Backstage at Prada RTW Spring 2019

MILAN — It was a strange season with Gucci and Bottega Veneta temporarily out of the picture, but that only left room for Milan’s other megabrands to grab more attention. And that’s just what they did. Asked for their thoughts about the spring 2019 season, which wrapped up here on Sunday night, buyers pointed to Prada, Fendi and Missoni, which staged a big 65th anniversary celebration with a performance by Michael Nyman, as the highlights of the week, with some gutsy shows.

“Much of what we saw was exceptional,” said Linda Fargo, senior vice president, women’s fashion director and store presentation at Bergdorf Goodman. “[Miuccia] Prada proved again that she can always surpass herself with a collection that not only delivered a modern, free-thinking woman’s wardrobe but also broke down into plenty of desirable pieces.”

Buyers were also loving Plan C, the new brand launched by Carolina Castiglioni. “It had a beautiful sense of color and layering — great quality with the essence of masculine and feminine style,” said Jennifer Cuvillier, style director, Le Bon Marché. Retailers were also wooed by a fresh breeze of femininity, with ruffles, tiers and soft tailoring sweeping across the runways. “The season of streetwear is over,” declared’s Riccardo Tortato.

Much as they gushed about the season, most open-to-buys appear to be flat — and there’s still Paris to come. Here’s what they had to say.


Mario Grauso, president, Holt Renfrew:

Favorite collections: Fendi and Prada

Top trends: Neutrals (beige and khaki greens); utilitarian bags; psychedelic prints; boyfriend blazers; spring outerwear; waist lines; sheer and transparency; white; athletic inspirations. We are excited to see the return of the sexy shoe.

Must-have item: Prada always has must-have items to lust over from the headband that every model wore, the nylon collaboration with Kazuyo Sejima, and any of the printed skirts. The PVC Fendi slipcover for the Peekaboo updated with the utility pockets. Any of the mixed printed dresses at Versace. A Simone Rocha coat from the Moncler Genius collection.

Best venue: Prada at the Prada Foundation

Say goodbye to: Dad trainers

Is your open-to-buy up or stable? Our open-to-buy for the season in Milan is stable.


Roopal Patel, fashion director, Saks Fifth Avenue:

Favorite collections: Prada’s explosive collection was full of creativity and vision. She showed us the dream of fashion in the collection presented. Other highlights included Fendi, Versace, Attico, Moncler Genius, Gianvito Rossi and Brunello Cucinelli.

Top trends: The bright colors, tie-dye, neon, neutrals, transparency, PVC, trench coats and trench dressing, shorts, denim and fringe.

Best venue: The Fondazione Prada, with Verner Panton plastic chairs and longitude/ l’attitude coordinates. You just go into another zone when you are in Miuccia’s world.

Talent scouting: We are seeing a lot of great resources in handbags and shoes. Very exciting to see a new lineup of talent in emerging brands.

Must-have item: One of Prada’s tie-dye pieces: a skirt, dress, short or bag.


Maria Milano, head of women’s wear, Harrods:

Favorite collections: Salvatore Ferragamo — Paul Andrew has put his sleek mark on the storied Italian house and it’s refreshing to see how in synch he and men’s wear designer, Guillaume Meilland, are in their approach. Also loved Fendi and Prada.

Top trends: Tailored shorts, chocolate box shades, green (from mint to khaki to emerald), pajama dressing, knitwear and outerwear for spring.

Best venue: It’s always a highlight to attend Dolce & Gabbana’s theatrical show at the Metropol. It’s the perfect way to see out the week.

Talent scouting: We’re so excited to be picking up the divine For Restless Sleepers collection — a luxe take on pajama dressing with gorgeous robes and dresses in the mix.

Must-have item: A pair of shorts, dressed up with a relaxed suit jacket and silk blouse.

Say goodbye to: Hoodies — sportswear takes on a more sophisticated iteration this season.


Ken Downing, senior vice president and fashion director, Neiman Marcus:

Favorite collections: FendiPradaEtro, Missoni.

Top trends: Overt Romanticism: the abundance of ruffle, flounces, lace, crochet, mixed floral prints and soft, candy-coated colors. Embroidery, paillettes fashioned as flowers, and the big bow are decorating everything this season.

