All the best action from the last two days in Milano.
DOLCE & GABBANA
When some designers are creating collections that incorporate or reflect the political and moral darkness swirling around the end of 2015 and the beginning of this year, Dolce and Gabbana stayed true to form and embraced the power and strength of beautiful fantasy. The duo served up a fairytale collection of elaborate gowns, puffed sleeve heads fit for a princess, and embellishments straight out of a Disney movies (teapots and mirror-mirror-on-the-wall looking glasses stitched onto a knit). Throw in elegantly oversized tailoring and some mess-uniform military touchpoints for those women channelling their inner prince charming, and you’ve got D&G at they’re very, most bankable, best.
It’s Autumn/Winter and it’s Missoni, so if there hadn’t been knits-on-knits-on-knits then we would’ve all been very surprised. Still, the way in which Angela Missoni presented those knits at her label this season was fresh and invigorating. That iconic zig-zag was everywhere (of course), but so were a slew of other patterns (marled this, flecked that) which were thrown together with a thoughtful abandon. As well as woolen cozys there was no shortage of elegant tailoring – a little on the roomy side for that art gallery curator look – and a slew of candy stripe statement coats that are guaranteed to turn heads.
The intelligent eccentricity that is a Marni hallmark was present and correct this season but, importantly, it felt much more wearable than the sculpture-like pieces of SS16 which protruded awkwardly (and dauntingly) from the body. Fear not though, that distinctly architectural bent could still be felt through a wide sleeve on a short blouson, an oversized t-shirt dress with sharp, boxy lines, or the clean cut arches of a cropped cape or blouse. Large buttons were another recurring motif, particularly on the extra-wide waistbands of otherwise fairly traditional trousers or on the belt of some rather elegant overcoats. Indeed, it was that dash of buttoned up restraint and those vintage, occasionally 60s feeling touchpoints which kept Consuelo Castiglioni firmly on the right side of quirky innovation this time around.
Massimo Giorgetti’s AW16 MSGM showcase was all about clashing components. Think miss matched prints (from florals, to polka dots, to dogtooth), unexpected textures (fishing net, quilted PVC, velvet, sequinned fabrics and lurex) and masculine accessories (stomping moon boots with MSGM-branded velcro straps, industrial leather gloves and geometric metal belts). Meanwhile shirts were worn with the sleeves tucked into the aforementioned gloves, quilted skirts came wrapped at the waist and a plethora of patterns adorned a series of oversized coats. Clearly influenced by the likes of Vetements and Martin Margiela this season, Giorgetti’s vision of AW16 is loud and unapologetic.
Never one to change his aesthetic simply because fashion dictates it must be so, Armani stayed true to his elegant, deconstructed style this season; and why shouldn’t he? It’s worked for the past 30 years plus. Cue a procession of well-tailored velvet pieces of the slinkiest and sexiest variety: trousers came loosely cut – as is Armani tradition – or, in just the slightest nod to 2016, an elasticated jogging bottom style. Thankfully the maestro hasn’t gone all Ath-Leisure on us. Instead, that bit of ribbing seemed like an extension of his eternal fondness for slouchy formality. Elsewhere, suits came cut from tasteful Prince of Wales checks and, punctuating a mostly monorchrome collection, even some abstract watercolour florals. Business as usual: and good business at that.
The ever extroverted and ever controversial Dean and Dan Caten presented a typically riotous collection this season for DSQUARED2. Imagine Victoriana mashed up with a warrior woman feel and you’re most of the way there. That meant puffed sleeveheads on short jackets were paired with what were essentially a cargo pant, riding trouser hybrid. The decoration just kept coming and coming with tassels, beading, texture and pattern all layered on super thick. Understated it was not, but anyone who can combine samurai, soldier boy and 19th century lady of leisure all at once without making a complete mess of it deserves some considerable praise.
Vivetta Ponti seems to have come down with a particularly serious case of the Gucci-bug that’s been something of an endemic this season in Milan. Kooky maximalism with a strong 70s inflection was the name of the game; think pussy bows, frilly collars, those Margot Tenenbaum fur coats you saw constantly referenced six months ago and a splash of library-ready details to top it all off. Don’t get me wrong, it was all very polished and well executed – and Alessandro Michele shouldn’t have a trademark on fashion that isn’t dark or understated – it’s just that with Gucci’s rebrand being so high-profile, Vivetta seemed to be shouting her influences a little too loudly.