MILAN — The bright blue skies and daily doses of sunshine worked wonders on the mood of buyers, who praised Milan’s creativity and use of color, disco glitter and tailoring. Linda Fargo of Bergdorf Goodman didn’t mince words. “The weather was an upper for Milan, many collections were on an up and where there was newness, our spend will be up to match,” she said.
Helen David of Harrods said her must-have was “Gucci everything,” while Mario Grauso of Holt Renfrew summed up many of the retailers’ feelings about the Versace show, Donatella’s tribute to Gianni on the 20-year anniversary of his death: “Donatella has dominated the entire week with her tribute collection and reunion of the most iconic models.”
Ken Downing of Neiman Marcus called the city a treasure trove of ideas. “I feel so good about Milan. There is so much creativity coming off the runways right now in terms of collections — but also the music. It was a pleasure of a fashion week.”
Here, a roundup of the Milan highlights from the mouths of retailers:
Linda Fargo, senior vice president of the fashion office and director of women’s fashion and store presentation at Bergdorf Goodman:
FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: The Gianni Versace tribute with the rare reunion of the still stunning supermodels was a big favorite fashion moment. We loved the Gucci universe, and Prada was another one for the memory banks. F.R.S., hands down, had the most beautiful prints of the week.
TREND SPOTTING: Although glitterati and color were pervasive and compelling trends, we’re buying less by trend than by signature pieces for each brand: Zucco at Fendi, legacy nylon and collectible comics at Prada, new dizzying mixes at Gucci, the ultra “Versace” at Versace, and extraordinary intricate and initialed bags from Bottega, to name a few.
TALENT SCOUTING: Milan’s numerous multibrand showrooms and small presentation formats are valuable resources for discovering brands and important as potential differentiators and future business.
Helen David, chief merchant at Harrods:
FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace
TREND SPOTTING: Sheer fabrics, with an abundance of chiffon and organza, even on outerwear at Fendi, Gucci, Max Mara, Ermanno Scervino, Alberta Ferretti and Missoni. Statement dresses, embellished dresses, and eveningwear everywhere at Gucci, Versace, Alberta Ferretti, Ermanno Scervino, Etro, Dolce & Gabbana. Full skirts, pastels, lots of strong pinks and reds and in general flats everywhere.
TALENT SCOUTING: Philosophy is my favorite brand that we added for spring 2018.
MUST-HAVE ITEM: Gucci everything
SAY BYE-BYE TO: Black
Anita Barr, group fashion buying director at Harvey Nichols:
FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: The Versace tribute show would have to be the highlight of Milan Fashion Week. Gianni was one-of-a-kind, and the show made everyone feel very nostalgic. I also loved Lucie and Luke Meier’s first women’s collection for Jil Sander. The collection was really cool and relevant. We loved the men’s in June and the women’s was even better.
TREND SPOTTING: Prints, stripes and pastels.
TALENT SCOUTING: Lucie and Luke Meier. Luke’s brand, OAMC, of which Luke is cofounder, resonates really well with our men’s wear customer and sells very well for us at Harvey Nichols so I’m really looking forward to see what the duo do next.
MUST-HAVE ITEM: The swimsuits in Alberta Ferretti’s collection — along with Karlie Kloss’ body.
SAY BYE-BYE TO: Androgynous dressing
Cleo Davis-Urman, contemporary fashion director at Saks Fifth Avenue:
FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: A visit to the Gucci showroom felt like a glimpse inside Alessandro Michele’s fantastic imagination. Prada was full of wearable works of art, and we especially loved the graphic handbags and intricately embellished tailored vests and jackets. Versace was an amazing tribute to the icon himself with a liquid gold finale starring the original “Supers.” The No. 21 collection was full of ultra-feminine dresses and separates that are pretty but not too precious, Brunello Cucinelli’s collection of relaxed tailored pieces, and Attico. Gilda [Ambrosio] and Giorgia [Tordini] are bringing a new energy to Milan Fashion Week.
