Ciao! We've arrived at the third leg of the month-long fashion cycle, and energetically have touched down in Milano. While we're not there physically to sip espresso and ride the tram to shows, we're still keeping a keen eye on all that is taking place in the Italian fashion capital. Over the week, the city will host over 50 shows, where the usual, highly anticipated names like Prada, Gucci, Fendi, and Diesel will present their Fall 23 collections. Below, are our favourites from the week.
It feels as though Kim Jones is refining his approach to the Brand, which is the first, and most exciting thing to notice. All of the lace and the sequins offered in Spring 23 Haute Couture were given a masculine treatment. Jones leant into his expert affinity for menswear fabrications and silhouettes and spliced them with the feminine Fendi shapes he's been riffing on for past seasons. This came through in double collared coats, neat-as-a-pin waistcoats with open shoulder sleeves and backs, trousers cut on the bias with school girl-like pleated skirts layered over top, and mackintosh jackets that revealed glimmering sequin lining as models moved through the space.
The slips that were presented for couture were reworked and applied onto poplin shirting and paired with tall, thigh high boots. Knitwear was deconstructed and offered an air of sensuality, pushed off the shoulder or unbuttoned down to the hip, some so translucent that lingerie peeked through, all inspired by Delfina. "There’s a chicness but a perversity to the way she twists Fendi, which is what I love.” Jones says in his show notes.
In classic Glenn Martens fashion, Diesel is playing with ideas around sex positivity and safe play. One only had to glance at the mountain of Diesel X Durex branded condoms in the middle of the show set to get this hint. They teased a capsule which is on the way, as did a Durex branded t-shirt that made its way onto the runway. In equal droves was a surplus of denim, naturally. This season, most excitingly, it was offered in the form of skirts, dresses, and slouchy jeans that appeared so worn down that mesh stood in the place of holes. Building upon that, were utterly distressed denim puffer coats and pinstripe suits with an acid-was application.
The enduring hype around the Brand prevailed, thanks to appearances from the likes of Gabriette in the show, and Julia Fox and Alexis Stone cosplaying as Jennifer Coolidge (??), but even amid all of the viral internet noise, you can tell that Martens' singular strategy is to cement his legacy in the Diesel history books.
If one was in search for high Italian glamour, one wouldn't have to look much further than Roberto Cavalli Fall 23 to satiate such desires. For Fausto Puglisi, this was perhaps the most Cavalli he's ever done for the brand, and it went down a treat. There was patchwork leather, giant, extravagant faux fur coats that looked eerily close to the real deal, and an emphasis on playing with black lace in a very 90s way. There was also a feeling of southwest America in there – a little bit of Coyote Ugly energy in turquoise embellishments, denim, and low rise trousers and mini skirts. Overall, it worked. Either for a fun red carpet moment that feels off-beat, or for everyday separates when the looks are broken down.
The concept behind Prada's Fall Winter 23 showcase designed by Miuccia Prada and Rad Simons was titled "Taking Care." Both the clothes and the beauty embraced this concept wholeheartedly. The models were sent down the runway wearing delicately placed pastel false lashes, reminiscent of the Spring Summer 23 show which featured downturned lashes covering haunted doll eyes. The clothes were carefully designed, taking notes from traditional tailoring, using the idea of uniform as representation. There were also elegant evening wear aesthetics woven through the show. In the name of protection and safekeeping, the collection featured cozy, cocooning volumes in the outwear, leather and suede with flowers.
For the creation of this collection, Max Mara travels back in time to the eighteenth century. Looking back to the enlightenment period, the time when the tone was set for rational thinking. This is what Ian Griffiths had in mind for the Fall Winter 23 presentation. We see rich brocade fabrics, bustier and chamise. They're paired with chunky boots, minimalist turtlenecks and over-the-knee and ankle skirts. Luxurious coats and military greatcoats make appearances. It's exactly what we want to wrap ourselves up in this winter.
Situated amongst the blackened husks of trees is where Daniel Delcore staged his Autumn Winter 23 show, bringing to the spotlight his concern with the earth, in an exhibition room at the Triennale museum. The garments ranged from floating white dresses to grungier silhouettes. The use of adjustable hook fastenings allowed for varied gown lengths. We also saw puffer jackets and hip-high leather boots. Oversized ombre coats with charcoal dipped bottoms contrasted with bulb-waisted floral cocktail dresses with flowing tulle.
MM6 Maison Margiela
MM6 Maison Margiela debuted its latest co-ed offering which presented standard layering practices with a subverted viewpoint. We saw the combination of textures and layers that disrupted the expectations. The show began with a slightly slouching suit with glossy leather sleeves and falling lapels. The 1960s were embraced with faded florals splashed across skin-tight tops. We saw hints of boxers through layered jeans, knee high boots and flowing denim trailing behind.
There's been a change in the tides for Blumarine's Nicola Brognano whose last collection was for fit for mermaids. This collection is definitely more suited to dry land. Literally. The models walked around flaming "B" situated in the centre of the runway in browns and greys. We see ruffled blouses and furry vests and fringed gowns pacing down the dirt runway. Traces of Y2K can be spotted amongst Brognano's pieces (the cargo shorts, and skirts over pants) however it is a less literal attempt than we've seen as of late.
For Sportmax, this collection was all stripped back, bringing it back to basics. Brutalist simplicity takes over and we are transported back to our roots. The collection was inspired by the work of "artists/photographers such as Peter Hujar, Robert Mappelthorpe and Nan Goldin, similarly devoted to bringing to light the beauty often hidden in the shadows, resulting in a powerful crossroad between high art and marginal life". With the ever-timeless 90s dresses and skirt silhouettes, sheer yet brazen layering and a palette of beige, camels browns and gingers, the show unfolded to ‘Stelle Disorientate’ by Teho Teardo taking us back to the bare essentials.
The latest from Jil Sander has shifted gears, turning toward an edgier aesthetic that veers from the brand's previous aesthetic, merging a sense of unpredictability into a brand with such a precise aesthetic. The co-ed collection is described by the Meire's as a nostalgic call back to the formative period of the late 90s and one that was a formative period in their journey. “I was in New York and Lucie was still in Europe. It felt like a really interesting time because you had a real beginning of sharing of things: a lot of information sharing, a lot of cultural mixture and, probably, most predominantly in music,” said Luke Meier backstage to WWD.
In the midst of a circular, spaceship-like atmosphere, Anok Yai emerged wearing a navy cashmere cocoon coat. This was but a taster of the simple yet elegantly chic looks to come. The 27-year-old creative director, Maximilian Davis drilled into minimalism. What came next was a perfected collection of sharpened classics. It was all about navy, charcoals, brushed suede and cashmere. The collection displays something contra to what more seasoned designers are bringing to runaways in terms of over-indulgent colours, logos and Y2K. Instead, we get well-made, quality pieces that bring out sophistication in their simplicity.
To close out fashion week on Sunday, Giorgio Armani completed the show with swirls and satin. In a timeless chic fashion, the house presented spasms of colour, languid shapes and colours ranging from the demure pastel to bolder, green, melon and copper tones. Art Deco moments shone through with silky big wraps, fringed flapper caps and pink, abstract flowers on a velvet dress.
In one of the most entertaining concepts Sunnei has developed so far, Loris Messina and Simone Rizzo sent down the runway (installed in their Palazzina headquarters), celebrated members of their own team. In bold Sunnei looks featuring velvet and fringe, they walked down the catwalk, turned their backs to the audience and joyousously trust fell into the crowd. In the spirit of 90s rave culture, crowd participation and authenticity, this show may be one of the most memorable of the season.