Catch up on the latest from Milan’s womenswear catwalks for autumn 17, including protests from Missoni, Prada and Versace, and a lavish family party from Dolce & Gabbana.
Bottega Veneta’s 1940s power woman
Elegant women of the 1940s seemed the inspiration for Bottega Veneta this season. Nipped waists and statement shoulders, paired with elbow length gloves, midi-hemlines and dainty feminine handbags brought to mind glamorous Hollywood heroines – clothes for a nonchalantly chic woman with things to do and people to see. Outerwear was particularly strong, as chubby fur coats were set alongside nipped-waist jackets and flowing capes to provide a coat for every occasion. The 1940s tea dresses were also a highlight, appearing in dusty pastel tones of grey-blue, muted lemon yellow and blush pink – they were elegant and flattering, and the later gowns were impossibly glamorous in shimmering metallic shades.
Dolce and Gabbana throw a lavish family party
Mothers, children, actors, singers, journalists, vloggers, celebrity offspring, stylists, influencers, chihuahuas – you name it, they walked the Dolce & Gabbana catwalk this season. In a euphoric celebration of the Dolce & Gabbana family, the autumn collection was presented entirely on people close to the designers, making for a diverse, daring and dramatic display of what the duo do best – exuberant glamour. Alongside the golden gowns and brocade, and dresses that proved to be flattering on women of every age, there were numerous pop culture references – think a “We love Justin Bieber” T-shirt and a cat-print dressing gown. It was an extravagant affair, but the show reinforced Dolce & Gabbana’s success in targeting both the classic and the hyper-modern.
Elevated nostalgia from Fendi
There were numerous notes of nostalgia in this season’s Fendi collection. Alongside elegantly feminine silhouettes of midi-skirts, greatcoats and slim pencil skirts, which harked back to the 1940s and 1950s, fabrics had a vintage feel, as cornflowerblue and white florals were paired with brown and beige patterns. Additionally, Fendi featured its intertwining double F logo, which appeared on belts and bags. Sheer dresses and vinyl leather textures added a modern sensuality to the collection, and knee-high boots in the swiftly emerging colour of the season, a blistering “sealing wax” red, gave a sense of daring to even the most demure looks.
Michele ramps up the opulence in Gucci’s golden formula
Part English aristocracy, part museum archivist, part rock star, Alessandro Michele’s aesthetic at Gucci is something impossible to precisely define, but the look that has proved so lucrative and commercial for the brand was back in full eccentric force this season. The most intricate of details and the grandest, most exaggerated features held equal impact, creating a dizzying overall effect. Chinoiserie prints, heritage fabrics, heightened colours, shimmering textures and clashing details gave an almost other-worldly feel, which came to a head as models paraded down the plexiglass, steel-girdered catwalk in full bodysuits of iridescent crystal. The fact that this was Michele’s first combined menswear and womenswear show was almost lost in the overwhelming barrage of creativity and luxury, resplendent in its brash Gucci opulence.
Risso’s 1970s Marni debut
Francesco Risso’s debut womenswear collection for Marni was a feminine take on the 1970s that featured bold, bright colours, eye-watering prints and loose-knit patchwork textures. Much of the collection played with ideas of proportion, as oversized duvet coats and huge shaggy furs appeared alongside streamlined strapless dresses in sleek shimmering brocades. Risso’s background working at Prada seemed to influence these more girlish looks – the dresses hinted at a youthful quirkiness that appears often on the Prada catwalk. These girlish dresses dominated the latter part of the collection: ruching, jewel tones and neon prints became increasingly bold as the collection continued, culminating in a series of bubblewrap sequin dresses, which may have created a talking point, but lacked the undertones of elegant wearability in the rest of the collection.
Patchwork protest from Missoni
The theme of protest that has dominated the international shows this season continued with Missoni, but this time in a more homespun, familial way. The knitted textures and warm colours of Missoni always create a sense of soft, embracing warmth, and this season that was combined with soft tailoring, joyful patterns and bright striped furs to give a sense of female empowerment and solidarity. Earthy tones seemed to hark back to the protest days of the 1960s, as modernity appeared in hints of lurex and playful clashing colours. As the show closed with jumpers bearing symbols of femininity, and models wore knitted “pussy hats” in the finale, Missoni made its political feelings clear.
Beads, ruffles and silver screen sirens make for a Prada classic
With hemlines dripping in ostrich feathers, swinging beading, bright graphic prints and 1960s styling, Prada presented a joyously girlish, classically Prada collection this season. There was a sense of frivolity and fun to the feather hems and floral prints, while fuzzy texture knits lent softness to skirts and bombshell dresses. Silver screen sirens from the 1950s appeared as prints on skirts and dresses, and thigh-high cowboy boots and tassled leather jackets hinted at an Americana glamour that has also appeared in London and New York. The clash of heritage, feminine and high glamour was a typically intricate Prada patchwork, and while Miuccia Prada claimed her collections were never overtly political, she was another designer harking back to the protest era of the 1960s, and bringing a boldly feminine aesthetic to centre stage.
Versace’s glamazon empowerment
No one does bold female glamour quite like Versace. This season, the typical glamazon vibe was shot through with messages of power both overt and subtle. Slogans screaming “LOVE”, “EQUALITY”, “LOYALTY” and “COURAGE” were emblazoned across items in bold block type, while shapes were crisp and clean cut. Oversized tailoring and sleek dresses gave a confidence and assuredness to the collection, while street-inspired shapes such as puffa jackets and hoodies gave a youthfulness and sense of brash confidence. Colours were bold – think tangerine and teal contrasted against black and white – and the colours were reflected in the models’ hair, giving a punky, rebellious feel.
Jil Sander’s muted minimalism
It was a pared back, muted collection from Jil Sander this season. Shapes were oversized in volume, but with clean lines and minimal shaping, longline coats with rounded shoulders, sleeves that draped well over the hands and padded jackets in duvet proportions. Colours were muted – rust, olive and neutral tones dominated before pops of yellow and orange added depth and interest to the palette. While crisp and clean, the designs felt a little too muted compared with some of the other designs of the season, and while a velvety teddy fur coat and quilted midi-skirt stood out as highlights, the collection was nice but not knockout.
Reduce, reuse, Moschino
Jeremy Scott’s autumn 17 collection took the form of a meditation on wastefulness, in a typically eccentric series of acts that ranged from packaging chic to chandelier glamour. Opening the show were looks inspired by the societal glut of cardboard packaging: camel coats were printed with postage stamps and logos, and appeared to be made from crumpled paper packaging, complete with “fragile” stickers. Despite the eccentric concept, the coats were unquestionably chic, their sleek shapes accented with “sellotape”-effect detailing. From there, the collection moved through a patchwork of magazine editorials, repurposed into dresses and gowns, and into what can only be described as bin-bag chic, with dresses made from bin liners, refuse and old Moschino bags. Closing the show was a series of dramatic theatrical gowns made from curtains and a mini-dress composed of glittering watches.
Salvatore Ferragamo’s sleek lengths and minimal femininity
Fulvio Rigoni focused on an elongated silhouette this season, as calf-length hemlines dominated in dresses, skirts and coats, highlighted by extreme-length gloves reaching well above the elbow. Colours were soft and muted to begin with – dove grey and turquoise – and evolved into darker, bold shades of olive and black, accented with plums and bright oranges. Subtle animal prints and leather added interest to simple designs, which focused on a swift, sleek femininity.