MILAN — Despite the winds of war clouding what was seen as a moment of rebirth — given the return to IRL shows and a gradual return to normalcy after two years of heavy restrictions — retailers were upbeat about the collections shown during Milan Fashion Week, praising its strong energy and overall creativity. “Brava Italia for tapping into their deep expertise in material innovation and craft,” said Linda Fargo, senior vice president of fashion at Bergdorf Goodman. “We saw exciting fabrications that never existed before, and remarkable textural innovations. We’re also happy to report that we’ve made some new and promising discoveries while in Milan.”
Nathalie Lucas Verdier, general merchandise manager women’s ready-to-wear, accessories, luxury and shoes at Printemps, said that “After two years of pandemic, expectations on IRL shows were high and Milan did not disappoint. Creativity was on a higher level than pre-pandemic, we could feel the positive vibe from every single show.”
Matthieu Blazy’s debut collection for Bottega Veneta didn’t disappoint either, while Gucci’s collaboration with Adidas was hailed as a winner, and Prada, Fendi and Jil Sander ranked high with retailers.
Tailoring was a strong trend, as was bold outerwear, sculptural silhouettes, highly textured materials, vivid pops of color and high boots.
Here, a roundup of retailers’ comments on the week:
Favorite collections: Prada was a standout. The collection was chic, refined, modern and elegant, showcasing wearable clothes with a high sense of design and craft. You could clearly see the conversation between Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons in the collection, which prominently incorporated each of their signatures. Alessandro Michele made a big return to Milan with a very cool collection for Gucci. The Adidas x Gucci was unexpected and touched on the pulse of what their customer is looking for with the clever play on their three-stripe logo. Matthieu Blazy’s debut collection for Bottega Veneta was luxurious, elevated and chic, redefining the codes of the house for a new chapter. New silhouettes and the classic intrecciato leather weave were showcased in a strong lineup of over-the-knee boots, bags, and ready-to-wear. Fendi’s take on the masculine and feminine with their tailored blazers paired with structured corsets and soft slip skirts redefined power dressing with an elegant touch. Other standouts were Francesco Ragazzi’s Palm Angels, which offered a new vision for his cult following, Jil Sander and Blazé Milano.
Trendspotting: Seen at Prada and Fendi, the hard and soft play of structured jackets paired with fluid, silk chiffon skirts is very directional. Other key trends include corsets, bold outerwear, tailoring, wedge pumps and boots, platforms, and half-crescent shoulder bags.
Must-have item: A piece from the Adidas x Gucci collaboration and a tailored blazer and slip skirt from Prada.
Best presentation concept: Prada’s theater-style viewing and the post show re-see was a full experience.
General comment on the season: It has been a surreal week with the tension of the war hanging in the air and the realities unfolding. The spirit and energy of Milan Fashion Week has been a bright light, returning with a strong lineup of beauty, elegance, and creativity. The return of Alessandro Michele for Gucci with the Adidas x Gucci collaboration, the debut of Matthieu Blazy’s vision for Bottega Veneta, the standout Prada collection, and the elegance of the Fendi collection lead for a beautiful lineup.
Linda Fargo, senior vice president of fashion at Bergdorf Goodman
Favorite collections: Prada was an influential standout in Milan. So much of what Prada proposes reverberates for seasons ahead and has a lasting global fashion impact. Matthieu Blazy’s highly anticipated debut collection for Bottega Veneta landed perfectly. It was luxe yet very advanced and modern, and both respected and evolved the new codes of the house. We loved it! Fendi opened the week with a high bar and beautiful collection, which looked to the foundations and layering of dressing itself, starting with delicate boudoir underpinnings and building out from there. The handbag range and development in particular was remarkable.
Best presentation concept: It was meaningful that the Bottega show was staged in the raw beginnings and construction in progress of their new headquarters, signifying an important new reset for the brand with a new creative director. Bravo. The Jacquemus 24/24 pop-up with 24-hour accessible vending machines for an all-white curation was super engaging.
