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Milan Fashion Week Highlights

Some of the biggest names in Italian fashion bookended a shorter, tighter Milan Fashion Week, presenting the Spring 2020 collections. Miuccia Prada chose a new approach, eschewing fashion in favor of timeless style, while Gucci’s Alessandro Michele made a controversial statement with a series of straitjackets. But in the end, it was Donatella Versace who won the week with her Friday night slot. Revisiting one of her own most significant fashion contributions, Versace had Jennifer Lopez ignite the runway in a remake of the jungle green dress that the singer wore to the 2000 Grammys. At the time, so many people searched images of the Versace garment that Google was inspired to create Google Image Search.

Several other designers exhibited their Spring-Summer 2020 collections in venues that also showcased Milan’s stunning architecture. To celebrate her first season as creative director of M Missoni, Margherita Missoni staged her presentation on a tram traveling through the city. At each stop, new models got on, wearing a riot of classic Missoni prints.

For her first solo ready-to-wear show since creative director Karl Lagerfeld’s death in February, Silvia Fendi showcased a giant light installation at Fendi HQ, representing a new era for the brand. Alessandro Michele’s Gucci show was a fashion moment to remember too, although for reasons he probably did not predict. Interested by the notion of humanity and uniforms, Michele sent models down a conveyor belt runway wearing variations of white straitjackets, which the designer said were “the most extreme version of a uniform dictated by society and those who control it.”

The brand confirmed the straitjacket-inspired items will not be made available for sale, but were designed “to represent how through fashion, power is exercised over life.” The range also featured a number of colorful items that Gucci designed as an “antidote” to the white utilitarian garments.

Designers indulged their artistic inspirations as the relationships between art, lifestyle, craft and fashion merged again this season. At Moschino, it seemed as through the designs were in the midst of a Picasso period, with painter brushstrokes paying tribute to the art master’s work, including his famous Harlequin.

Nearly every designer had some form of the sharp jacket and many were styled in ways that are not just for the office. Max Mara’s female spy-inspired collection had many monochromatic looks with models sporting shorts in place of pants. Salvatore Ferragamo also presented blazers with shorts on the runway, but the standout look was a white leather-trimmed tuxedo topper paired with white leather pants.

Emporio Armani featured subtle pastels, especially pink, with light textures and contrasting fabrics that glistened down the runway. Termed the “Air Collection,” the designs had plenty of soft and ethereal looks, many topped with soft blazers. Bottega Veneta referenced Matisse in monkey and pineapple prints, while at Tods, designs incorporated macramé, raffia, crochet and basket weave appliqué. The latter was a persistent undercurrent throughout the week with Sportmax and Missoni also tapping the trend.