Thanks to Luxos’ Milan-based headquarters, as fashion editor I was able to take full advantage of the possibilities offered by Milan Fashion Week. I spent the week traversing Milan’s twisting side streets going from showroom to showroom, diverting my heels from the plentiful potholes and out-of-kilter cobblestones, waiting in endless lines outside of fashion shows before enjoying the 10-minute ecstasy of a long-awaited runway show, and generally relishing in the frenetic atmosphere of Milan during fashion week. Yes, the beautiful and famous do descend on our little city in the industrial North, and so do the fashion victims and the hangers-on…and for two brief weeks a year, there is no question that Milan is at the center of the fashion universe. Life is indeed more colorful during fashion week (ironically of course, since everyone is primarily wearing black). And when it is over, yes, there is a sense of relief…fashion reporting can be exhausting! But, there is a let down as well, as things revert to a slower pace, and the fashionable streets become just a little bit more bland.
The result of all my hard work (and unlimited glasses of bubbly), is the following assessment of the Spring/Summer 2011 fashion trends, a compendium of the best from Paris, London, New York and of course, Milan.
Bright pops of neon appeared all over the runways and showrooms this fashion season. Perfect as bold stand-alone pieces, or as fun accents for more neutral-toned outfits. In my opinion Jil Sander did color best with jewel tones like tangerine orange, royal blue, emerald green and violet in floor length skirts and high-waisted, wide leg pants. Marc Jacobs was a close second with his 70s-inspired collection that featured an orange jumpsuit, red silk halter dresses and full gypsy skirt. Bright colors extended to the accessories collections as well, with a particular favorite being the architectural lines of Bally’s Riviera canvas clutch outlined in primary colors like sunshine yellow and grass.
On the other hand, the fashion world was dominated by a plethora of pleasing neutrals, mainly khakis, whites and grays. It seems the sober colors were a reflection of the times, while the bright colors were a reaction to them. Escada displayed soft and draping silhouettes in a range of savanna-inspired khakis, while Krizia presented a collection of light and delicate dresses in pale shades of camel, eggshell, butter and cream. One of my favorite collections of the season came from Brunello Cucinelli. The up-and-coming Italian brand produced a line that is a tribute to minimalism and the natural elements, displaying a beautiful palette of greys.
The monkeys at Prada and citrus fruit at Stella McCartney were probably the most extreme examples of the crazy prints that were found all over the runways this season. Hawaiian style prints dominated at Dior, floral patterns at Louis Vuitton and stars and graphics at Miu Miu. The Prada collection was one of the most talked-about of the season. Eschewing minimalism Miuccia Prada opted instead for a Latin American inspired line that is full of bold colors, stripes and Baroque-style prints complete with Carmen Miranda style skirts that flare mid-thigh, a colorful collection of fox stoles, and striped cotton sombreros.
The New Modesty
Necklines were raised, hem lines extended, and legs widened for a more reserved approach to fashion. Personally, I find these changes quite gratifying, but I usually prefer the ‘less is more’ philosophy of style. Nepalese designer Prabal Gurung presented a beautiful collection of calf-length pencil skirts and dresses in metallic sheers and flowing silks. Brioni’s collection also included more modest cuts, contrasting with the use of see-through lace.
Last season it seemed designers couldn’t get the early 60s, Mad Men-inspired fashion out of their heads. This season we’ve jumped a decade, to the more frivolous stylings of the disco era. From Salvatore Ferragamo’s flowing maxi and western-inspired dresses and use of macramé to the high-waisted pants and jumpsuits at Fendi, and of course the entire Marc Jacobs line, designers fully embraced an era that is in some ways so similar to our own: an economic recession, the prevalence of mindless pop music, and a desire to escape from the sobering drudgery of day-to-day life with fun and dizzying fashion choices.
See here for Luxos' in-depth fashion coverage of the S/S 2011 fashion