Trendspotting: Note to selves, trends we’re getting behind: new takes on tailoring, couture-inspired sculptural silhouettes, highly textured materials, vibrant pops of color, anything camel, intense black shaping both scaled up or bodycon.
Budgets: Generally speaking, we were extra pleased with what we’ve seen here, and our budgets will reflect that.
Buying process: It was very meaningful to us to come back here exactly two years after the pandemic hit, and finally meet up personally with so many of our partners. Virtual appointments remain important, but in person is the highlight now.
Rickie De Sole, women’s designer fashion and editorial director at Nordstrom
Favorite collections: Milan had great energy this season. It was a strong showing from Prada, Bottega Veneta, Versace, Gucci, Max Mara and Brunello Cucinelli. We loved brands embracing iconic silhouettes from the past and reinterpreting them for today’s woman. Matthieu Blazy‘s debut at Bottega Veneta was a highlight of the week, redefining the modern wardrobe from the simple white tank to the show-stopping sequin slipdresses and woven leather accessories. Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons for Prada was another fantastic collection. We loved the voluminous coats paired with dainty lady-like skirts, wedge-heeled pumps, and the stellar casting. Other notable collections included, Gucci’s Adidas collaboration reveal and strong tailoring; Versace embracing going all out Versace with sexy corset dresses and power suiting; an expanded evening offering from Brunello Cucinelli and an update to Max Mara’s iconic coats in their show styled by Tonne Goodman.
Best presentation concept: The energy at Gucci was unmatched with guests including Rihanna and A$AP Rocky and we loved seeing the looks come down the mirrored runway.
Trendspotting: Proportions played a big role in Milan as designers experimented with volume and exaggerated shapes. We are also continuing to see the return of party dressing both in ready-to-wear and accessories. Other key trends we saw include power tailoring, bold pops of color, textured clothes meant to be touched and oversize bags for the woman on the go.
Must-have item: Bottega Veneta’s fringe skirts and woven boots; oversize jackets and coats from Prada and Versace.
Nathalie Lucas Verdier, general merchandise manager women’s ready-to-wear, accessories, luxury and shoes at Printemps
Favorite collections: Prada was strong and directional with a perfectly balanced mix of Miuccia [Prada] and Raf [Simons], probably their best collection together. The contrast between heavy material, strong shoulders, oversize jackets and the exquisite craftsmanship on delicate lace was breathtaking. We had this feeling the past months already — and indeed Matthieu Blazy performed an amazing show, confirming Bottega Veneta will stay strong on the hot list. He brings his own touch and continues the reinvention of the Italian brand keeping up with the minimalistic aesthetic and edgy vibe but made it more refined and luxury. The materials quality and rtw fits seems impeccable. Versace energy was amazing, all these strong models with power shoulders, thin waist and never-ending legs on incredibly high heels was a very good show to watch. Gucci x Adidas is a brilliant take on youngsters and hypebeasts but will easily convert more than streetwear adepts. We also had a crush on Blumarine channeling the inner Gen Zer in us.
Best presentation concept: Versace and the Vogue posing models.
Trendspotting: Sexiness and glamour are definitely back with sheer fabrics, lingerie, corsets, cuts fitting and even sculpting the waist. There even was a S&M vibe. Tailoring is super strong with loads of jackets and power shoulders. The key look is a bra with oversize shoulders. The Y2K’s vibe is also prominent with the shows of Blumarine and Diesel, cropped tops and very low-waisted pants and denims. We also found a true trend for cargo and technical pants, but overall the skirt and the miniskirts are all over the runways!
Must-have item: The Prada (or Bottega) white tank top, a power jacket from Prada or Versace, over-the-knee intrecciato Bottega Veneta boots and for the boldest their furry neon wedges, a Gucci x Adidas beret, the butterfly crop top from Blumarine.
Budgets: Still up on emerging brands, we relaunch our designers concept in March with the hottest exclusive brands.
