Milan Fashion Week is over - Here Are the Standouts (Part 1)

Can’t believe it’s already the end (NOT!). What is there to be drawn from the Italian collections? Read it here, folks.

Feb 29, 2012 at 8:38pm | Leave a comment

As mentioned yesterday, Milan fashion week has now come to a close and everyone has migrated to Paris for the last leg of fashion month. Can’t believe it’s already the end (NOT!). What is there to be drawn from the Italian collections? Well, for one, the armies of models stomped down the runways in clothes that undeniably exuded a lot of power and toughness. It was clear the designers were out to convey a message of strength. There seemed to be a general consensus about presenting a girl who is both invincible and who unapologetically regales in beautiful, luxurious clothing.

All week, critics have been throwing around words like gothic, armour, sexy, renaissance and romanticism in an attempt to describe this visual feast. It’s almost as though designers all had the desire to strike a balance between the power, the fragility and the sensuality of women. Was this a message to remind the world that the industry is thriving? Whatever it was, if the fall 2012 Milan collections were used at shields against a still fickle economy, fashion would definitely tear the latter a new one, if you know what I mean.

Let’s begin.

Gucci felt extremely luxurious and incredibly romantic thanks to a dark color palette that consisted of deep emeralds, plums and blacks, as well as fabrics like plush velvets, rich brocades, and delicate sheerness. Had Frida Giannini not mentioned the 19th century reference, we still would have gotten it, as it was so blatantly inspired by the Victorian era. But ever so chic and never ever costume-y, making everything actually feel fresh and modern. Most definitely one of Gucci’s most sophisticated collections since the Tom Ford era – LOVE.

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It’s kind of a well-known fact in the fashion industry that Miuccia Prada likes to draw inspiration from things she highly dislikes and then turns those things into brilliant collections that become obsessions among fashionistas the world over. Remember that lace collection? Or when she made bananas the It accessory? In fact, the Prada shows are so influential, that the modeling world anticipates who will be chosen to open the them and you can pretty much guarantee that an amazing career is in the bag for the lucky gal.

Anyway, for fall 2012, Prada wanted to celebrate fashion and introduced Miuccia’s interpretation of “the pleasure of fashion” – to everyone’s pleasure. Though they were hard to pinpoint, it was easy to see that there were a lot of different references. The hair and makeup succeeded in making the girls look like “virtual princesses,” however there was quite a retro feel to the whole thing. Crazy patterns, impeccable tailoring, the right dose of masculine influence and bedazzled accessories were all interpreted in the Prada way. Yep, fashion did feel extremely pleasurable, thanks Miuccia. 

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The king of classics, Giorgio Armani, decided to throw us a little curveball this season by introducing the element of eccentricism (I think I just made up that word). By sticking to what he does best – tailoring and power suit-dressing – and just adding all kinds of fun colors and details, he gave us a show that not only felt exciting and sexy (what’s sexier than a woman who is not overtly trying to be?), but still familiar all at once. And while he usually gives us a slew of amazing red carpet options, it appears that he is perhaps saving the Oscar-worthy gowns for his Couture line, Armani Privé, to my delight, admittedly.

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The Dolce & Gabbana show was one of their most exquisite ever, in my humble opinion. Inspired by baroque, everything was so opulent without feeling ostentatious, while the girls looked beautiful, almost like royalty. Nothing felt purely sexual, as one would come to expect to emanate from a Dolce catwalk. Even the sheer numbers felt more delicate than vixen. The shapes made statements (capes! Billowy dresses!)  and the accessories, while very present and obvious, were never overbearing or out of place.  Those headdresses and giant ornate earrings felt incredibly appropriate. And even with all its religious references, this collection had about as much in common with Jesus as I do with the New York Giants (you catch my drift…).

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How surprising not to see crazy mismatched patterns (in a good way, of course) on the Marni runway! This was almost the season of their matured woman, this time with the emphasis on tailoring and structure instead of the kooky (still in a good way!), eccentric shapes we know and love. The most surprising twist? It still felt quintessentially Marni with the inescapable (yet again, in a good way) 60s feel and luxurious fur touches. I know my girl Jane is going to fall in lust with every single piece.

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Check in tomorrow for part due of my Milan breakdown!

All images via style.com