MILAN — Buyers couldn’t get enough of the new, more minimal, tailored and toned-down styles seen here for spring, and praised the kaleidoscope of color from brands such as La DoubleJ. The big show moments wowed them, too, including J.Lo’s surprise appearance at Versace in the now-legendary green dress and Daniel Lee’s lineup at Bottega Veneta.
“Milan loved its showmanship as much as the shows and collections themselves,” said Linda Fargo, senior vice president, women’s fashion director and store presentation at Bergdorf Goodman. “J.Lo reloaded for Versace was extraordinary, even by seasoned veteran standards. Trends which resonated for us were the continuation of ‘beautility,’ especially the jumpsuit, new neutrals — gray and spice tones — [and] all the softened tailoring. We’re loving the emergence of artisinal here. Net net, it’s clear the brands here know who they are and where they’re going.”
Maria Milano, head of womenswear at Harrods, said it’s time to bid farewell to the fussy, frilly and floral. “The new mood is all about effortless empowerment,” she said.
Here, the buyers pick their favorite shows and highlight the key trends.
Elizabeth von der Goltz, global buying director of Net-a-porter:
Favorite collections: Bottega Veneta, Versace and Gucci. The Gucci collection this season was incredibly wearable. It was a tale of two stories be that the more masculine tailoring (the three-piece suits were a highlight) or the more feminine, and in some cases, sexy dresses and eveningwear looks; a square neckline, a pencil skirt or a lingerie dress were all items that we know will resonate with our customer, but with that Gucci twist.
Best venue: Salvatore Ferragamo at the Rotonda della Besana. We also loved Six Gallery, where we hosted our Milan Fashion Week #incredibleshoes cocktail on Thursday night.
Top trends: The Nineties: It’s been a return to the Nineties this MFW, from the minimalism at Bottega Veneta and Prada to the vintage glamour of the Nineties at Versace, where the Killer Black Dress is the must-have Item. Neutral hues: It’s been a sea of neutrals during MFW, from the tonal gray Army at Max Mara, the chocolate brown at Prada and the unexpected pops of orange at Bottega Veneta. Spring knitwear: From the second-skin polo tops at Prada, the matching twinsets at Ferragamo and the deconstructed fine knits at Bottega, designers are really addressing transitional dressing for that buy now-wear now appeal.
Must-have items: All the accessories at Bottega Veneta had that cult accessory appeal; it is rare that in one show collection so many new bags and shoes are showcased down the runway, but this was standout. From the Supersized Intrecciato Hobo Bag to the Fold Over Clutch, and in shoes it was the Twisted Double Strap Mule, all in a thoughtful color palette of neutrals with pops of pale blue and orange.
What are you saying goodbye to?: Beige is no longer just the neutral color to know, it’s all about unexpected hues of chocolate, rust and amber paired with interesting pops of colors.
Roopal Patel, senior vice president and fashion director of Saks Fifth Avenue:
Favorite collections: Versace. Donatella and Jennifer Lopez broke the Internet again and brought the entire audience to their feet when J.Lo walked in that iconic jungle-print dress. It had all the elements of what makes Versace so iconic. Beautiful fashion, star power, glamour and the drama of fashion. Daniel Lee at Bottega Veneta delivered a knockout collection and that moment we had all been waiting for. He focused on bringing the codes of the house forward with design, luxury, quality and refined elegance. Prada: Mrs. Prada’s return to purity, elegance and simple dressing is refreshing. We loved the boxy blazers, the gauzy dresses, and the chic update on the leather suit in gold and orange. Her effortless evening with embroidery on flowy cocktail dresses is perfect for any summer destination. The handbags were a standout, from the bucket bag to the straw bags. Other standout collections in Milan were Etro, Brunello Cucinelli, Gianvito Rossi and Aquazzura.
Best venue: La DoubleJ’s festive garden party at the Four Seasons transported us back to summer.
Top trends: The return to simple dressing; clean lines; the new neutrals; trench dressing; utility; the short; the boxy blazer; sharp tailoring; fluid dresses; knit dressing; boho glam; pastels; punchy brights; color blocking; jungle prints; orange; scarf ties; leather; denim; embroidery; glam cocktail; oversize bags; the shoulder; the clutch; the straw bucket/tote; the floppy hat.
Must-have items: Anything Bottega Veneta — the ready-to-wear, the bags, the shoes.
What are you saying goodbye to?: Casual dressing. Spring is a chic and polished season.
Maria Milano, head of womenswear at Harrods:
Favorite collections: Bottega Veneta’s spring-summer show was even more desirable than the first under the direction of Daniel Lee, incorporating feminine silhouettes and soft leather that exuded wearable confidence. This, of course, alongside a host of covetable new bags, including the Iconic Pouch on a chain. Bottega holds its reign as the hottest brand as Lee continues to design with the modern woman in mind. We also loved Prada, bringing a stripped-back, pure and wearable approach to its runway, Agnona for its understated, chic silhouettes and muted tones and Gucci for its experimental color combinations and new bag and shoe statements. And, how could we forget about Versace and THAT J.Lo dress, which completely broke the Internet!
