MILAN — Major fashion houses made the real difference in Milan this season.
In particular, Prada, Bottega Veneta and Fendi charmed retailers with their collections, while the Gucci show captured attention with its experiential set unveiling the behind-the-scenes of a fashion show.
Despite the concerns related to the coronavirus outbreak a few miles outside Milan, which pushed Giorgio Armani to hold the show for his namesake brand behind closed doors and forced the cancellation of a number of events, the city’s fashion week, which ended on Sunday, was seen as a success.
“It was a very energetic Milan Fashion Week for us. There is such an amazing spirit in Milan right now. Wonderful momentum buoyed by heavyweight brands,” said Nordstrom vice president, designer fashion director Jeffrey Kalinsky.
“I think that companies returned to work in a very good way, giving the right attention to design and craftsmanship,” said Tsum fashion director Riccardo Tortato.
Despite the strong season, there were a few complaints. Holt Renfrew president Mario Grauso focused on the need to revise the schedule, which he believes is “too spread out. The shows and presentations should be condensed into a tighter schedule to accommodate everyone’s time more efficiently.”
Trend-wise, Milan Fashion Week rediscovered a refreshing sense of reality, where impeccable constructions were peppered with exquisite decorations that added a creative, luxurious touch.
“In a country that has often given us un-shy sexy maximalism, and after the glittering high jinks in London, there was something which was simply, and comfortingly… ‘real’ in Milan,” said Bergdorf Goodman women’s fashion director Linda Fargo. “In the face of global overload, and too much everything, saying more with less is feeling right and Milan was on point here.”
According to retailers, an overall sense of luxe sophistication emerged from the catwalks, which were dominated by neutral colors and black. An extensive use of leather and fringe also stood out as a key trend this season, along with revisited tailoring and miniature accessories.
Here, retailers’ views on the Milan season:
Roopal Patel, Saks’ fashion director
Favorite collections: Bottega Veneta was one of the most anticipated shows of the season and Daniel Lee delivered a knockout collection with a stellar lineup of ready-to-wear, bags and shoes that will excite our customers. The fringe shearling coats, the knit dressing and the chic sequin gowns stood out — not to mention the fringe pouch bag. Daniel Lee continues to push the Bottega Veneta vision forward but maintains the codes of the house: luxury, design and quality. Miuccia Prada gave us one of the best shows of the week. All of the favorite Prada staples — from car wash pleat skirts, fringe, structured tailoring and embroidery — were prominent in this collection. Fendi was a standout this week. The mix of leather and lace, amazing statement coats and evening fringe feels polished and inspiring. Brunello Cucinelli is the original master of beige and neutrals. The handwork in the knits and luxe fabrications all work together for a beautiful fall palette. Simon Holloway delivered an elegant and timeless collection in a sea of camel and gray for Agnona. The camel-hair coats, luxe knits and effortless take on minimal dressing feels right for these times. His star is on the rise and the work in this collection proves it!
Best venue: Everything about Gucci’s show felt so modern and original, from the WhatsApp invitation to Alessandro Michele opening up backstage for all of us to see. The show was innovative and immersive with fashion from all angles, which was the perfect balance of content in real time and for Instagram.
Top trends: Neutral shades, leather, fringe, statement outerwear.
Talent scouting: Carolina Castiglioni has been under the radar as she develops her Plan C label. Her take on masculine and feminine as well as her sense of silhouette and color sets the foundation for this growing brand.
Must-have item: The Bottega Veneta fringe coat and fringe pouch.
Say bye-bye to: The casual look. The fall season is all about getting dressed up.
Jeffrey Kalinsky, Nordstrom vice president, designer fashion director
Favorite collections: Bottega Veneta, Fendi, Gucci, Prada and Jil Sander.
Top trends: Nineties minimalism as experienced on the runways of Bottega Veneta and Jil Sander seemed to be one of the strongest statements of the week. The fringe party at Prada and Bottega Veneta was an exciting trend to emerge this season. Wonderful tailoring was everywhere, shearling and pops of color all will create the excitement we need. We are looking for the kind of passion we found in Milan for our customers.
Best venue: There were fabulous experiential shows this week. Bottega Veneta, Fendi and Gucci led the way. The Moncler Genius show in a warehouse on the way to Linate was fabulous and ended with a Rick Owens collaboration rave.
Must-have item: The must-have item is a Bottega Veneta clutch.
