Wonderland.

MILAN FASHION WEEK – AW12

The autumn/winter ’12 shows are well under way, hinting at a darker, gothic sensibility for next season. Milan did it full of intoxicating glamour but with a newfound stripped-back elegance (à la Jil Sander). With Rooney Mara fringes at Marni, a play on boxy tailoring at Bottega Veneta, and beaming jewels just about everywhere, it showed it’s not a capital to be overlooked. We rounded up some of our favourites…

On Miuccia Prada’s mind for next winter is ladylike power and aristocracy, but virtual (inspired by her PhD in political science?). Rolling out the lavish carpet seen at the menswear show – this time in purple, she sent out avatar-like regal princesses.

Layers of three-quarter-length skirts and tailcoats were wrapped over tapered trousers elongating the silhouette, complimented by the dip-dyed, never-ending hair. They came embellished with glitzy decoration in the form of giant scattered diamonds – only they weren’t real jewels, but plastic 3-D ornaments. Prada for the people? Not entirely. Their shapes were taken from the rich graphic prints that followed, recalling early 70s pop art and interior design. Toying with taste, the seasonal Prada shoe came in two-tone clunky heels and low platforms. Structure, ornament and print, it was the cultivated a,b,c of Prada.

“Beautiful” is not the adjective to describe collections, but Raf Simons’ last one for Jil Sander was just that. Guided by the emotion of Simons stepping down to make way for the house’s namesake designer, it brought the usually composed Milano to tears. On the catwalk were bouquets of flowers encased in glass boxes, celebrating and commiserating his seven years at the helm. From these stemmed the powdery sweet palette of the collection – blush pinks, dusty creams and pale lavenders – on cocoon coats in soft wool and cashmere. Sonic Youth’s version of “Superstar” on the soundtrack seemed fitting, poignant even, as the collection hit all the chords of Simons’ masterful refinement. One that also hinted at new pastures, or should we say New Look-ridden ones?

While last season saw Milan lose D&Gs exuberance, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have put in twice the work on their main line. And it shows. This season saw them explore opulence inspired by ornately carved frames, with gold embroidery recalling gilding seen on Indian sarees. Though not ones to cover up their voluptuous woman, the duo placed the principal motif on strict black wool tuxedo dresses and velvet rompers. Baroque-rich capes followed as outerwear, layered over trademark white lace and floral dresses. Full of grandeur and theater, the collection screamed bourgeois, but one that pushed their own envelope.

Words: Modesta Dziautaite

MILAN FASHION WEEK – AW12

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