Best venue: We loved Missoni’s outdoor pool party, staged at a vast public pool at dusk and Prada’s Fondazione setting, featuring colorful, glossy painted tiles by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, which set the scene for Miuccia’s archive lineup. Gucci’s show at its headquarters in Milan offered an ultramodern feel to the collection with the models traveling and walking on conveyor belt-style runways, bringing relevance and futurism to the runway.
Top trends: This season we have seen a shift toward a cleaner, more pared-back aesthetic. In Milan, we saw a focus on relaxed suiting in a varied array of fabrics and even featuring waistcoats. Shorts, either as part of a suit or in luxe leather have come to the fore and generally tonal dressing has remained at the top of the agenda, with muted, earthy hues, such as camels, khakis and grays leading the way. Pops of bright, citrus shades added a fresh summer twist. Jumpsuits and boilersuits prevailed and looked especially luxe by classicists Loro Piana, Salvatore Ferragamo and Max Mara. Finally, the Seventies are enjoying a Renaissance, as seen by the flower power fabrics at Fendi and the retro hues and chunky platforms at Gucci.
Talent scouting: We’re incredibly excited to have picked up La DoubleJ, whose bright prints, voluminous designs and playful details have us dreaming of summer already. We have our eye on a few other brands as well, so watch this space.
Must-have items: We’re lusting after everything by Bottega Veneta, but especially the oversize Intrecciato Nappa cross-body bags.
What are you saying goodbye to?: Fussy, frilly and floral — the new mood is all about effortless empowerment.
Mario Grauso, president, Holt Renfrew:
Favorite collections: Prada, Bottega Veneta, Jil Sander and Gucci.
Best venue: Jil Sander at the Accademia di Brera
Top trends: Statement leather pieces like the oversized boxer short at Bottega Veneta or a tailored jacket from Brunello Cucinelli; bright and bold prints in yellow, pink, and green, from Fendi’s tropical print skirt suits to Marni’s hand-painted floral garden prints; candy-colored pastels done in lightweight cashmere at Agnona or silk organza dresses from Gucci; tailored separates in softer and more fluid silhouettes from Jil Sander and Loro Piana.
Must-have items: The colorful, woven Bottega Veneta mule with an oversize intrecciato hobo bag; Prada’s straw bucket bag and navy coat with silver sequin embroidery; Fendi’s micro-beaded bags; the ivory draped silk top with sequin embroidery from Jil Sander, and the peach slip dress with lace insets from Gucci.
Linda Fargo, senior vice president, women’s fashion and store presentation director at Bergdorf Goodman:
Favorite collections: Bottega Veneta was the white-hot ticket of the week, and it didn’t disappoint us in the least, delivering on some of the most desirable must-have pieces of the season. The modern quilted venue and presentation were perfectly paired, without canceling each other out in the least. Jil Sander’s striking artistic pyramids of stone were also a perfect presentation and collection union, and one of our top picks of the All City season this far. Dolce hit a lot of notes our clients will want, from Summer Black to its playful prints, safari and scarf dressing. Gucci was genius, hitting reset and cleaning house. Prada went back to quintessential Prada and felt fashion essential. Etro was a welcome romantic mood as a counterpoint to all the cleaner utility and tailored looks.
Riccardo Tortato, Tsum fashion director:
Favorite collections: Jil Sander, Bottega Veneta, Versace and Gucci.
Top trends: I’m happy to see that designers generally embraced colors for summer. Then I saw a great focus on shoulders, spanning from Balenciaga-like boxy to puffy.
Best venue: The setup of the Gucci show.
Must-have items: The Bottega Veneta intrecciato sandals will be the must-have item of the season and the Salvatore Ferragamo pointed-toe ballerinas. I also hope that Gucci will sell the whips, which could be great gadgets to have in store.
Is your open-to-buy up or stable?: It’s up. With Paris, Milan is the most important market for us where to shop, also because Tsum strongly believes in the high-end value of Made in Italy.
Federica Montelli, head of fashion at Rinascente:
Favorite collections: Bottega Veneta was hands down my favorite, full of covetable wait list-worthy items. Jil Sander was my second favorite, together with Prada, a newly sharp Gucci and Etro’s new direction, which has convinced everyone.