Arielle Siboni, RTW fashion director at Bloomingdale’s
Favorite collections: Fendi, Bottega Veneta, Versace, Prada, Jil Sander, Ambush, Gucci.
Trendspotting: Tailoring takes the number-one slot again, in addition to corsets and proportion play through oversize clutches and coats. Also, sheer fabrications, monochromatic dressing, bombers, platforms and thigh-high boots.
Must-have item: Matthieu Blazy’s intrecciato woven skirts and over-the-knee boots were standouts. Prada’s fitted white logo tank and embellished oversize bombers, the corsets and cargo combinations at Versace and Fendi’s bustiers paired with peplums and skirts also caught my eye. The Gucci x Adidas sneakers are going to be must-haves for fall.
General comment on the season: As we begin the “post-pandemic” era, Milan designers are empowering us with clothing that echoes our newfound strength. We have emerged stronger and that is reflected in power suiting, corsets, oversize outerwear, and leather seen at the center of many shows. These trends which might read masculine were feminized in their execution by Donatella Versace and Kim Jones at Fendi. We also saw an ease and simplicity to this new code of dressing, found in the collections of Prada and Bottega Veneta, which is needed in this complicated time, but we must recognize that in simplicity and femininity there is also strength.
Simon Longland, head of menswear at Harrods
Favorite collections: Jil Sander produced a standout show, a real highlight of the season so far for me. In true Jil Sander fashion, the tailoring, from jackets to suiting and coats, was exquisitely sculptural in an array of rich textured fabrics, which are sure to be a huge success come autumn. The color palette of black, ivory and muted tones of blue, green and mustard was super chic and incredibly versatile. Matthieu Blazy’s debut for Bottega Veneta completely reset a new creative direction for the house. His passion for detail and craft was evident and the iconic intrecciato being used in both accessories and ready-to-wear styles was a clear example of this. From fluid to cocooning, the silhouettes played with proportion in an assortment of fabrications, from shimmering sequins to leather and rich tweeds. Prada mirrored key themes from its January Men’s show, strong statement shoulders, strict sculptural tailoring and soft details creating volume on the arms and hemlines. I really enjoyed the play on contrasts: sheer layers paired with knits, revealing pieces balanced with modest necklines and sporty vests with crystal embellished skirts. The oversize embellished bombers were a standout for me and a trend I expect to be very popular in the coming season.
Best presentation concept: Gucci transported us into a giant glitter ball! The mirrored event space was a fun reflection of the collection and extremely memorable.
Trendspotting: Tailoring is back in a big way and displayed in every possible guise from Jil Sander and Fendi’s clean and sculptural silhouettes to Prada and Bottega opting for stronger, more boxy styles. I can’t mention tailoring without highlighting the Gucci x Adidas collection — which is a match made in heaven and a great way to bring tailoring to a new, more casual audience. We continued to see volume in almost every show, and it was interesting to see that each brand brought their own signature to the style. Missoni and Max Mara opted for volume in their ultra-wide trousers, whereas Dolce & Gabbana and Prada opted for volume on the top half and brought voluminous sleeve details and exaggerated silhouettes to the runway. Embellishment is a trend that has followed from London, and has taken many forms, all of which will appeal to our Harrods customers — from Versace’s high octane crystal to artisanal embroidery from Etro. Lastly, it was the season of contrasts, designers playing with clashing ideas, pairing sporty styles with sartorial silhouettes, clean tailoring with crystal embellishments and modest knits with sheer layering — Prada, Gucci and Fendi were the absolute experts in this.
Must-have item: THE Bottega skirt
General comment on the season: The return of fashion week has seen strong collections across the board; with main trends consistent even from brands with very different aesthetic approaches.
