Each season, Milan Fashion Week gives spectators a glimpse into Italy’s world of timeless glamour. The city’s historical monuments such as the Rotonda della Besana and Palazzo Archinto double as backdrops for designers, melding the past with contemporary styles. At Milan Fashion Week’s most recent iteration, athleisure dominated designers’ opere: loose tops, flowing jackets, maillots, and racerbacks prevailed, continuing with fashion’s penchant for sporty silhouettes. However, the collections weren’t completely devoid of femininity. Designers such as Alberta Ferretti and Moschino played with glitter and 80’s punk-inspired styles, reinventing the 21st-century woman. Read on for synopses of the trends, models, and celebrity appearances at spring 2018’s biggest Milan Fashion Week shows.
Alessandro Michele’s latest collection for Gucci was a celebration of the past. Set at the Gucci Hub, a space designed by Milanese architecture office Piuarch, the venue was decorated with Egyptian, Greek, and Roman statues from Cinecittà Studios, Europe’s largest film studio. The clothes drew from various decades, mixing glitter, English tweed, and thick shoulder pads. Michele’s goal was to “resist the mantra of speed,” and resist he did. Celebrity guests included Salma Hayek, Dapper Dan, A$AP Rocky, Delfina Delettrez Fendi, Petra Collins, Soko, and François-Henri Pinault.
Alberta Ferretti showed her spring 2018 collection at Milan’s famous Rotonda della Besana. Models paraded down the runway in a diverse range of garments including maillots, trench coats, and gowns. The show opened with figure-hugging swimsuits modeled by Bella and Gigi Hadid, gave way to earthy brown knits, and ultimately crescendoed into glittery metallic gowns. Ferretti’s quintessential chiffon (“my material,” the designer joked) appeared alongside lamé pants and oversized pastel shirts tied at the waist.
Max Mara’s collection was a testament to the brand’s signature minimalism as well as this season’s trends. At the Palazzo Del Senato, designer Ian Griffiths showed a collection of impeccably tailored suits, transparent blazers, and floral patterns that were reminiscent the 90s. Griffiths’s show notes included references to Baudelaire and the “nouvelle vague of philosophers-cum-gardeners” but his collection spoke for itself, revealing what the 66-year-old brand does best: a monochromatic palette, sharp, clean lines, and elegant leatherware. The show closed with Bella Hadid in an all-black pantsuit and trench coat. Notable guests included model Ashley Graham, editor Anna Dello Russo, and style icon Olivia Palermo.
For spring 2018, Miuccia Prada whimsically illustrated feminism, collaborating with a roster of all-female comic artists including Brigid Elva, Joëlle Jones, Stellar Leuna, Giuliana Maldini, Natsume Ono, Emma Ríos, Trina Robbins and Fiona Staples. Prada also enlisted the help of Tarpé Mills, the mind behind Miss Fury, the first female superhero created by a woman. The collection was an explosion of prints designed by the aforementioned artists, plus several vintage prints from the brand’s archives of the 1930s and 60s. In regards to silhouette, Miuccia Prada opted for the oversized with massive overcoats and loose dresses. Celebrities in attendance journalist Hamish Bowles, film producer Livia Giuggioli Firth, actresses Milla Jovich and Jessica Chastain, and editor Edward Enninful.
Jeremy Scott unveiled his effervescent Moschino collection to the tune of Vivaldi’s “L’Hiver.” Models descended upon the runway in fishnets, biker jackets, candy-colored feather skirts, and My Little Pony ephemera. Scott’s incorporation of Hasbro’s My Little Pony added a playful edge to the collection’s sex appeal, and also provided an accessibly-priced entry-point to his work (t-shirts begin at $250). Donning pixie cuts and petaled dresses, young supermodels Gigi Hadid and Kaia Gerber became flower bouquets, embodying Scott’s whimsical Moschino girls. Kaia’s brother, Presley Gerber, and Gigi’s mother, Yolanda Hadid, supported their kin from the front row.
At Etro, brother-sister design duo Kean and Veronica payed homage their father, the late Gerolamo Etro, with a collection inspired by the year Gerolamo founded the Italian label. “1968,” Veronica explained backstage, “was the year of counterculture and psychadelia.” Kean and Veronica went back to the brand’s basics with bold prints (including Gerolamo’s iconic paisley), Persian and Indian pinecone motifs, and embellished military jackets. The pair also incorporated athleisure into their collection by superimposing Etro’s colorful prints onto leggings and sports-bras. The collection began with a series of sparkling monochromatic white garments and culminated in flowing paisley maxi-dresses, celebrating both past and present generations of the Etro family.
Roberto Cavalli’s latest collection was newly-appointed creative director Paul Surridge’s attempt to reinvent the brand. Surridge showcased his shockingly minimalist collection in a white open-air tent in the Parco Sempione. “The Cavalli woman is not a woman who is afraid to be viewed,” Surridge explained, “but she is a woman who is modern.” Indeed, Surridge modernized the label, bringing inspiration from his menswear roots at Burberry, Calvin Klein, and Jil Sander. Hiring a fairly conservative designer for a historically over-the-top brand was a brilliant move on the part of Cavalli’s team. Surridge combined Cavalli’s signature animal prints with minimalist sportswear pieces like racerbacks, trench coats, and high-waisted pants, a far cry from the label’s extravagant collections of years past.
“Times are not so great, so I’d like to have colour – happy and uplifting and fun,” designer Tomas Maier said of his latest collection for Bottega Veneta. Indeed, the designer incorporated pastels and whimsical materials into his combined menswear and womenswear show. Maier sent models Kaia Gerber, Kendall Jenner, Gigi and Bella Hadid, Hailey Baldwin and Emily Ratajkowski down the runway in metal grommets, glitter, fringe, and leather. The models walked to the soundtrack of Mary J. Blige, Nelly, and 50 Cent at the historic Palazzo Archinto. Model Lauren Hutton, CEO of Kering François-Henri Pinault, and actresses Marisa Tomei and Andie MacDowell attended.
Angela Missoni celebrated her 20th year as creative director with a spring 2018 collection full of party clothes. Following a traditional Italian dinner party, models walked the runway in sheer dresses, chunky knits, glittering Lurex, and flower pins. As per usual, the collection demonstrated Missoni’s ability to successfully integrate eccentric color palettes and prints with wearable garments.
Husband-and-wife duo Lucie and Luke Meier showed their joint menswear and womenswear collection for Jil Sander against the sunset-lit backdrop of Milan’s Zaha Hadid-designed tower. The couple combined Jil Sander’s minimalist, structure-driven aesthetic with elements that Lucie described as “feminine, light, and sensual.” Luke added that the collection would be directed towards a “duality of angular, masculine ideas mixed with feminine lightness and emotion.” Thus oversized shirts and structured jackets accompanied long white dresses, macrame, and fringe.
Donatella Versace put on a show honoring the 20th anniversary of her brother Gianni’s tragic death. Donatella reinterpreted key prints from Gianni’s ouevre including his Warhol, Tresor de la Mer, Animalia, Baroque, Metal Mesh, and Butterflies collections in modern silhouettes including catsuits, corsets, logo tees, and fanny packs. Models Kaia Gerber, Gigi and Bella Hadid, Candice Swanepoel, and Natasha Poly repped 21st-century Versace, while 90s supermodels Naomi Campbell, Carla Bruni, Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, and Helena Christensen payed homage to Gianni’s reign at the Italian design house. Kris Jenner, Serena Williams, Alessandro Michele, Amber Valletta, and Taiwanese singer Jolin Tsai were among the celebrities in attendance.
All photos courtesy of Vogue.