Flying into Milan on a warm September afternoon feels like a new energy has started. Thinking of the fashion week to come, I can’t wait to see and hear what the world has been thinking and making. The city feels way busier than it did during the February shows; COVID-19 feels like a distant memory as crowds of people screaming, laughing, shouting.
I’m really excited to see a bathtub when I check into my hotel, and that I get a street-view balcony looking down on what everyone is doing in the Porta Venezia area. I walk around the city, getting my bearings again, noticing the colour palette that is the pastel, patterned buildings and signs, which I enjoy a lot. I probably ordered two espressos and one Americano within an undesirable timeframe and go stare at the Duomo until my jetlag sends me to bed.
The first days of the week are spent with the Max Mara team, where I was invited to travel to their HQ in Reggio Emilia. The opportunity to learn, understand and see their history and collection archives through the eyes and ears of Global Fashion Co-ordinator, Laura Lusuardi, was an invaluable experience I will remember forever. Laura is an icon to the brand and industry, and I was overwhelmed at the opportunity to question her on her ideas and thoughts today.Day one began with Fendi – big crowds, big hair, big energy – the entry point swarmed with paparazzi and influencers. I started to remember what this all felt like again. The collection was a burst of pink, blue and green silhouettes that shaped a refined but youthful show of silhouettes. The accessories – circle green bags, cute wrist circular pink bags, high wedge pastel shoes and long boots – gave a pace to the idea of where Fendi was and who it’s becoming for SS23. I loved seeing RUSSH favourites Julia Nobis, Jordan Daniels, Aylah Peterson and Mona Tougaard walk the runway.
A very Milano hello to the week, and building excitement for the rest of MFW SS23!
Walking into the Max Mara location on Day 2 was a transparent blue energy that was a buzz of celebrity and fashion’s front row. After experiencing the trip to Reggio Emilia, I was really looking forward to seeing what was being said this season. Giant wide sun hats, swimming caps and sleek cropped lengths took me on holiday. The silhouettes felt fresh and slightly sexier than previous collections, the best black pencil skirt and cropped knit turtlenecks you will find, and a pastel palette that would take you everywhere during warm days. It was beautiful, elegant and awake for spring 23.
Prada day! Lines and lines and lines of people surrounded the Fondazione Prada. Security and Prada personnel all wore black. The set walls and seating were all created out of paper, with short videos playing behind torn paper walls of empty kitchens and women in repose on couches – giving the audience a dark tone to the life of a female. Uniform cotton and collared one pieces made in black, white and grey with their matching straight tailored coats introduced a haunted and hard energy to the collection. Demure busts, pressed folds and unfinished tears in the classic knitwear styles presented the idea of a women influencing the fashion from the hardness of life and less superficial embellishment in design. Once again it feels like Miuccia and Raf are talking to each other with this collection and I want it all.
Gucci was an extravaganza, a show I will never forget titled Welcome to Twinsburg. The set was portraits of twins and lookalikes by photographer Mark Peckmezian. Before the show there was chatter of twins being included, and ideas behind the meaning was at the back of my mind when viewing the models coming down the catwalk. However as the middle of the stage went up telling us that we, on one side of the room, had been seeing one half of a twinset to the collection was pretty magical. The soundtrack was a speech track talking to ideas of identity and strength in numbers which invigorated the meaning of the clothes throughout the duration of the show. Such a special collection from the week. I loved the embroidered glitz and 2015-beaded-sandal-era resurrection of footwear.
Versace Versace Versace Versace. The sexy cold purple lighting and religious-esque set welcomed Donatella's audience into what felt like her Versace church. The hottest models walking – Bella Hadid, Gigi Hadid, Binx Walton, Selena Forrest, Adut Akech, Lucy Markovic, Precious Lee, Sofia Steinberg – with Versace celebs including Emily Ratajkowski and surprise guest Paris Hilton fueled the confident sex bomb attitude that was this collection. A Prince soundtrack (it hasn't left my head for the rest of the week) followed the steps of sky-high platform shoes and boots, leather on leather boots, mini skirts and jackets with fitted lace skirting and dresses that shapes a women to feel like she is going somewhere and she knows it... Forceful, brave hooded and fringed looks with stomping shoes plus a western energy came through this time.
At the beginning of the week I'd noticed a stage and lighting being built in Duomo Square, unaware that what was to come was the 22-months-in-the-making 70 year celebration of Moncler. I was invited and lucky enough to see the performance of a lifetime from on top of the Duomo cathedral, looking down upon 1952 performers all wearing a white Moncler Maya jacket. A solo ballet performance and the magnificence of the dancers whilst getting rained on was a moment I will not forget.
Jil Sander spring 23 brought back men's and women's being designed together. And the simplicity of introducing suiting and workwear in coloured silk, elegant skirting worn with sneakers, and fabrics of knit fringe and thick yarn made this feel sensibly chic now. Set amongst a garden of flowers with models Bella Hadid and Aylah Peterson walking on gravel ground holding umbrellas on a rainy day of Milan Fashion Week, this collection felt like practical desire.
27-year-old Maximilian Davis was the anticipated debut designer of the week and the collection was a favourite. Tailored shorts and jackets in brown suede with matching ties, sexy sophisticated lines in the singlets and trousers – a bag of the season with a shoe of the season to match. I really love new Ferragamo.