Federica Montelli, head of fashion at Rinascente:
Favorite collections: Prada, for its perfectly executed integration of Miuccia’s and Raf’s icons. Bottega Veneta’s debut by Matthieu Blazy was the hot ticket of the week, and he delivered a strong collection, reassuring in the brand’s luxury bourgeois codes yet sleek and luxurious. Gucci, for its desirable collaboration with Adidas. Versace, for its power dressing and lust worthy bustier dresses. Jil Sander, for its polished and graphic femininity. Diesel’s first live show by Glenn Martens was just right for the brand, and bold in its Y2K rendition. Sportmax, for its mysterious and tough feminine lady. Sunnei, GCDS and Palm Angels were also very convincing. Among the young names my favorite were Marco Rambaldi, Andreadamo and Des Phemmes. It will be interesting to see where Trussardi will go next, after a convincing first outing by Serhat Işık and Benjamin A. Huseby.
Best presentation concept: Sunnei, for its fun “running” show. Ambush, for its “lunar” setting that introduced the metaverse theme and was a good frame for a solid first runway representation by the brand.
Trendspotting: Sparkles for both day and night and sexy dressing were the main themes, speaking of some sort of female empowerment that was reinforced also by the now-normal diverse casting on the runway. It’s a “tough elegance” we are all attracted to, seen in all black looks, in the sharp tailoring, in the broad shoulders in blazers and coats. Waists are mainly cinched, highlighting a bold silhouette coupled with the big shoulders. Fake fur was seen all over the runways, in all colors as well as white and black, and will easily be the best selling outerwear for next season. Low-slung denim, better if coupled with crystals or distressed. Lots of plateaus for shoes, proving that women want to go out and be seen.
Must-have item: Prada’s white logo tank top launched the tank top craze, which we’ve seen also opening Bottega Veneta. Among Bottega Veneta’s bags, it’s difficult to choose: my personal favorites are the pillow clutch and the “intrecciato” bucket bag to carry over your shoulder. Still at Bottega Veneta, it was all about the boot, and the must-have is the tall one over the knee, to be worn with a classic oversize crisp shirt. For shoes in general, high plateau Mary Janes shoes were a favorite, Versace’s ones are still in traction, and plenty of fitted knee-boots.
Buying process: Despite an almost complete return to physical runways and presentations, showrooms are still working a lot with digital appointments with buyers, as they themselves are doing fewer campaigns abroad and fewer days. A lot of multibrand showrooms decided to show only in Milan this time, not Paris, and this has contributed to a very dynamic fashion week.
General comment on the season: Overall, lots of reassuring and sellable collections. There was amazing energy throughout the week and we are excited for the season ahead.
April Hennig, chief merchandising officer at Moda Operandi
Favorite collections: Prada showcased unexpected pairings and plays on proportion. The mixed media skirts, logo tank tops, shearling bombers, and tailoring are destined to be some of Fall ‘22s most defining pieces. Their elegant fall collection provided us with ample inspiration to live boldly as we head back into the world. Matthieu Blazy’s debut as creative director at Bottega Veneta was certainly worth the wait. Presenting an intentional collection of refinement and intricate craft, Blazy put forward thoughtful luxurious reinterpretations of wardrobe staples. The fringe leather skirts were an absolute standout. Jil Sander was the epitome of grown-up elegance. The duo paid strong attention to material – rich crushed velvet, the finest mohair, and the softest bouclé. Sculptural tailoring and hourglass silhouettes gave the collection a modern couture feel.
Best presentation concept: Del Core’s Daphnis Nerii’s collection was inspired by the psychedelic wings of a moth, with each look subtly nodding back to the fascinating insect. Voluminous sleeves, intricate cutouts, kaleidoscope prints, and sculpted silhouettes provided a stunning visual spectacle for showgoers. Del Core is undoubtedly the next premiere European design house.
