MILAN MOMENTS Intelligent women dominated the conversation at Milan Fashion Week with diverse but equally strong collections from Prada, Marni, and Tod’s. With a farewell collection at Gucci and young stars on the rise, Italy is starting to regain fashio
The Italian fashion industry has been making the news the past year, for reasons good and bad. On the sunny side, the Victoria & Albert Museum staged ‘The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945 – 2014’, reminding the world of splendours such as Elizabeth Taylor dripping in Bulgari jewels and Mila Schön’s glimmering gowns from a bygone era of decadence. Today, such glamorous excess is alive in the couture ateliers of Armani Privé and Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda whose gowns are snapped up by Middle Eastern princesses and Hollywood royalty alike.
On the other hand, a cloud of economic uncertainty loomed. The nation’s biggest brands reported slowing growth. Important editors and buyers skipped Milan Fashion Week altogether, seeing it as a break between energetic London and creative, envelope-pushing Paris. Others attended, but complained about the lack of new names and fresh talent.
Milan had its share of bright spots, though. In fact, the best moments happened when designers cast the whole idea of Italian glamour aside to focus on Italian craftsmanship and to push the fashion conversation forward; even if sometimes forward simply means out of the past and into the present.
Take Bottega Veneta, who did both in its own restrained way. The craftsmanship has always been there but the past few seasons have seen Tomas Maier focusing on Forties references. His exquisite dresses with their nipped waists and long hems were undoubtedly sophisticated, but they also came off a little heavy.
What a delightful surprise then to see the first look out at Bottega this season – a long grandfather’s cardigan layered