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This season in Milan, some designers chose to play with polar opposite themes (read: Giorgio Armani and Burberry Prorsum), or they showed new moods and motifs (think Karl Lagerfeld for Fendi or Alberta Ferretti). Critics found the collections lackluster, but retailers noted that “women, tired of girly or overly ornamental frocks, are ready for Milan’s clean lines, high-tech fabric innovations and slimmer silhouettes,’ WWD reported. Buyers said that the collections were packed with “statement-making outerwear, fabulous furs, form-fitting dresses and fantastic accessories.’ Dolce & Gabbana took the top spot, as it did a year ago in Milan. In all, Milan Fashion Week garnered 53 million page views on Style.com, a 51 percent increase over last year.
DOLCE & GABBANA
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Gisele Bündchen opened Dolce & Gabbana’s show — an homage to the “Metallic Woman” — striding in wearing a tight-fitting, futuristic dress. Although the designers went heavy on metallics and sparkle, they also countered with plenty of black, tailored looks, such as their wearable dresses and lean suit combinations.
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Defined as “fake classic” by Miuccia Prada herself, the fall Prada collection included simple silhouettes, shift and sack dresses, along with shell-and-skirt motifs. Hardly mundane, however. She also worked with weighty fabrics of wild colors, such as bluish pink, orange and emerald green. WWD deemed the collection a “confounding manipulation of classics.”
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Christopher Bailey’s dark medieval motif was emphasized by a number of brilliant pieces, especially his outerwear grouping: He sent out structured belted coats made of wool and showed off stadium jackets and bold parkas. In addition, Bailey mixed moody knits with short skirts and matched bustier dresses over skinny Ts.
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It’s a more polite side of sexy for Donatella Versace this fall, and the transition was flawless. Models donning berets, egg-shaped silhouettes and billowing pieces showed off a sultry elegance. She also showed an impressive array of dresses and suits in a mix of tweeds and wool, while evening silk dresses contained embellishments of square embroideries and chains.
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Frida Giannini’s fall collection had a Forties ring to it. Models evoked the actress Veronica Lake and pieces such as assorted aviator looks, retro knickers and mile-high boots represented the collection well. Giannini countered this jaunty side with “pretty silk dresses in a bluebell print derived from an unused pattern she discovered in the archives,” WWD reported.
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Consuelo Castiglioni’s fall collection included “plenty of cool-girl house favorites: roomy tunic dresses, cocoon shapes cinched at the waist and stiff, full coats and jackets,” WWD said. Fur showed up everywhere in the collection, as well, from shrugs to mittens to trimming along various pieces.
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Two different sides of Giorgio Armani’s personality were revealed in his collection for fall: The ultrafeminine side was characterized by bubble skirts, embroidered tops, metallic skirts and belted dresses, while his devilish side showed off printed knot-front jackets, thick patent belts and glittered sleeves secured with arm garters.
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Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana showed off a nice mixture of retail-ready wear, including the floral-print blouses and metallic knits, against more daring pieces, like the oversized patent leather bags, black velvet pantsuits and flirty minidresses. They also spread what they call their signature leopard print throughout the collection.
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Working in blush, coral, crimson and flesh tones, Tomas Maier sent out plenty of pretty looks, including day dresses of wool crepe and cashmere, a wool crepe suit jacket and flirtatious full-skirted suits. Evening’s inspiration, “Puritan sensibilities come undone,” came undone just right in the form of a black bustier gown over filmy nude veiling.
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“Bye-bye, space cadet!” WWD said. “Karl Lagerfeld has found your replacement, a girl who revels in earthly delights.” Lagerfeld moved away from metallics and shine for fall and focused on gorgeous fur combinations. He cinched short fur coats at the waist, added fur to his handbags and even sprouted fur from the sleeves of his creations.
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Breaking away from her angelic side, Alberta Ferretti ventured down a darker road for fall. She went oversized and heavy on her embellishments, showing huge black beads on collars and cuffs, along with ostrich feathers on coats. Her signature frothy silk dresses were still in abundance, however — this time, they came out strapless and more fitted.
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With Sharon Stone cheering from the front row, Roberto Cavalli’s wares showed plenty of sex appeal, including lace coats and silk day dresses with lots of pattern, plunge and drape. “And for when the sun goes down,” WWD said, “it was all shine in their gold, beaded, haltered, ruched and zipped glory.”
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Angela Missoni chose to work the softer side of confident for fall, showing off a subdued palette against loose cardigans, easy blazers, knee-length skirts and relaxed trousers. She went curvy with her dresses, adding knits, patterns and bold colors.
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Raf Simons’ Jil Sander collection for fall “was as beautiful as it was exacting,” WWD said. Building on last season’s strong lineup, Simons utilized a palette of blues, purples, bronze and metallics and sent out sleek dresses with vertical darts or knotted necklines — other standouts included savvy pants matched with capes or sleek jackets.
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Proclaiming in his notes, “Change is in the air,” Giorgio Armani sent out draped skirts, A-line silhouettes and baby-doll dresses for fall — all in an Easter egg-hued palette. He also worked to loosen up tailored looks by showing flared jackets and baggy coats.
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Embellished velvet and silk charmeuse dresses, slim darted skirts and draped gowns were on tap for Anna Molinari’s Blumarine collection for fall. She threw in other features, as well, such as the ballooned sleeves, leopard prints, opera-length gloves and floral brocades, all for good measure.
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The House of Pucci is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, and for fall, Matthew Williamson chose to mix subdued, Modish looks together with wildly embellished ones. He started with the simple color-blocked dress and cleanly cut coat (done up in tangerine and pomegranate hues), and then came the rug tassels, allover sequins and suede fringes.
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Roberto Cavalli’s more affordable, denim-heavy line breaks into the top 20. This particular collection oozed a dark, sci-fi motif. He sent out paneled black leather jackets and superskinny pants, and his glossy silver jumpsuit contained sequins all over. Knits and furs were voluminous, as were his bubble skirts.
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Though Rossella Jardini framed the back of the Moschino runway with a huge peace sign, there wasn’t necessarily much hippie-ness to the collection. The clothes were all wearable, including the gold jacquard coat, the cropped cardigan, some cozy furs and a sassy cocktail dress.
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Alessandro Dell’Acqua dropped from 16th place last season but still made the top 20. The designer called his collection, “Body of Evidence with anatomical protections and ergonomic cuts.” He played with knitwear and also worked in peekaboo slits and graphic cutouts to dresses.