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Tweet and sour reaction misses the point of Milan

Ian Wright

It didn’t take long. No sooner had the curtain closed on Enrico Coveri’s show last Tuesday than the Twitter caterwauling began…

It didn’t take long. No sooner had the curtain closed on Enrico Coveri’s show last Tuesday than the Twitter caterwauling began – the moaners bemoaning the “most unexciting Milan Fashion Week” in a while. I beg to disagree. But first, a concession. In contrast to Milan’s autumn 12 season, spring 13 was less showy. At Prada for example, the extravagant venue and decadent collection of last season was replaced by a stark, simple space and an equally stripped-back set of clothes.

There are, perhaps, a few things the dissenters have not appreciated. Pared back is not synonymous with boring. Sometimes there’s more satisfaction to be derived from a perfectly cut shirt than there is from garish colour or print.

But there was plenty of that too for those who wanted it. You couldn’t fail to miss Ferragamo’s eyeball-bothering tones or Gucci’s almost romantic prints but, reading between the tweets, I can understand the naysayers’ gripe, even if I don’t agree. Yes, overall it was less of a tub-thumping, rousing and theatrical week but that’s the very reason why I think it was still a successful one.

Milan has always been the most pragmatically business-minded of all the fashion weeks and this was evident in both what and how the designers chose to present. Prada was simplified but no less compelling, Moschino was commercial, save for the Warholian touches, blimey, even Versace toned it down a bit.

The bling was gone, the theatrics replaced with well-conceived collections sure to find favour on the shop floor. As an applied art, fashion should have an air of practicality – you should be able to figure out how to wear something without a degree in engineering. Yes, clothes can be great to look at but they should be designed to be worn first and foremost, the real art coming from when garments are beautiful because they’re worn on the body, not despite it. And there’s no better place than Milan to find it.

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