Top trends: Transparencies in dresses, fun layers also in pant suits, which was my favorite rendition. Sharp linear silhouettes, a strong focus on necklines and how perfectly a hemline falls, open backs: It was all about minimalism and proportions. Tailoring, and especially short suits were omnipresent, with a touch of masculine details like vests or ties. All the designers made an interesting use of color, from Marco de Vincenzo’s “gradient” show, to all-white and cream ensembles, cool gray and pastels at Max Mara, and pastels at Fendi. Among colors, pale blue made a mark. This season marks a more-than-ever decisive return of the feminine shoe. No more sneakers, yes to minimalistic flats, heeled sandals, all in very soft, often knitted nappa. Mini bags are still there, opposed to giant hobos and totes. Last but not least, the miniskirt is back. Sustainability was the strongest underlying theme in shows and presentations.
Best venue: I loved both Jil Sander and Missoni. The former was the first to show at Pinacoteca di Brera, with a lunar, all-white setup in the courtyard. Missoni at Bagni Misteriosi had a really special atmosphere in a warm still-summery night.
Must-have items: Everything from Bottega Veneta, but if you have to choose I would go for the giant hobo and the knotted sandals (possibly in pale blue). The mini-bag necklaces and the padded miniskirt and jacket combo at Fendi. A tailored pant suit. One of the beautiful embroidered coats at Prada.
Is your open-to-buy up or stable?: Up! We are experiencing strong growth and an ever-growing interest for designers. We feel that this Milan fashion week was particularly strong, and we will invest on Italian brands.
Pascale Camart, head buyer for women’s wear at Galeries Lafayette:
Favorite collections: Fendi was very refreshing: There was a great harmony of colors matching so well with the Seventies flower print. Bottega was both conceptual and very feminine and sexy, for real ladies. Jil Sander, a nice classical wardrobe for chic women. And Prada is still very much an Italian brand for Italian ladies.
Best venue: La DoubleJ in the garden of the Four Seasons hotel.
Top trends: The bright colors and how they are combined together (bright green with bright pink) and earthy colors, with beige top of the list. There was a very tropical and Seventies “peace and love” mood, but made chic.
Talent scouting: There are not so many new talents in Milan; we found them more in London.
Must-have item: A bright colored bag or shoe on a monochrome silhouette. Wide paper bag pants and long shirt dresses. There was a lot of leather in the shows — let’s hope it was grape leather.
Erica Russo, vice president and fashion director, accessories and beauty, at Bloomingdale’s
Favorite collections: My favorite collections were Bottega Veneta, Versace and La DoubleJ. Brunello Cucinelli and Gucci continue to inspire.
Best venue: Marco de Vincenzo’s venue was outdoors at the renovated Darsena. It was a stunning backdrop on a gorgeous afternoon.
Top trends: We love the continuation of colored leathers in a whisper thin weight in styles from blazers to Bermuda shorts. We also love the pastel color palette of pale blue, pinks and yellow as well as exaggerated sleeves, short suits and jumpsuits.
Must-have item: Bermuda shorts in a suit or as a stand-alone style. Oversize soft hobo and totes are a must-have for handbags and shoe toe sandals for footwear.
Lisa Aiken, fashion director of Moda Operandi:
Favorite collections: Bottega Veneta was the absolute highlight of Milan. From a commercial perspective, it is hugely influential right now. We have no doubt that the desire is at fever pitch and will continue. I loved how slick Versace was. Aside from the J.Lo moment, the collection was fantastic. The opening looks were really powerful. There is this whole movement of women being sexy, powerful and unapologetic, which came through. Everything you want in a Prada collection, Miuccia delivered this season. It was a mix of reference points and full of great individual pieces that were styled well. Prada is known as a skirt brand and this season Miuccia really refined her silhouettes. Some crucial components included the amazing raw silk, the geometric knit group, the black leather suit, and some of the Seventies tailorings. Etro was really beautiful and free-spirited. It was exactly what would want from them. Other collections I liked included Attico and Dolce & Gabbana.
Best venue: The Prada Foundation and the Rem Koolhaas set.
Top trends: A key message from the week echoed at Bottega is this dark, sensual, sexy, sharp femininity. A Nineties minimalist vibe came through, particularly from the shift in neutrals coming to gray from beige. Also, tailoring continues; whether that’s a Seventies tailored blazer with a wide lapel or an unexpected neckline.
Talent scouting: Dodo Bar Or has hit reset on the brand and it looks epic. It was very languid and beautiful.
Must-have item: On and off the runway, there is no denying Daniel Lee’s presence throughout the week. From his collection, the new twist mule as well as the chain handle ‘Cloud’ clutch are the must-haves from the next collection.
Laura Larbalestier, group fashion buying director at Harvey Nichols:
Favorite collections: Jil Sander and Plan C.
Best venue: Jil Sander and Missoni, for very different reasons.
Top trends: Minimalism.
Talent scouting: Plan C. I can’t wait to launch the first concept in the U.K. in February.
Must-have item: Bottega Veneta clutch.
What are you saying goodbye to?: Streetwear.