It’s been impossible in recent years to relay a fashion week without some reference to events below the fashion industry’s ivory tower. Current affairs, global politics, international markets are turbulent, to say the least, in these days and to ignore this would be a unwise move from any power playing brand. An artistic, intuitive designer looks to the time in which they live and relates this to their contribution to the wider cultural landscape. This certainly to be the mindset that Italian and foreign designers wished to capture on the Milan catwalks this weekend.
In a change to her opulent recent years, Donatella Versace’s focus for AW16 was the environment, "Looking back on the world from afar and pondering what we’re doing to it". The space-theme began with a bang as models ran frenetically down the pitch-black catwalk, only small details from the sporty clothes were highlighted. The space age vibe continued throughout, with lots of shine, silver and clean-cut lines. Nothing here was infinitely unwearable, mainly thanks to soft colours: white mohair sweaters, soft sweatpants and nerdy accessories.
In contrast, Miucchia Prada's direction this year was towards the past: with clothes that were worn, torn and bedraggled, at times hanging from the body evoking a state of chaos and confusion. Images of ancient battles were printed on crisp shirts and coats were replaces by capes, inducing an cross between Victorian gentleman and Herculean hero. "It’s an excursion through history" she told Vogue, "designed to connected what happened in the past to what happens now and to see if there’s anything we can learn."
Dolce & Gabbana
Dolce & Gabbana
Never ones to be accused of subliminal messages, Dolce & Gabbana's Sunday afternoon show was as literal as ever. This time, the benefits of allowing spaghetti westerns to influence a collection. The brooding, dark, Sicilian-esque models strutted, without or without iPads, in suits, ponchos, knits and overcoats adorned with Westernalia: cactuses, horsemen, cartoons of the designers dressed up in western garb and the usual roses and crowns we've seen in the brand’s last 'Mamma' collection. The result: a wonderful, hyped-up, extroverted collection of exquisite tailoring and delicate knitwear. Finished with some sublime silk pyjamas that have already seen in-store frenzies.
Never one to be too taken with new trends, Brunello Cucinelli’s AW collection was another broad offering of smart-casual luxury tailored to the modern man. Hybrid outfits mixed cashmere trousers with suit jackets, ripped denims and the softly tailored suits that we've come to love Cucinelli for. The usual earthy pastels were back, with the addition of soft blue and greys, which added a touch of chic to the modern luxury of the looks.
Angela Missoni claims that her men are travellers for autumn/winter, this time he headed to Ladkah, the mountainous region of India which attracted a lot of rock stars/hippies in the 1970s. Inspired by traditional fabrics the collection was the most conceptually autumnal of them all (for a few years), deep blues, reds, purples and oranges on fringed knits, beaded coats, chunky scarves and flowing trousers. If its comfort and originality you're into this autumn, let these vagabonding bohemians show you the way.
Gucci has worked hard in recent years to shift its focus (and models) from sexed-up glamazons to a more wholesome, ethereal vibe. However, Alessandro Michele’s aesthetic is morphing into something no less lavish than his predecessor. Some complained that this collection was more of the same, which is true, but Michele’s style seems all about additions, not subtractions. Silk pyjamas, plaid coats and plain white tees contrasts with studded loafers, jewel encrusted glasses and velvet robes. Michele’s focus, it seems, is to build collection over collection that marks Gucci as a timeless chameleon brand, one that is focused on the zeitgeist of the past and reinvent itself for now.