Valid Lessons from Milan Fashion Week

It’s funny how quick the fashion industry is to label Milan Fashion Week’s penchant for tradition and so-called lack of surprise as drawbacks rather than assets. 

We’re living in a world obsessed with two second gratification. Creatives pour their skills (and souls) into the production of an image, a video, a garment, a bag… to often only be appreciated for as long as it takes to scroll to the next visual in a digital feed. There is definitely something to be said of consistent offerings that rise the the occasion with regards to elegance, craftsmanship and confidently remaining true to a fashion house’s values. 

Change may be the only true certainty in this world, but it’s time to slow the cycle. Instead of feeding into demand to conceptualize, present, produce and ship faster, let’s steady the pace and bring thoughtful, cultivated passion back into vogue. Of industry isn’t the only one that needs to slow down, but for now, let’s talk about fashion. 

Resist the urge to do something different or experimental just for the sake of making waves on social media. Think of the most innovating couturiers of our time. Years ago, we saw the likes of Galliano, McQueen and Gaultier do innovation right. Their messages were pure - and in a pre-Instagram world - the emphasis was on clients and the art of fashion rather than fleeting followers and likes.

With all due respect to all of the hardworking young models in fashion, why do you think Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Carla Bruni and Helena Christensen created such a sensation at Donatella’s Gianni Versace tribute? Because a mirror was held up to the state of our times. You got the feeling that even young Gen Z teens commiserated with our collective sense of loss. We’ve traded confident, sensual and desirable women for a generation of girls. Pretty, yes. But girls all the same. 

I think of when a top model friend of mine shared the story of working on set with Bianca Balti and Monica Bellucci. I was wide-eyed, asking about Balti who was quite young at the time. My friend said she was beautiful of course but neither she nor Balti were of much notice next to Bellucci… because of the distinct difference between a girl and a woman. Pure and simple. I understand now what she tried to say then.

Some trends are worth dismissing - including experimentation for the sole purpose of PR and feeding into society’s obsession with the super young (a side effect of a collective fear of aging). 

Let’s opt out of the constant race to outsize, overtake and outperform at the price of sacrificing the worthwhile and risking burnout for everyone involved - shoppers included. What’s next, dismissing Savile Row thanks to a lack of Instagram savvy? 

Let’s give MFW the respect it deserves.

My highlights of Spring/Summer 2018 include… 

  • I can’t recall if there was ever a Blumarine collection I didn’t love. Anna Molinari’s talents continue…
  • Krizia was creative, fresh and feminine.
  • I want a Gucci fanny pack. Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, Alessandro Michele has a knack for making us want what we never knew we wanted before. And isn’t that what fashion designers are supposed to do? This time we were graced with oddly sexy clear glasses that were also slightly geriatric, a horde of new handbag shapes featuring classic Gucci details like the Gucci web, wonderfully belted coats that stop abruptly at the hip, slender tailored suits for men… I’m not sure if gender fluidity was the intent but I could definitely sport some of the sweaters and blazers shown on men at the dual-gender presentation. I won’t pretend there weren’t a few head-scratching looks in the mix - but it’s all part of the allure. Being bold and having tons of fun with fashion. This is also the first time I caught a familiar code from a predecessor at the house. Floral maxi dresses recalled images of Frida Giannini’s Gucci. 
  • Versace was more of an instant snapshot of fashion history than a traditional fashion show. Pleated skirts, flirty silhouettes, regal Italian prints and even a hooded maxi gown with a split up to the high heavens - there was endless inspiration to be found. I’d love to see more of this side of the house.
  • Attico is one of the emerging brands (see, Milan isn’t only established houses) that are taking over really quickly because they just get it. Their clothes and shoes fit right into the Milanese lifestyle of maximalist glamour mixing the modern with well-loved vintage hints. Everything looks original; every detail is considered. And like the new Gucci, the collections are perfect for mixing and matching and they’d be hard-pressed to go out of style.
  • Also take a look at collections by Jil Sander and Vilshenko.