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Milan Fashion Week in Review

Like most things in fashion, gelato, pasta and leather, Italians do it better. We may have won with Obama over Berlusconi, but we certainly haven’t mastered Gucci. The same seemed to hold true for Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2012. As you may have read, I was disappointed in New York’s showings. Milan was a step up, but nevertheless, a lag seems to have occurred in the fashion world. With the heavy leather and thick wools we’re seeing for winter, it’s no surprise the Spring/Summer wear is overflowing with colour. There seems to have been little consensus, however, on what color that was, nor what print, and so a kaleidoscopic mish mash of eyesores have come through.

Case in point: Roberto Cavalli. I love the flaunted sensuality of a Cavalli dress, but this season proved to be more puzzling than sexy. Vinyl and leather with floral overlays, leopard print blazers over loud maxi dresses, and the overuse of gold was blinding, as if these pieces were meant for carnival performers. Of course the lace trend was in heavy rotation, but hidden by chunky belts that distracted from otherwise fantastic corseted dresses.

Although the fashion world seems exalted with anything Miuccia Prada does, I was slightly underwhelmed. Her last collection was universally heralded as one of the best of any designer in the past decade (remember those brilliant tropical prints with Mata Hari fruit and animals?), but this one looked incomplete. The models looked sweaty and uncomfortable and her use of sports cars “portraying women as objects,” was puzzling at best. Thankfully, her floral printed jackets were gorgeous, albeit a bit homely, and she excelled in her funky footwear.

Then the Milan shows turned around. Dolce and Gabbana was superb, and mouth-watering, with prints of pasta, cheeses and traditional Italian home cooking going on lovely shift dresses with distinctly feminine cuts. Of course the deisgners are known for their corsetry, and these bodices, intricately bejewled, were no exception.

The highlights happened at Giorgio Armani, with soft exquisite tailoring, metallic textures and loose fits. It was feminine, subdued and sensual. Silk flowed around the body like water, and draped towards fitted pants, loosely open towards the calf. Dresses shimmered with beading and crystals, and with classic lines, were elegant and paired down with minimal accessories. Trust Armani to make a woman feel at her best with ease.

The magic continued at Bottega Veneta, with gorgeous pigmenting in royal purple, burnt sienna and sultry chocolate. The draping was slightly boho chic, and the mix of leather, fringe and silk in sunset colors was intricate without looking overdone. I love the ease of use of this collection.

I love Gucci for being dark and sexual: dropped waists, mirrored and slender jackets, strappy heels, all reminiscent of a modern twenties flapper girl, a bit boyish around the frame, but Frieda Gianni sticks to what she does best, giving height to the sensuous and powerful woman, unafraid of a bit of mystery.

Last but not least, Milan showed the always joyful Missoni. This time, the imaginative use of frills, crocheted jackets and lanky dresses were refreshing without being overkill, despite the exuberance of color.

What trends stand out during both the New York and Milan fashion week? Well, we can see that dresses are longer, sexier in their biased cuts, and very work-friendly. The jacket is definitely back, with longer sleeves and a slimmer cut, in soft leathers and strong shoulders, but without the Balmain shoulder pads of the previous collections. And of course, the print is on overdrive, and apparently mixing many seemingly conflicting ones is creating a stir.

Lets see what Paris brings us next!




  • Anonymous

    Those prada heels, and the Missoni dress to the right are my fav pieces of that which you posted. My favorite thing in your writing? Say what is back for fashion this season. I find such information so pivotal and poignant. Thank as always for keeping me up to date on the world of women’s fashion, (we both know how much I adore a well dressed woman). 

  • Chris Elliott

    Wow, Clara. Your ability to articulate your opinions about this stuff so intelligently truly blows me away. Your knowledge of the designers and their respective capabilities/reputations is astonishing. I think your knowledge of Fashion might equate to mine of Hip-Hop. It seems as though that is the case. Really liked your in-depth opinions on the highs and lows of the clothing, models and general tone of this week. Great job as always. :)

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