Milan and modernity don’t easily go hand-in-hand. The Italian fashion capital is still the most traditional of the four, in regards to everything from the size of the coffee (tiny, sorry visiting American fashion editors) to the way its fashion system runs (it’s not an easy place for an emerging designer, hence the few new kids on the block here). But as much as Milan is heavily dominated by its heritage houses, it manages to stay fresh and exciting sheerly for its design savvy and decadence. Here are the top five collections from Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer ‘19:
Nylon. Again. This time, the signature Prada fabric that we’ve seen crop up in both the men’s and women’s collections in the past few seasons took on a new shape. Less sporty, more perverse. Slightly retro, but not quite. But it’s always ‘not quite’ with Miuccia Prada.
Duchesse satin also turned up in her Spring/Summer 2019 collection in the shape of baby doll tops, dresses and knee-length cycling shorts. She also treated 60s style coats with the fabric, adorned with thin satin bows on the collars and hems. Each model wore a headband, puffed up and made of the satin. It was all so girlish and sweet - but not quite. The sweetness of each look was tempered with sexy black sheer knee-high stockings. Seductive yet sweet.
It seems as if Miuccia has been on autopilot the past few seasons, sending out many familiar ‘Prada-isms’ in an attempt to reassert the brand to a newer, younger fashion crowd and customer. Is this enough to win them over? Time will certainly tell. Sending out cold, soulless fashion and accessories probably won’t help much. It’s too transparent and the younger fashion crowd has proven to be very cynical. But, what will help is Miuccia’s sincerity, curiosity and integrity. If she believes, so will we. We’re still listening. We’re still paying attention, Prada.
Karl Lagerfeld’s collections for Fendi have been proven to be quite popular lately. Perhaps the rebirth of logomania on Instagram is to blame for that. It certainly didn’t hurt Fendi’s sales figures. Fendi was quick to embrace and even indulge this newfound fandom that we can all trace back to the Kardashian/Jenner clan.
Cleverly placed logos aside, it’s consistency that’s key, here. Lagerfeld has brilliantly done what so many other designers struggle to do: maintain a sense of luxury and fashion balanced perfectly with streetwise cool. And a well-balanced collection this was. The leather suiting and dresses stole the show. Some pieces will be better suited for celebrities and Instagram, but there was a lot here for women to covet and buy.
3. SALVATORE FERRAGAMO
Clean, minimal, and luxurious clothes were on the agenda for Paul Andrew’s second collection for Salvatore Ferragamo.
This collection was a lovely balance of strong, wearable pieces and styling that elevated it all and made it feel like Fashion. It began neutral enough with a leather handkerchief hem skirt and stern utilitarian separates. Then came the beautiful pops of color, in shades of rust, turquoise, violet, pink and emerald. And then for many looks, it was the divine contrast - the blending of the bold and the staid that created that sought-after complexity that we long for in fashion. And people. To fully appreciate this collection, one should probably watch these clothes in motion. The still pictures don’t do it justice.
In the wake of Hedi Slimane’s debut collection for Celine, perhaps former customers and Phoebe Philo fans can flock to Ferragamo to fill the void.
The mixing of art, sex appeal, and intellect is no easy feat, even for a designer with Francesco Risso’s pedigree. He achieved it perfectly with his spring outing for Marni.
This time around, Risso’s clothes had a certain energy to them that was missing in his previous collections. There was a spontaneity in the way he draped a dress or skirt, paired with a ladylike coat. The playful prints added the perfect touch of whimsy. This felt fearless, bold and concise. It’s designers like him and clothes like these that move fashion forward and beyond. Risso has effortlessly expressed his own vision for the house of Marni while still staying true to the more cerebral codes of the brand and respecting the original customer - the so-called “thinking woman”. In a time when so many big heritage brands are making major changes to their image, other designers should take note.
Sixty-five years in the fashion industry as an independent company, untouched by the perverse marriage between the big luxury conglomerates and fashion houses, is truly remarkable. That, and this collection (one of Angela’s best in years) is something to celebrate.
Spring/summer can prove to be a tricky season for a brand whose specialty is knitwear, like Missoni. Angela Missoni’s solution? Clothes of comfort. Louche robes, tunics and long tank tops were layered over knitted pants and long skirts, all in shimmery, sun bleached pastels or deep shades of faded indigo. It was all very…light. And this lightness ties into the mindset of what seems to be the Missoni woman. Whereas Marni is the thinking-woman’s brand, her Missoni counterpart doesn’t seem to think too much. Whether you’ve had this charmed dolce-vita life since birth, or not, the undemanding nature of these clothes can certainly inspire an unencumbered state of mind, even if just for summer.