The nomadic world traveler defined by a spice-market palette, textural weaves, fringe details, animal prints, exotic prints, embellishment and decoration borrowed from a multitude of cultures define the moment. The fashion nomad grounds her travel togs with summer suede boots, booties, gladiator sandals that wrap the ankle and high-top athletic glove sock sneakers that mimic desert boots.

An Eighties Obsession: New Wave for a new age, power dressing. The relaxed pantsuit is paramount with defined shoulders, leather mini dresses, bra tops, corsets and mesh. Colors: gold, silver and bold, bright colors bring a return to a decade of opulence and decadence.

Welcome to the Nineties: Grunge, hip-hop and house music are inspiring many runways with slip dresses, biker shorts and house party neons and day-glo reflective color.

Sports themes are injected with an intensity of color, refreshing the love of street style athleticism that has become uniform of a generation.

Must-have item: The unconstructed duster and biker shorts.

Best venue: Missoni’s 65th anniversary celebration show at the CityLife.

Say goodbye to: Dressing down. Less street, more dressed-up chic was the message on many runways. Dressing up is the new cool.

Talent Scouting: Francesco Risso, Plan C/Carolina Castiglioni, Act No1, Calcaterra and Officina del Poggio handbags.


Linda Fargo, senior vice president, women’s fashion director and store presentation, Bergdorf Goodman:

Favorite collections: Although Milan didn’t feel complete without Gucci and Bottega this season, much of what we saw was exceptional. Prada proved again that she can always surpass herself with a collection that not only delivered a modern, free-thinking woman’s wardrobe but also broke down into plenty of desirable pieces.

We loved the sportif utilitarian luxury at Fendi, and all those bags! Another collection was Attico and we’re impressed with how far they’ve crystallized their feel-good swanky, sexy DNA in only a few seasons. Etro hit it with a pattern-rich anniversary collection and brand celebration. FRS’s exotic prints and soft dressing just get more attractive each season.

Top trends: Color was a big story here this week, whether almost neons, unusual color blocks, sweet and sugary, or all-over neutral khaki, camel and caramel. There was a wide range of trends from utilitarian to glam-sexy, to sporting and nomadic.

Must-have items: The satin walking short and tie-dye handbags at Prada, the mixed-media party platform at Attico, the rainbow accordion tote bag at Sara Battaglia and a new baguette bag shape.

Best venue: The venue of the week had to be Moncler’s Genius project. The cross mix of site-specific technology, scale and out-of-the-box fashion collaborations was incredibly impressive and memorable. Another venue highlight in an eccentric panoramic penthouse apartment came from Gilda and Giorgia at Attico.

Talent scouting: Unfortunately we haven’t yet identified any new brands or designers that will create a new need, but we’re still following up on leads.


Jennifer Cuvillier, style director, Le Bon Marché:

Favorite collections: Etro, Prada, Marco de Vincenzo, MSGM, Marni.

Top trends: The windsurfing world took over Milan Fashion Week. The strong codes injected on the collections bring strong novelty for RTW and accessories, like neon-bright colors as well as technical, transparent fabrics, mainly for accessories, technical knits and scuba fabrics twisted on bags and shoes. Tie-dye appeared on RTW and accessories, with neon or bright pastels, while Etro showcased its amazing surfing inspiration with actual surfing models.

Must-have item: The Bermuda short, a new item to get in the wardrobe that we haven’t seen since a while, and the bathing suit worn as ready-to-wear.

Best venue: Loro Piana built a beautiful pavilion in a Milanese garden. Valextra staged its presentation in its own shop, but with a complete takeover of its #NoLogoMyLogo monogram project, which brings so much creativity.

Talent scouting: Plan C, the new brand launched by Carolina Castiglioni, had a beautiful sense of color and layering — great quality with the essence of masculine and feminine style.


Riccardo Tortato, fashion direction:

Favorite collections: Tod’s, Moschino, Prada, Fendi, Missoni.

Top trends: Flats and shoes with mini heels. Dressy looks and more sophisticated constructions. The season of streetwear is over.

Must-have item: Fendi multipocket belt and cocktail and evening minidresses.

Best venue: I liked the bed set at Marni and I think that the Emporio Armani event at the Linate airport will be the most remarkable of the whole fashion season.