Mario Grauso, president at Holt Renfrew
Favorite collections: Prada blurred the line between masculine and feminine with extreme grace. Oversize men’s wear shapes mixed with fringe and sheer organza were highlights in a collection that also included miniature accessories with sci-fi headbands. The secret achievement was all of the recycled nylon. Fendi was a trip through a women’s dressing room, literally. The pink velvet wave upholstery brought you directly into her residence, while the feminine shapes were made even more girly with lace, puff sleeves, belted waists and full skirts.
Best venue: Gucci’s revolving window into the backstage process was beautifully executed and a great twist.
Top trends: Men’s wear tailoring in heritage tweeds and plaids was seen in oversize blazers, wide-leg trousers, or sleek pencil skirts at Prada, Max Mara and Tod’s. Miniature accessories were found on almost every runway, from Fendi’s tiny bag charms to the satin fringed micro bags worn as jewelry at Prada. Designers played with the masculine/feminine balance, showing men’s tailored jackets paired with ladylike pleated skirts or lace dresses accentuated at the waist with statement belts. Extreme shapes like the ruffled sleeves at Max Mara and the puffed shoulders at Fendi proved proportion and silhouette was an important message from Milan.
Must-have items: Prada’s statement accessories, like the layered micro bags, beaded fringe scarf and metal headband. Gucci’s mini Jackie bag, the leather harness styled on top of dresses and coats, and the black tulle Eighties’ prom dress. Fendi’s knit baguette with fringe shoulder strap and the belt with micro mini bag charms; Jil Sander double-faced coat; Brunello Cucinelli leather shirt; Loro Piana argyle cashmere turtleneck; Moncler x Rimowa trolley bag with LED screen, and Bottega Veneta’s shearling jackets and twisted minaudières.
Say bye-bye to: The Milan Fashion Week schedule is too spread out. The shows and presentations should be condensed into a tighter schedule to accommodate everyone’s time more efficiently.
Erica Russo, Bloomingdale’s vice president and fashion director of accessories and beauty.
Favorite collections: At Gucci you felt like you were part of something special. From the clothing’s most intricate details to the overall show production, there was an energy bursting with creativity, entertainment and beauty. It was an experience not soon to be forgotten. Fendi’s intimate setting with blush pink seating and luxurious fabrications helped support the overall feminine vibe of the collection. It proved to be modern and powerful. Bottega Veneta continues to be one of the hottest tickets in town with everyone excited to see what Daniel Lee will do next. His execution of knitwear was some of the best and he continues to produce coveted new styles in handbags and shoes. Each designer collaboration at Moncler Genius was memorable but Jonathan Anderson and Richard Quinn were delightful in the way they stayed true to their own DNA while working seamlessly together with Moncler’s.
Best venue: Società del Giardino for the Philosophy by Lorenzo Serafini show. I loved the overall ambience of old-world Milan, complete with stunning chandeliers and ornate wall décor.
Top trends: This week’s top trends were knitwear, leather dressing in coats, pants and skirts, as well as bold chain details on clothing and accessories. The suiting trend also continues to be strong.
Must-have item: Some of the must-have items are a daytime clutch, statement pieces with fringe including coats, skirts or bags, and a knee-high boot. Preferably one that slouches.
Say bye-bye to: Overall the feeling is one of more sophisticated dressing and styling. We’re seeing less logos and streetwear.
Elizabeth von der Goltz, Net-a-porter global buying director
Favorite collections: Gucci, Prada, Moncler Genius and Bottega Veneta.
Best venue: The Aquazzura presentation was held in Palazzo Clerici where the ceilings were awe-inspiring frescoes by Tiepolo.
Top trends: Leather was a key trend during Milan as seen at Salvatore Ferragamo, Fendi and Versace. Greige has dominated and is the new beige; Fendi and Prada both showcased a number of head-to-toe gray looks. Strictly Suiting: we noticed suiting updates via cinched and strict, hourglass shapes as seen at Bottega Veneta, Fendi and Prada. And last but by no means least we loved the Disco Dressing trend as seen at Versace and Bottega Veneta — we loved the selection of dramatic silver and metallic sequined looks.
Must-have Item: Everything and anything Bottega Veneta.
Talent scouting: Super-impressed with the shoe collection by Ada Kokosar at Paciotti.
Lisa Aiken, Moda Operandi fashion director
Favorite collections: It was a standout collection from Prada (which obviously preceded the very exciting news), Daniel Lee continues to refine his point of view at Bottega Veneta with evolution and a few surprises, we loved Jil Sander’s softer take on minimalism, Moncler Genius x JW Anderson is no doubt a hit collaboration, and Etro updated their signature Bohemia with a flash of glam shine.
