Between first trials and safe investments, Milan produced an optimistic harvest, full of good surprises. Adepts at minimalism, defenders of eccentricity and Italian romantics competed on an extremely dynamic stage.
This season marked Peter Dundas’ first steps as artistic director at Roberto Cavalli. Dundas knows the fashion house well because he worked there for a long time, alongside its founder. Coming back, he seems to need to reinterpret the codes of the Florentine label in his own way: denim, fading, exaggerated flounces, asymmetric evening gowns, and studded suede tops, devise a more wearable wardrobe than in the past. Massimo Giorgetti also crossed his fingers for his first collection at Emilio Pucci. After plunging into the fashion house’s archives for weeks, Giorgetti chose not to emerge with seventies prints. This season, he’s obsessed with the universe of sailing: dresses and pants fashioned like fishing nets, shell and crab motifs, and mermaid tops compose this unexpected new wardrobe. Meanwhile, Arthur Arbesser tried out at Iceberg, with knitted dresses, stripes, and colorful suits. A transformative test for Alessandro Michele at Gucci, who, in his second collection for the label, brought together salon women, Victorian heroines, and modern bourgeoisie. Inspired by the map of Tender, an imaginary country created by Madeleine de Scudéry and others in the seventeenth century, Alessandro Michele imagines a wardrobe for a BCBG librarian, hidden beneath extra-dimensional ruffles and oversize glasses. Fortified by its long history, which inspires the youngest designers in transition, Milan could never dissapoint. More eclectic than ever, the Prada woman is dressed in a realistic yet retro silhouette, all in charming layers. Stripes, transparencies, straight skirts, and fishnet decorated jackets characterize this dream wardrobe. A few minutes before launching his autobiography, Giorgio Armani, 81 years old, once more regaled his clients with luminous clothing for night and day. The bustier dresses, satin and silk shorts and graphic jackets offer an embarrassment of choices. Etro is continuously gypsy; with vaporous dresses, flowered and somewhat transparent, occasionally embroidered or belted with a ribbon. The dance theme is not obvious at first glance, yet very present; as demonstrated by the laced ballet slippers, leotards, and wrap-over tops that almost passed unnoticed. Tomas Maier at Bottega Veneta worked on “big open spaces, nature with a capital ‘N’, trekking, tents, water, but also the form, structure, and movement of sails.” A whole program translated by outfits printed with warm colors, dresses inspired by the forms of sails, here-and-there embroidered with ropes, snaking girdles, lace, and even leopard. On the Fendi catwalk, we come back to more baroque fashion, founded in spherical forms and high-collars, nodding to feminine costumes of old. Between Italian renaissance and sixties frenzy, this new collection by Silvia Venturini and Karl Lagerfeld is symptomatic of a trend for confidently mixing heterogeneous styles… with reinvigorating coquetry. In Olympic form, Donatella Versace, helped by a magisterial casting, delivered perfectly mastered silhouettes, ready to confront the urban jungle. Saharans, mini dresses, camouflaged suits with sexy slits and asymmetries abound. Angela Missoni made a tribal proposition this year, for her family’s zigzagged label. Long and micro shorts compete for better and for worse. Still minimalistic at Jill Sander. Fresh cuts, surprising details, and coiled pieces add the right amount of preciosity without taking from the powerful nonchalance, and inherent sexiness, of the wardrobe. Frills and stripes are the order of the day for Salvatore Ferragamo. Massimiliano Giornetti takes refuge in the two fads that function very well these days. In the same line, Max Mara takes a shine to stripes and stars: the fashion house affixes them confidently to classic feminine pieces (sometimes in oversize version). Proving that, sometimes, simplicity is a good thing. At Marni, Consuelo Castiglioni elevates the apron to the principle piece of her summer collection. Short, middle-length, or maxi, it’s worn layered over turtle-necked tank-tops, ultra flared pants, or embroidered skirts. The Alberti Ferretti collection takes inspiration from the desert, wherefore the terracotta colored wardrobe, composed among other things of dreamily flowing dresses. Loyal to himself, Philipp Plein put on a festive show. Between robots in action, Courtney Love gave rhythm to the models’ walk with a live performance, a veritable rock concert that paired well with the limitpunk collection. At Moschino, the attraction was a veritable construction site that served as a backdrop to this new collection designed by Jeremy Scott. Composed of direct references to traffic signage, or playful turnovers (traffic cones worn on models’ heads, no-entry signs worn as headbands, barrier tape worn as belts, fluorescent banded dresses…), revealing the collection to be ideal for studying the highway code or simply glowing at night. Incorrigible party girl, the Giamba woman is satisfied with her pop wardrobe: lace dresses or tights embroidered with mouth, star, or lipstick motifs; colorful outfits printed with doll motifs (Giamba doll)… there is more than enough to dance with all summer. At Dsquared2, Dean and Dan Caten plunged back into the eighties with a line full of humor, where neon and furs rule. But in Milan like elsewhere, no one applauds at the end of shows anymore. The fault, doubtlessly, of everyone’s obsessive need to photograph the finale with their smartphones. Now, people express their pleasure in another way: posting photos of the show onto instagram for example, or taking backstage selfies with the designer. At Dolce & Gabbana, they decided to play with that: the models (dressed as usual in very Italian dresses) walked down the runway with their cellphones blatantly in hand, taking selfies with the public. But as rumor has it, funnily enough, there was no Wi-Fi in the room… As evening falls, Milan is strangely well-behaved: Gucci discretely celebrated Alessandro Michele’s second collection for the label. Debbie Harry provided the beat for the amfAR benefit gala. Ralph Lauren unveiled his Palazzo, a new private club. Givenchy copy-pasted their New York after party (Nicki Minaj included). While Moschino and Missoni each received their loyal friends for dinner in an unpretentious restaurant. The most fashionable spot, finally, were the superb halls of the Prada Foundation. But you had to wake up early to take full advantage of the view.