In comparison to London's eccentric, original styling and Paris' decadent, opulent collections, Milanese designers tend to stick to the rules and traditions of style. But this week they mixed it up, with runways crammed with strong sartorial lines, ladylike silhouettes, and just a few wild cards.
Many of the collections for AW15 were pre-empted by the SS15 shows and it was comforting to know that come September, our wardrobes will be able to seamlessly blend from summer to winter with just a hint of adjustment.
First up Gucci, whose new creative director Alessandro Michele's debut collection had a louche, ladylike vibe. The models' soft, wavy hair and minimal makeup paired well with the pussy bow blouses, silk dresses and loose trouser suits showcasing a collection far removed from the sexed-up Gucci of Tom Ford's late nineties collections or Michele's predecessor Frida Gianni's smart formalities. A mixture of cool librarians and geeky hippies marked a new, romantic era from a brand on the brink.
Philip Plein is no stranger to adding making an impact on the catwalk; from flaming vintage cars to water-skiers, his shows are more akin to Galliano and McQueen's decadences of old than today's recession-proof runways. But as opener Azealia Banks and the overhead roller-coaster filled with models sped into view, it was clear that Plein was delivering high drama yet again. Plein has, for many collections, tapped into the hip, street-wear style favoured by high-end sports brands and this collection didn't veer: jersey, jackets, leather tracksuits, coats and stoles emblazoned with #PLEIN, WARRIOT or 78. So far, so hip, which is refreshing for Milan.
MaxMara showcased an ultra-feminine and louche collection inspired by images of Marilyn Monroe wrapped in a cardigan on the beach. Luxurious cashmere coats and cardigans were held closed by the models, while the woollen body-con dresses, and pencil skirts created a lot of rarely-seen curves and a softer silhouette – bringing the original sexy back for AW15.
Think Jackie O at Balmoral for Prada's Thursday show, with pastel tweeds, rubber boots, baby doll dresses and glimmering broaches pinned to chests, hair and gloves. Miuccia Prada's fascination this year was the 'female cliché of femininity': there were fur stoles pinned to shift dresses in burgundy and pink, opera gloves that reached the shoulder, ponytails and kitten heels. The collection painted a picture of Mad Men era ladylikeness but the perspex, ostrich skin and scuba suit fabric added a rave, cool-kid element that was difficult to ignore.
Both Moschino and Versace have never been afraid of the garish and brash, and if anything was to follow up their Barbie/McDonalds themed SS15 runway, Moschino's ode to Mickey Mouse was it. Jeremy Scott sent models adored in a palate of blues, yellows and reds comprising baggy jumpers with Looney Tunes plus ski boots and sleeping-bag coats. We can't see this trend taking off anywhere other than ski-resorts, but at least the Alps will be a brighter place next season. Donatella Versace's love letter to social media was awash with her staple silhouette, but in place of the leather and gloss she adorned each tight-fitting piece in hastags, emojis and @ signs. The look wasn't exactly ground breaking, but at least we'll all have something pretty to wear to the Christmas parties.
Looney Tunes at Moschino
Following on from their ode to the Pappa at their menswear collection it was only right that Dolce & Gabbana would celebrate their mothers, the fulcrum of Italian family, this season. Models strutted with their own babies down the rosey catwalk, simple dresses embroidered with 'J'aime Mamma', while classic skirts and knits worked the ladylike theme throughout. Adorable.
Mamma Mia at Dolce & Gabbana
Taking style in a totally different direction, Veronica Etro took inspiration from interiors and tapestries and diversified whatever she saw with elements from wallpapers, fabrics and mixed media. There was a lot going on: patchwork, brocades and tweeds were added to mannish coats, jackets with tassels and fringe and floor sweeping dresses. Charming and robust, the collection screamed festival and laidback youthful cool.
Following on with ladylike trend, Ermanno Scervino offered up a divine collection of embellishment (shoes) and an uber-feminine shape. Waists were cinched-in and ballerina skirts blossomed like meringues. Corsets and tops were designed with model proportions in mind, but the hidden supports ensured that anyone could strut in the designs.
The later shows of the week relied more heavily on 1970s trends purported back in September, with Missoni's models in tie-dye leggings and colourful, marble-effect jackets. The iconic zigzags were everywhere, but most notably on the oversized coats and deep v-neck dresses. With Missoni AW15 looks to be a lot more comfortable and a lot more rock and roll than usual.
DSquared2's Caten twins wound down the week in the most unlikely of ways. Never afraid to show their Canadian roots, the duo went back to the mountains with this collection. Models descended their staircase covered in a montage of styles and eras: feather and fur adorned tribal coats and ponchos were layered over old military jackets and waistcoats paired with cropped jeans, corset dresses and fringed skirts. Indigenous enchantment and Napoleonic militarism: DSquared2 was tribal aristocracy at its best.
Tribal Aristocracy at DSquared2
The messaged was mixed in Milan: but there were a few key trends to take with you when you shop for next season: the 1970's vibe is still strong, so hold on to your fringed bags and floaty blouses, you'll want them to work with your flares and pencil skirts. If hippy really isn't your thing, go ladylike with nipped in waits, pastels, polo necks and accessories galore.