TREND SPOTTING: The Milan runways offered a fresh take on florals for spring by transporting us to the tropics. From Gucci’s oversize sweatshirt covered in paillettes and Prada’s embellished cargo shorts to Attico’s glamorous sequin cocktail dresses, we will be catching the light from day to night come spring.
TALENT SCOUTING: We are really excited about Sara Battaglia. Her ready-to-wear and accessories are both wearable and whimsical, and are a powerful breath of fresh air.
MUST-HAVE ITEM: A piece of rtw or an accessory that captures the nostalgic logomania trend. Fendi’s branded fur or FF shopper tote and Gucci’s Seventies-inspired GG logo suit.
Elizabeth von der Goltz, global buying director at Net-a-porter:
FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: Prada was a major, major highlight, from the herringbone and tiger cotton coats to the brocade to the pointed-toe teddy shoes to the Pop Art and nylon bags. Gucci was eclectic and fun as Alessandro continues to deliver his vision — we love his new logo and we love the Guccy bags.
TREND SPOTTING: The continuation of the pastel palette. We loved the Eighties inspiration — from the collections to the music at the shows. Bold and colorful.
TALENT SCOUTING: The whole team is obsessed with Attico — from all the sparkly dresses to the gem-colored shoes to the ostrich feather bags. Gilda and Giorgia really impressed with where they have taken their collection. A standout.
MUST-HAVE ITEM: Anything with the Medusa at Versace. The show was fabulous. We loved the statement jackets in transitional fabrics. And logo continues to be predominant in the collections.
OPEN-TO-BUY: Budgets are definitely up!
Mario Grasso, president of Holt Renfrew:
FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: Gucci continues to execute against its Wes Anderson universe and we love it. Prada told her story via the cartoon strip while focusing on classic men’s wear, layered with traditional elements of femininity. Versace’s tribute to the archive and Gianni was a strong and nostalgic nod to the influence the house has had on culture — not just fashion. The finale reminded us of the excitement fashion can bring to the world.
TREND-SPOTTING: Summer outerwear, fuller skirts, cross-body or as Gucci called it a “belly bag,” kitten heels. Embellishment continues.
MUST-HAVE ITEM: Gucci rubber tote, Prada slingback kitten heel with fabric and beads, Prada one-shoulder sweater over men’s shirt, Gucci Seventies-inspired jacket, Versace archive anything.
SAY BYE-BYE TO: Soccer sandals
Sebastian Manes, buying and merchandising director at Selfridges:
FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: Versace for an outstanding show. Donatella has dominated the entire week with her tribute collection and reunion of the most iconic models.
TREND-SPOTTING: Sport influences continue to be relevant, as the world is getting more and more relaxed with this fashion. The trainer is now a must in many shows, while logomania was seen at Max Mara, Sportmax and Prada. I can only imagine we will see more of that in Paris.
TALENT-SPOTTING: Milan is not the place where we found new generation designers in general, so hard to answer that question.
MUST-HAVE ITEM: The Prada sport socks in red.
OPEN TO BUY: Difficult to say until we visit the showrooms, but it should be consistent with last year.
SAY BYE-BYE TO: It seems that prints are fading out. Skinny trousers seem to be going away, replaced by much wider ones.
Jennifer Cuvillier, style director at Le Bon Marché:
FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: Marco de Vincenzo, Jil Sander, Prada, Stella Jean, Marni, MSGM
TREND-SPOTTING: A relaxed summer by the pool with super-feminine fluid silhouettes mixed with ath-leisure details; shapes and layering; luminous energetic pastels, and vintage flower prints.
TALENT-SCOUTING: Chiara Ferragni
MUST-HAVE ITEM: Flower-printed dress
Coco Chan, head of women’s ready to wear at Stylebop:
FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: Jil Sander, Versace, Etro, Marni
TOP TRENDS: Power pastels; Eighties; transparency.