Best venue: The best set was Versace’s incredible digital runway, it made quite an impact.
Top trends: There was an abundance of amazing outerwear options from Prada’s scaled-up blazers to Bottega Veneta’s long-line trenchcoats, lots of black with a few flashes of bold color, texture play through fringing, super-sized knits and sheer organza. On the accessory front, lots of heavy soled lifestyle boots that we believe will commercially replace the long-running success of the sneaker, and designers are going to extremes when it comes to scale in handbag collections.
Must-have Item: Bottega Veneta’s stack heel boots, Prada’s nylon puffer blazers.
Lydia King, fashion director at Harrods
Favorite collections: Jil Sander, Fendi, Prada and Bottega Veneta. In addition, the Moncler Genius showcase was a standout once again.
Best venue: Prada stadium/sunken pool party had an electric atmosphere. The Versace digital catwalk screen mirroring the front row and creating a backdrop of moving graphics during the show made for great social fodder. Gucci’s epic backstage, front-of-stage show set.
Top trends: Fringing, leather on leather, embellishment and allover sparkle.
Must-have item: Bottega Veneta fringed bag and chunky square toe boots, Jil Sander supersize wool wrap scarf, Fendi charm belts and leather shopping bag and the Moncler x Rimowa suitcase with customizable digital LED text.
Say bye-bye to: Swap trainers and kitten heels for chunky boots.
Heather Gramston, head of women’s wear buying at Browns
Favorite collections: Jil Sander, Prada and Bottega Veneta.
Best venue: Backstage became the show at Gucci. Alessandro Michele revealed the backstage process in a giant fashion spectacle as we entered through hair and makeup, then watched the models dressing on a rotating carousel. Daniel Lee once again did not disappoint. Bottega’s show set in a palazzo with a string quartet was a personal favorite of mine.
Top trends: Fringing was everywhere: from beaded fringe detail on tailoring as well as statement shoes at Prada and long fringe detailing at Bottega. Gray is the new black. This shade dominated the runway at both Prada and Fendi. Full leather looks were prominent at every show. Patchwork outerwear at Marni. Over-the-knee and thigh-high boots are an absolute must have: Bottega’s version was the absolute dream.
Talent scouting: Act No. 1, which is new to Browns for spring 2020. The talented duo is going from strength to strength.
Must-have Item: Prada’s gray belted blazer.
Say bye-bye to: Puffer jackets. Quilting is the update and we can already see this is going to be huge next season.
Riccardo Tortato, Tsum fashion director
Favorite collections: Fendi showed a new, very different, intriguing approach that made the collection highly interesting; Jil Sander was super cool and it had a very strong identity; Bottega Veneta.
Best venue: Gucci
Top trends: There were beautiful coats everywhere, from Bottega Veneta to Missoni. Feminine heels. I also saw a great return to high quality and creativity.
Must-have item: Fendi’s backwards headband.
Say bye-bye to: Jeans
Tiffany Hsu, Mytheresa fashion buying director
Favorite collections: My Milan favorites were Jil Sander, Bottega Veneta and Prada.
Best venue: The settings at Prada and Gucci were amazing.
Top trends: The dominant themes for me were black is the new black, fringe detailing, luxe tailoring and winter whites.
Talent Scouting: Eera is turning fine jewelry into something fun and more modern, it’s a cool girl‘s fine-jewelry brand. Tubici offers a fun bag brand — the brand is all conceived around fun party bags.
Must-have items: I loved the rubber sole boots and fringe bags by Bottega Veneta.
Say bye-bye to: I don’t think any trend really goes away and what goes around comes around. But I think overly printed looks are probably not so much in favor at the moment.
Nathalie Lucas Verdier, general merchandise manager, women’s apparel, at Printemps
Favorite collections: The tailoring game is always strong in Milan. Prada, Jil Sander and Fendi delivered the best collections.
Best venue: Gucci’s behind-the-scenes and open backstage was probably the most immersive and impactful experience, showcasing the hidden work of makeup and hair artists, but also show dressers.
Top trends: There was a strong powerful feminine vibe all over Milan. Femininity and bourgeoise silhouettes were really strong with an edgy take at Prada or an uber-chic version at Fendi, with a major focus on skirt-jacket combos. Tailoring and work on volumes and proportions are still big, as seen at Jil Sander or Bottega Veneta. There were a lot of cut-outs, shoulders plays and beautiful adornments like fringing or slits to emphasize femininity. Last but not least, “black is the new black” and replaced the beige overdose of this fall. Most shows opened with black total looks!
