Da Vinci referred to Milan as the ‘Capital of Fashion Capitals’, and the last week of February once again saw the city turn into the sartorial hub it is known for.
The retrospective start of “Italiana, Italy Through the Lens of Fashion 1971–2001” showcased the initial years of the fashion industry in Italy. The exhibition involved nine rooms: Identity, Democracy, Logomania, Diorama, Project Room, Bazaar, Post-Production, Glocal and the Italy of Objects. The time frame is set between two symbolic dates: 1971, which marks a sort of passage between high fashion and the starting point of Italian ready-to-wear; and 2001, when the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York set in motion a tectonic change on many levels.
Alessandro Michele’s latest exhibition for Gucci saw models walking in a trance-like state through operation theatres. With surgical equipment all around, Michele thought it to be an ideal setting to identify the need of self-regeneration in today’s age of technology. He wanted to represent the lab working in his head and explained his collection by saying that “We are the Dr. Frankensteins of our lives.” Imagine the glitter and sparkle of the 1980s, the ‘70s rock music glam vibe, tweed, leather and faux relics. David Bowie circa 1970. The catwalk saw a couple of models holding replicas of their own severed heads in their hands. Some were seen holding baby dragons and lime green snakes like a newborn baby. Quite a few of them had headpieces from turbans to burqa-like veils. It was an electrifying retro theme discovering what was happening to humans in the world of Instagram. Michele perceives this an opportunity to be liberated from the obstacles we have faced since birth.
Versace decided to pay a catwalk tribute to Gianni by bringing together the original supermodels clad in the signature metal dresses — Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Helena Christensen and the former French first lady Carla Bruni, to mark the 20th anniversary of his death. Donatella Versace used prints from her brother’s collections between 1991 and 1995 as the basis for this collection. The finale saw the readaptation of one of the most iconic moments, back from 1991 when four supermodels walked hand-in-hand. Top designers from Gucci and Saint Laurent were seen attending the tribute.
The ‘Queen of Hearts’ collection by Dolce and Gabbana saw a ‘90s pop theme with 13 models in black corsets opening the show. They were superseded by ball gowns made of cabbages and soup cans for shoes. Corsets and briefs in the likes of Madonna and Beyoncé were popular on the catwalk. They even played “Crazy in Love” in the background.
Dolce also closed the fashion week by showcasing bags and other accessories. The bag collection was revolving on drones. Seriously, drones.
With a motor-racing rage theme, Tommy Hilfiger once again showcased the sports gear he usually associates with the Formula One Mercedes Benz team by sponsoring them. Curved racing stripes, swimsuits, biker shorts, racerback tanks, visors, denim boiler suits and leather biker jackets were covered on the runway. The collection also included the hugely popular Tommy x Gigi capsule collection designed by supermodel Gigi Hadid, who walked with Hilfiger for the finale. This is Hadid’s last edit for the brand, having fulfilled her four-season contract.
Moschino’s director celebrating the 20th anniversary of his own label explored his creative side with a floral theme-models were dressed either like ballet dancers in tutus or wrapped as floral bouquets and sculpted in flower dresses.
The Alberta Ferretti Fall 2018 contrasted their delicate Spring 2018 floral collection. This time their theme was far from summer dresses with printed flowers. The catwalk saw models in cowboy hats in elegant jumpsuits — a femme-fatale-meets-Texas-ranch vibe. If only the collection actually reached a real ranch! One can hope.
As expected, Fendi screamed class. Cosy ensembles with fur, leather, suede, and camel trench coats, all with the double F logo. Lagerfeld and Fendi never disappoint. The models had interesting makeup with white shades along their tear ducts while their hair had a middle or side parting.
Prada, experts in craftsmanship, attempt to outdo their own collection in every single show. This time was no exception with tech-inspired prints and neon colours marking the runway. To add to the wow-factor, supermodel Amber Valletta reappeared on the runway after a long break. The show was opened by Anok Yai, only the second black model to do the opening act in the history of Prada since Naomi Campbell. The need to eradicate racial discrimination and be open to diversity of different cultures spoke loud and clear.
And that’s all about Milan. If you love fashion the way I do, don’t you worry — “Ciao, Milan” means “Bonjour, Paris!”