sunglasses. We could try to pick it all apart, but, as Kaiser Karl himself said: ”We don’t overintellectualise, we just do!”. A quote to live by, if there ever was one.


Strong clothes for strong women
If all the slightly romantic, slightly hippy and very girly fashion is not up your street, say a little prayer to Donatella Versace, patron saint of all things va-va-voom. No faux naivety or innocence here: we know that the Versace woman…likes to shag, basically. But she’s not vulgar – just wants to make sure she’s seen and appreciated in any room she walks into. She’s a force of nature. Just like the supermodels who made Gianni’s name back in the day. Donatella seems to think the supermodel era is back – and she managed to bring together most of the biggest names of the day on her runway.
From insta-famous girls (Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Karlie Kloss) to heavyweights like Malgosia Bela, Jourdan Dunn or Adriana Lima, the line up was varied just like the looks. From the obvious (nevertheless amazing) neon slinky dresses, to more sporty propositions, the idea was strong clothes for strong women, and it came across like that.



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1 Comment
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