Giorgio Armani, who canceled two events in Milan in January due to a spike in Covid-19 cases, held shows for both Emporio Armani and his namesake brand. The latest event on Sunday was the only major show dedicated to Ukraine, when the designer sent models down a quiet runway as a sign of respect for the people involved in the unfolding tragedy, he explained on Instagram.
Elsewhere, however, the lack of visible solidarity – or any recognition of the Russian invasion, which began the day after the show began – was perhaps the week’s biggest failing. In his happy bubble, Milan felt a bit deaf given the realities unfolding in Eastern Europe.
Below are a few more takeaways from the week’s luxury fashion.
Big names, big contrasts
Fendi opened Milan Fashion Week. Credit: FABRIZIO MARTINEZ/FENDI
The Prada show took place at the Prada Foundation depository. Credit: Prada
Kendall Jenner wore red hair for the Prada runway. Credit: Monica Feudi/Prada Donna
Key essentials such as white tanks have been reimagined for a new audience, modeled here by Kaia Gerber. Credit: Monica Feudi/Prada Donna
With all the usual mainstays including Prada, Fendi, Moschino, Armani, Versace and Dolce & Gabbana, Milan is back with his pre-Covid sheen. The ambitious line-up (67 physical performances planned) was a mixture of styles, themes and aesthetics.
Fendi kicked off the week with a chic show of tweed and chiffon, with Bella Hadid as host and a front row group of influencers. It was a collection of contrasts and archival references (creative director Kim Jones took inspiration from the brand’s spring-summer 1986 and autumn-winter 2000 designs), as well as It bags to complete the look.
Contrast was also Prada’s watchword, with Raf Simons and Miuccia Prada deftly mixing classics from white tank tops to aviator jackets with statement coats and delicately embroidered skirts.
At Max Mara, the brand’s signature teddy bear coat was reimagined as oversized skirts, dresses and jogging shorts, then presented alongside floor-length puffer jackets and balaclavas for street style and alpine slopes. It was a versatile, very comfortable blend that worked.
Virus kit design
Versace opted for a movable reflective catwalk. Credit: Carmine Conte/Versace
Dolce & Gabbana used a vibrant backdrop for a virtual cityscape. Credit: Monica Feudi
Glenn Martens, creative director of Diesel, gave Milan sci-fi fantasy. Credit: Diesel
The metallic body paint and inflatable sets made the show very popular. Credit: Diesel
The sets were as thoughtful as the clothing at many of the shows this season.
Real-life Dolce & Gabbana models strolled against a virtual backdrop of neon skyscrapers, half-naked digital avatars and D&G graffiti. Diesel had giant inflatable dolls, dressed, of course, in the brand’s clothes, lined up along the hot catwalk in provocative poses. Jill Sanders opted for replicas of ancient Greek statues placed at the center of her set, while Donatella Versace opted for a reflective podium with movable side panels, creating a play of optical illusions.
And then there was Gucci, who greeted guests in a completely trippy setting: a gigantic room with a black-and-white checkered floor and mirrored walls lit by purple light.
However, the prize for the most interesting format should probably go to the relatively young brand Sunnei. Abandoning the traditional catwalk, the label hosted an open-air show on the outskirts of Milan, putting on what co-founders Simona Rizzo and Loris Messina called “a performance within a show”. The models ran, not walked, along the side of the industrial building, and the audience, seated facing them on metal benches, were invited to watch the show in slow motion on their phones.
Models were dropped off at the corner and they showed off their clothes as they ran through the streets. Credit: Viktor Boyko/Getty
It was a fresh take on the typical catwalk. Credit: Viktor Boyko/Getty
While the heavyweights didn’t disappoint in terms of clothing, their cast choices disappointed. Yes, there were racially different models – no doubt an important shift from the previous few seasons – but for the most part they remained thin and traditionally attractive.
Fortunately, the new Italian names offered compelling alternatives.
Flamboyant newcomer Marco Rambaldi in particular put on one of the most talked about shows of the week with a daring runway that was inclusive, provocative and genuinely fun. Titled “Romantic Poetics of a New Post”, it was streamed live on Maison Valentino’s Instagram account (as part of a partnership between Valentino and the organizers of Milan Fashion Week). professional models, many of whom self-identify as LGBTQ.
Design duo Luca Lin and Galib Gassanoff of Act N.1, another brand to watch during Milan’s recent fashion renaissance, have meanwhile attracted transgender people, older women and a young mother with a child, among others.
Marco Rambaldi, in his daring runway show, favored a variety of castings. Credit: Marcus Tondo
Whether it’s Julia Fox in Diesel, Kim Kardashian in Prada, Julianne Moore in Bottega Veneta or Rihanna in Gucci, celebrities are back for Milan Fashion Week. Some of the events were more like red carpet award ceremonies than fashion shows, with crowds of people and paparazzi waiting outside each hall to catch a glimpse of the A-list stars.
Julia Fox at the Diesel show in Milan. Credit: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty/Diesel
Kim Kardashian front row on the Prada runway. Credit: Pietro S. D’Aprano/Getty Images
Gucci did it again
Gucci is no stranger to collaborations and has recently worked with brands such as Balenciaga and The North Face. But the partnership they announced on Exquisite Gucci, the title of their fall/winter show, could be their biggest commercial success yet. In collaboration with Adidas, the label sent out models in berets, jackets and giant leather bags with the logos of the two brands, proving just how good creative director Alessandro Michele is at his job: making the label a harbinger of cool.
Get ready to see these designs on hypebeasts everywhere.
Gucci presented a collaboration with Adidas at Milan Fashion Week. Credit: Courtesy of Gucci
Back to office
Designers seem to have picked up on the back-to-the-office trend that is gaining momentum in parts of the world, with bespoke suits a constant choice at Milan Fashion Week.
Suits with a twist were all over the runways this season, as was this sequined number from Gucci. Credit: Kevin Tuchman
The Bottega Veneta runway featured herringbone suits (pictured underneath this fluffy green coat). Credit: Alessandro Lucioni
Gucci has built an entire collection on it, with a line that includes fitted and double-breasted looks, as well as a standout velvet tuxedo with crystals and sequins. Bottega Veneta had a minimal version of the two-piece suit for both men and women, while Versace and Dolce & Gabbana opened their collections with wide-shouldered suits. Structural Prada jackets also came in handy.
Credit: Moschino/Marco Ovando
Camp was the king of the Moschino show. Credit: Moschino/Marco Ovando
Bella Hadid in Moschino. Credit: Moschino/Marco Ovando
In stark contrast to the suits and beautiful dresses, Jeremy Scott’s Moschino put on the most surreal show of the week and one of his most out-of-the-way collections to date. The delightfully wacky lineup consisted of harp-inspired dresses and lampshade headpieces, grandfather clock-inspired dresses, and body-hugging ensembles adorned with phrases like “Maid in Italy” and “Gilding Without Guilt.”
The Hadid sisters walked the runway – Gigi (pictured above) closed the show in a dramatic gold dress with a wide tulle train and matching gloves with gold leaves wrapped around her arms. But the most spectacular was Scott himself, when he bowed in a red astronaut suit.
Top photo: Gigi Hadid and Jeremy Scott at the Moschino show.