Is your open-to-buy up or stable? It’s in line with last season.


Heather Shimokawa and Erica Russo, Bloomingdale’s vice president, fashion direction RTW, and vice president, fashion direction accessories, respectively:

Favorite collections: Max Mara, Prada, Philosophy by Lorenzo Serafini, Etro

Top trends: There is so much incredible color this season (neon, candy pastels and brights), mixed prints and great new feminine shapes. The continued evolution of all things Eighties expanded into daywear in jumpsuits, cocktail dresses, jackets and high-waisted pants adds some much-needed glamour to spring. The PVC and exotics this season in both bags and shoes offer a fun update on classic shapes.

Must-have item: Top handle-frame bag continues to be a standout.

Best venue: The outdoor location for the 65th Anniversary Show for Missoni provided a beautiful backdrop for a stunning, celebratory collection.

Is your open-to-buy up or stable? We are definitely looking for newness and excitement as we continue to evolve our stores.


Jay Bell, executive vice president, general merchandise manager, women’s, Barneys New York:

Favorite collections: Prada and Fendi were standouts, with compelling iterations of their respective famed logos shown alongside beautifully crafted, chic clothes. Alberta Ferretti and Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini were spot-on for today’s easy-breezy, beautiful cover girls.

Top trends: Classicism, subverted: plissé pleat skirts, prim but not proper; genteel twin sets for free-thinkers. A little bit retro, completely now. Runways starring Stella Tennant, Karen Elson, Liya Kedebe personify this return to classic beauty and elegance.

Must-have item: A structured handbag.

Best venue: Miuccia’s new space at the Fondazione Prada, floor covered in transparent vinyl and blow-up Verner Panton stools.

Say goodbye to: It’s all still there, something for everyone. But the smart ones looking forward will clean up.

Talent scouting: We’re most excited about Carolina Castiglioni, and her new project Plan C.  Very smart and super-chic, the level of design and quality exceeds expectations one would place upon the daughter of a legendary fashion family.

Is your open-to-buy up or stable?: We’re energized by the recent fashion weeks, and our open-to-buys reflect that optimism. Newness from solid brand partners, along with an offering of strong core items, suggest spring 2019 will continue the upward trend in sales.



Federica Montelli, head of fashion, Rinascente

Favorite collections: Prada, Fendi, Jil Sander, Marni.

Top trends: There is a general feeling that women want to wear easy feminine dresses with special details, such as midi dresses with cutouts, knit dresses, crochet overlay dresses and long white prairie dresses. Open backs or cutouts, both in dresses and tops were seen on many runways. Pants are wide and with slits. I particularly like the sheer ones styled with long tunics. There is a contrast between elegant pencil skirts and mini skirts, the latter worn with boxy jackets. Cycling shorts are not going anywhere, as well as Bermuda-cut pants (even in suit combos). Carrot-leg pants and denim with high paperbag waist are the shape to buy. Pastel-colored denim is still a big trend, as well fluo touches.

Must-have item: Prada Bermuda pants and A-line taffeta mini dresses, Marco de Vincenzo sheer sock/sandal, Fendi’s new Peekaboo or one of its belt bags, one of La DoubleJ’s long printed dresses.

Best venue: Attico’s rooftop was worth the skyline view. Sergio Rossi’s choice of showing inside the Biblioteca Ambrosiana was also quite remarkable.

Talent scouting: The hot brands in town are still La DoubleJ and Attico. Both of them have demonstrated their status as staple Milan brands. Plan C’s debut by Carolina Castiglioni had people talking. We picked up shoe brand Alevi, which we particularly like for feminine, easy shapes.


Natalie Kingham, fashion and buying director,

Favorite collections: Fendi —the brand is appealing to a new generation. I loved the contemporary luxe silhouettes, cycling shorts, jackets, the use of soft leather juxtaposed with PVC detailing on bags and modern sunglasses. Prada is always a favourite and this season was no different. I enjoyed the Sixties vibe with retro prints, pastel highlights, tie dye, headbands, baby doll dresses, bag shapes and coats.

Top trends:  Youth culture and global nomad. There was a real mixture of eras and references across the board.

Best Venue: Attico’s Palm Beach-style rooftop stood out.

Must-Have Item: Cycling shorts from Fendi and Versace 

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