The 2018 edition of the week-long Milan Fashion Week saw the world’s top designers and brands showcasing their Fall/Winter collections on the runway. While some like Gucci went with bizarre props like baby dragons and severed heads, others transformed the runway into a race track. A trend in the fashion week seemed to be the designers’ increasing belief in elevating the show to an art form, where ready-to-wear has become ready-to-shock. You can always count on Gucci to push the envelope with its elaborate designs, but Alessandro Michele took it to the next level at the fashion house’s show. It has been described as “Dressing for the post-human world.” Baby dragons, human heads as accessories, a third eye and face masks were key looks in Gucci’s cyborg world. Some of the designs were atrocious, others were monstrous, but the show received more attention than any other.
Dolce & Gabbana began the week with a set designed as an oversized playing card, with many of the featured clothing having an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ Queen of Heart’s theme. Some were over the top, but you can expect to see the multi-colored designs appearing this summer. For a jaw-dropping entrance, the design house also used drones to bring out its newest handbags that floated above the cat walk. It was like a fantasy where fairytale met high-tech and was an absolute amusement for the eyes.
A number of designers were clearly influenced by anniversaries, both positive and negative. Donatella Versace, for the first time, worked with her brother’s archives, marking the 20th anniversary of his tragic death. She revisited prints and pieces from some of his most celebrated collections and showcased the creations with star supermodels. Angela Missoni marking a 20th anniversary, brought back one archive print from late 80s, a jacquard that depicted masks and faces. It was also the first time she had mixed men’s and women’s clothing, a trend many brands have adopted.
Giorgio Armani’s entry at Milan Fashion Week was a Renaissance-inspired event, where headwear, fitted embroidered jackets and pantaloons, worn with over-the-knee flat lace-up boots would have been right in style at the courts the Italian city-states. The biggest news in hats this season is the beret and at Giorgio Armani, the designer has taken the idea to the next level, with models wearing oversized floppy faux fur versions in grey with bright flashes of pink. The striped berets from the design house icon were a throwback to a different era – that of the 1960s. Of course being an Armani show, there was plenty of tailoring and eveningwear for the brand’s core customer.
There was news aplenty at Ferragamo. It was the first coed runway production for the designer and was meant to be a fresh day for the house, with two young designers injecting the brand with the energy and momentum it deserves. As the models came out clad in foulard dresses, extra-long canvas capes and leather jackets, it was evident that Ferragamo still thoroughly embraces its leather goods heritage. Perhaps less modern than most, it still exudes class and enduring style.
At Fendi, Karl Lagerfeld and Silvia Fendi developed a concept almost unheard of today — polished and self-assured daytime glamour. The theme of “looking the part” might be questioned by the millennial generation as “what part?” but the notion still exists, even as the standards for how to dress for certain events fades. The core of the line featured traditional fabrics and precise tailoring; fine silhouettes and natural waist dresses; skirt suits, with many flaunting collar embroideries and a butterfly lapel. The overall impression was well-received, as well it should!
A handful of designers opted for open air venues. Marco de Vincenzo went the historical, using the 15th century Castello Sforzesco. For his debut, Paul Surridge at Roberto Cavalli introduced a thoughtful collection that showed promise.
For those who continue to pronounce that pink is out, think again. Another theme throughout the week was the number of designers who featured the color – Tod’s, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Armani and Moschino were just a few of the names that brought home the message that for women’s wear – pink is here to stay!