Milan Fashion Week, where too much is never enough
Excess, by definition, is an amount of something that is more than necessary, permitted, or desirable. With synonyms including overindulgence, extravagance and decadence, nowhere defines fashion excess more appropriately than Milan, hosting some of fashions most revered design houses including Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Fendi and Prada among many others.
For AW14 many of the collections were like being transported into a modern fairytale, with Dolce & Gabbana’s 100 acre wonderland wood and Karl Lagerfeld’s delightfully ridiculous world of ‘couture universelle’ at Fendi. Every collection took you on a journey: back to swinging sixties London with Frida Giannini at Gucci, an avant-garde theatrical collection from Miuccia Prada and a technical masterclass in expert pattern cutting from Tomas Maier at Bottege Veneta. If the MFW designers can do one thing well, it’s make a woman feel incredible when wearing the clothes, rather than letting the clothes wear her.
Frida Giannini worked with luxurious fur, wool and leather in a soft rainbow palette of colours for the new season, ranging from duck egg blue, rose pink, caramel, mustard and oxblood. The rich hues on such glorious fabrics garnered praise for Frida and were a great follow-up to her SS14 collection. Miuccia took extreme shearling to another level at Prada with bold mannish overcoats over peekaboo sheer dresses and short but sweet sweaters worn as a dress. At Bottega Veneta, Tomas Maier maintained the femininity of the design house but with the contrast of sharp abstract prints on the flowing midi length skirts for more modern work wear.
Meanwhile the Jil Sander show had great structure; even while FROW-ers were wondering who was behind the scenes, there was not doubt this elusive new design team knew what they were doing. The collection stayed close to the Jil Sander aesthetic, with big cocooning coats to keep warm in the winter, using barely pastel felted fabrics and offsetting the looks with a masculine flatform. Donatella played with biased cuts and the military details similar to that of Nutcracker soldier, adorning the waists, collars, pockets and anywhere that would allow. The collection focused on daywear, but not as you or I know it, in rich vivid blues and bold reds, this was colour in excess.
Kaiser Karl showcased a spectacular combination of sporty silks and mesh with snow chic nipped in wool overcoats and decadent fur hoods at Fendi. Very few pieces that came down the catwalk were without a smattering of fur here and there, even the new miniature Karl Bag Boy which we have got to get our hands on! Stefano and Domenico know details better than anybody, and their decadent AW14 collection was like seeing all the stories you read as a child come to life looking more luxurious than ever. Hansel & Gretel met Red Riding Hood and went on a fashionable journey through the forest, wearing their woodland friends on their brocade tunics and coats. The models were also sporting a subtly sexy key print that is sure to be the print du jour for AW14.
Other standout shows included DSquared2’s Valley of the Dolls extravagant nod to the sixties, graphic ambiguity at Marni, Fausto Puglisi’s colour and print explosion away from his previous newcomer status and Max Mara’s edgy take on tweed. It’s amazing that we were able to fit all this and more into one week but we can now add (more) outerwear to our list, alongside some bias cut Versace, lots of D&G’s gothic applique and embellishment, and an extravagant fur hooded cape as showcased by Karl.
Enjoy a strong coffee and peruse our picks of Milan Fashion Week. It was so hard to narrow them down, but Milan says more is more no?