Italy may be a long way away from today's Scottish referendum, but today in Milan this was, above all, a day of nostalgic national pride. As the country enters recession for the third time in five years, a stream of designers chose to debut collections that harked back to the glory days of Italian heritage and the country's fun-loving, passionate nature.
At the crack of dawn Max Mara sent models adorned in garish prints down the runway: georgette blouses, tucked into figure-hugging long skirts, swished against knee-high boots and were given a vibrant finish with both bold, macro flowers and micro prints, an easy-breezy mix of playful summer dressing and workwear formality. The blurry, retro quality was enhanced with bold 70s inspired flowers, floppy hats and soft fabrics. As with the later-in-the-day designers, waists were accentuated and voluminous summer coats were introduced.
First-up after lunch was Just Cavalli, who continued the 1970s celebration. Taking his inspiration from the decade's 'love and freedom' stance: the effect was a kaleidoscopic minefield of geometrics, micro-paisley, ethnic inspired motifs and romantic undertones. Cavalli's colour palate was a mix of white, greens and blues, with purple being continuously present in the combination. Large pussy-bow blouses spread from shoulder to shoulder of the silk and chiffon blouses. Flirty puffball skirts clashed with an opposing print on the top, not quite a messy look, but more dressed-up festival than summer in the city.
Holding the reds and blacks for later, Cavalli showcased prim jackets and long billowing skirts. Whether plain or with a tribal edge, all pieces were accentuated with a keynote flowery injection, be it from the scarves, headbands or under-garments. While the mood was certainly romantic, the sexier, harder edge of the collection finished off what looks to be one Cavalli's most successful S/S lines yet.
Dean and Dan Caten's youthful, frivolous vein was clearly in mind when they designed both their collection and show this year. If everyone else was about nostalgia and sweetness, Dsquared2 was about volume, lots of it, and outlandish colours that scream juvenility and hedonism. Bright leather skirts and shorts, sequined bikinis and feathers adorned the models, who all sported geek glasses and sleek ponytails.
This multi-coloured but simple early show was challenged later with black, red and gold motifs, placed on coats, ballooning skirts and cropped trousers. No collection of the twins' would be complete without their trademark denim: low-slung ripped jeans and shorts were paired with pop-art t-shirts and psychedelic prints. Risky cuts, overlays, and fabric blends are a few key trends to watch out for next spring, although you may need sunglasses to wear them all day.
It was fairly likely that Prada's show would be less about frivoloity and more about taste. Miuccia Prada's 25-year expertise was paid tribute to this evening as models walked the caramel brown runway fringed by lavender sand. A-line dresses and pencil skirts were pieced together in a variety of precious fabrics and brocades, simple dresses' hems frayed and their exteriors drawn on and chalked up.
Once again that 70s theme emerged with a vengeance half way through: knitted tops in bright yellow, black and lime were paired with patchwork skirts and dresses. Was this a tribute to both old and new? Maybe, but for Mrs Prada, speaking backstage, it was about craftsmanship 'I am fixated with it, not just in fabric, but in furniture, in chandeliers. More and more I am obsessed with antiquity, and the elements of the past that are not possible today.'
An array of different collections has today highlighted Milan's main focus this season, given the political and economic instability Italy is facing, here was a assortment of collections that looked to use profligacy and expertise as its primary inspiration. Quite possibly this is a reference to Italian creative perfectionism and sartorial commitment. For all the joyfulness of the day, Thursday was also all about serious fashion.
Read more: Latest from SS15 Fashion Week