Talent scouting: Calcaterra showcased pure lines and elegant volumes offering a modern wardrobe in beautiful tonal shades.
Must-have item: Puffy padded outerwear (the jacket with the minaudière belt at Prada or the super-cool beige one worn by Kaia Gerber at Tod’s) and also a pencil skirt suit (Prada and Fendi offered the most interesting ones). For shoes, chunky combat boots are still big and we liked the comeback of Mary Janes with a gum sole (Prada, Versace). The new Bottega Veneta clutch adorned with very long fringes is also a showstopper.
Say bye-bye to: Ath-leisure. This season it’s go chic or go home.
Sybille Darricarrère Lunel, buying director for women’s wear at Galeries Lafayette
Favorite collections: Jil Sander
Best venue: Jil Sander
Top trends: Caramel, off-white, brown and camel leather, sequins.
Must-have item: A blazer and Bottega Veneta accessories — both shoes and bags.
Say bye-bye to: Streetwear
Jennifer Cuvillier, style director at Le Bon Marché
Favorite collections: Etro, Gucci, Jil Sander
Best venue: Moncler, which was inspired by an art biennale, and Marni’s meditation on slow life.
Top trends: Beautiful, elegant slow life trends with Japanese influences; suiting and coats inspired by kimonos; beautiful leather accessories and comfortable shoes from brands like Agnona, Jil Sander, Loro Piana. A muted color palette of beige, gray, dark blue and a focus on black with tone-on-tone silhouettes.
Talent scouting: Italian new talents such as Colville and Plan C, as well as La Double J, with their collaborations this season with Acqua di Parma and Valextra.
Must-have item: Multifunctional, utilitarian bags and accessories seen at Fendi, Bulgari, Loro Piana, Valextra, Bottega Veneta, perfect for daily urban use with spaces for phones and water bottles.
Federica Montelli, head of fashion at Rinascente
Favorite Collections: Fendi, Bottega Veneta and Jil Sander were by far my favorite collections! Gucci was a work of art and probably offered the best atmosphere. Marni’s quirky collage show was a standout. I particularly appreciated the debut of Walter Chiapponi at Tod’s. Other outstanding collections in the overall chic, timeless and artisanal vibe were Salvatore Ferragamo, Max Mara and Calcaterra. Moncler Genius is each season more and more interesting both in terms of show production and designer choice, this season with J.W. Anderson.
Top trends: All-leather looks continue to be a not-so-new styling option. The strongest new trend was jewel details in clothes and shoes, including chains, rhinestones, beads, which were seen on most, if not all, runways. In general, we continue to witness a more elegant and grown-up look. Eveningwear blended with daywear through special details, like transparencies, open backs, and all things shiny. Padded materials, both quilted or smooth, were a must, together with fringes, which are my new favorite “craze”. Tailored midi-skirts were seen everywhere, the most perfect ones were actually made of fringes. Outerwear was the focus, and capes and ponchos took the crown. For shoes, we saw a return of the ankle strap pump, together with sock nappa boots, cut both below or above the knee. Rubber boots were a guilty pleasure. Bags were more oversize than ever.
Best Venue: Gucci’s cinematic backstage show and Moncler Genius, where the production becomes bigger and bigger each season.
Must-have items: One of the many fringed clutches at Bottega Veneta. A cape coat by Max Mara. A sock-boot from Bottega Veneta and a colored rubber boot from Prada. Colored tights, as seen at Prada or Tod’s.
Say bye bye to: Sneakers. We saw less chunky shoes on the runway, where feminine styles and tighter boots took center stage.
Natalie Kingham, fashion and buying director at Matchesfashion
Favorite Collections: Jil Sander was elegant and refined and Bottega Veneta continues to impress.
Best Venue: Gucci – it was a true celebration of every detail that makes up a show.
Top Trends: Tassels as seen at Prada and timeless dressing as seen at Jil Sander.
Talent Scouting: Zanini, launching with us for SS20, Marco Zanini’s third collection did not disappoint, with elevated fabrics and a beautiful attention to detail.
Must-have Item: Daniel Lee continues to reinvent the in house intrecciato and the soft wool bags were a key highlight.
What are you saying goodbye to? Stilettos.