MUST-HAVE ITEM: A toss-up between a satin tank-dress in a pastel hue and a sheer anorak.
SAY BYE-BYE TO: Anything and everything boho. At least for the time being.
OPEN-TO-BUY: Milan has performed consistently well for us, especially with the recent influx of youthful energy. Our budgets definitely reflect this.
Charlotte Tasset, general merchandise manager of women’s apparel, beauty, lingerie and children at Printemps:
FAVORITE COLLECTION: Fendi
TOP TRENDS: Transparency; fluid; pastels; stripes/checks; layering; high waist; embellishment; tailoring.
TALENT SCOUTING: Attico, Marco de Vincenzo
MUST-HAVE ITEM: Transparent colored checked Fendi skirt; transparent print Fendi sock; statement earring; Jil Sander ankle bracelet.
SAY BYE-BYE TO: Flowers.
OPEN-TO-BUY: Always up!
Alix Morabito, fashion editor at Galeries Lafayette:
FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: Prada, Jil Sander, Marni
TOP TRENDS: Sensual and easy femininity. From romanticism playing with a pastel range of colors, transparency and flimsy fabrics, to empowerment adding flashy colors like poppy red and sparkle with sequins or Swarovski embroideries.
MUST-HAVE ITEM: Short-sleeved shirt; long shirtdress; leggings; high socks; slingback kitten heels and mules.
VENUE: A new discovery of a Milan treasure with the Palazzo Archinto for Bottega Veneta, But the biggest surprise was the location of Jil Sander, definitely a move toward modernity and future. The show took place in an unfinished commercial mall. It created an intense atmosphere smoothed by the colors of the sky on a beautiful end of the day.
Riccardo Tortato, fashion director at Tsum:
FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: Versace, Marni, Dolce & Gabbana’s Secret Collection.
MUST-HAVE ITEM: Versace’s embroidered boots
SAY BYE-BYE TO: Sock-shoes, bombers, logos
OPEN-TO-BUY: This season, we are buying 40 percent more compared to last winter. Tsum’s business is increasing between 30 and 40 percent each season and our e-commerce is growing so fast.
Federica Montelli, head of fashion at La Rinascente:
FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: Gucci, Versace, Jil Sander, Dolce & Gabbana’s Secret Collection, Marni and Marco De Vincenzo.
TOP TRENDS: Transparencies, Plexiglas accessories, jewel tones, lilac, white, relaxed silhouettes.
MUST-HAVE ITEM: PVC shoes, kitten heels, lightweight outerwear in pastel tones, lightweight maxi dresses in bold colors.
SAY BYE-BYE TO: Velvet, jungle motifs.
OPEN-TO-BUY: We increased our buying budgets this season. We are buying both more shoes and clothes, also because we have just restructured our women’s designer section on the third floor.
Ken Downing, senior vice president and fashion director at Neiman Marcus:
FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: Versace. I loved that Donatella returned to the archives and the early Eighties attitude of the collection. It was especially emotional for me because we actually did a fashion show back then at Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills, and I was truly reliving the moment. Kudos to Donatella for going to back to a great moment for her and for Gianni. Prada was brilliant, and we loved the turn of direction at Gucci. We also loved the disco Eighties spirit at Attico. The understated, minimal chic of the inaugural collection of the new design team at Jil Sander. Perfection.
TREND-SPOTTING: Punk, New Wave, and disco, disco, disco. It’s a hyper-disco moment. Bustiers and corsetry — a Madonna moment of corsetry. The broader shoulder on jackets looks really, really fresh.
MUST-HAVE ITEM: I am loving leggings — especially printed leggings — and catsuits. I want to see a bustier and a great pair of printed leggings with an oversize boyfriend blazer.
SAY BYE-BYE TO: The cold shoulder. Make it stop! I’m done. I was quick on the trend and I’m quick to say, “So long.” Make it go away now.