Trendspotting: Velvet was everywhere in Milan. Jil Sander’s rich cornsilk dress was a standout, as was Del Core’s high slit ruched dress in moss green. Fringe, it’s all about movement. Bohemian mainstay Etro featured fringe not only as details on their covetable suede accessories but also on easy knit skirts. Bottega’s polished leather take, seen on skirts and dresses, was a clever reimagining of the technique for everyday wear. Platform shoes are here to stay. Versace cemented this with their sky-high, patent Mary Jane platforms. Bottega’s platform pumps in electric shades may just be the next “it” shoe from the house. Strong shoulders: Whether it was leather fringe shoulder detail at Bottega or satin coats with pads at Versace, we are seeing a moment for strong shoulders to stand confident when reentering the world.
Oversized outerwear: Max Mara embraced the trend with their reinvented teddy with puffer detailing. Almost all of the outerwear at Prada, from shearling bombers to masculine single-breast jackets with chain details, was supersized. Patent Leather: Versace’s runway featured a slew of seriously shiny patent accessories for our client who isn’t afraid to go sexy.
Must-have item: The mixed media paneled skirts at Prada are undoubtedly Fall 2022’s ultimate must-have. These skirts are the perfect unexpected blend of sexy and ladylike, and best paired with one of the (equally covetable) Prada logo singlets.
Budgets: We are feeling extremely optimistic about the continued rebound of the consumer and her various end uses, and approaching the season accordingly.
Buying process: We are so thrilled to be physically returning to market. It’s so exciting to see product in person once again from our European brands.
Riccardo Tortato, head of buying departments and men’s fashion director, Tsum, Moscow and DLT, St. Petersburg:
Favorite collections: Gucci, Jil Sander, Versace. I loved Jil Sander and I really think that the designers are creating a beautiful story around the brand.
Best presentation concept: Brunello Cucinelli. The garden has been transformed in a chic train station where modern elegant women are ready to depart for a beautiful trip.
Trendspotting: Lingerie that can be used outside as a visible accessory of the look.
Must-have item: Jimmy Choo pink and sparkling boots, Santoni double-buckle pumps.
Buying process: In person, like all previous seasons.
General comment on the season: I was really happy to see an atmosphere that was similar to pre-COVID-19, in 2019. The city was full of energy and all brands showed off their best.
Tiffany Hsu, vice president womenswear and kid’s wear fashion buying at Mytheresa
Favorite collections: Matthieu Blazy’s first show for Bottega Veneta was amazing: exquisite tailoring, eclectic knitwear and ready-to-wear pieces made of the finest leathers. I loved all of it. Prada showed a collection reminiscent of the label’s past while also showcasing many completely new pieces that will for sure be heavily featured on covers and in editorials. Another name to mention is Versace: the oversize satin topcoats from the men’s collection mixed in with low-rise pants really stood out. Miss Sohee really caught my eye. The London-based brand has quickly become a favorite favorite among A-listers for its focus on craftsmanship and sustainability.
Trendspotting: There was a clear trend in Milan toward very sexy, body-con looks paired with platforms. Also we saw a strong emphasis on the power shoulder.
Must-have item: Key items in Milan were Bottega Veneta‘s thigh-high boots, the feather trim jackets at Prada and Versace‘s platform boots.
General comment on the season: The mood of the collections was very strong and positive. We saw statement silhouettes and skyscraper heels which created a really glamorous and powerful atmosphere for the season.
Joseph Tang, fashion director at Holt Renfrew:
Favorite collections: Matthieu Blazy’s stellar debut collection for Bottega Veneta reinforced the codes of the Italian luxury fashion house. His modern take on the traditional silhouettes, and the unique uses of leather, were standouts from the collection. Once again, Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons showcased a superb Prada collection with a new take on iconic prints, silhouettes and fabrications. Their joint creative vision continues to be a fan favorite for our customers. Jil Sander’s take on couture shapes and precision tailoring brought back elegance and sophistication to what women will want to wear come fall.
Best presentation concept: The return of iconic models from Prada’s past at this season’s show.
Trendspotting: There was no shortage of suits on the Milan runways this season. Versace, Ambush, and Dolce & Gabbana all opened their collections with a strong shouldered suit — the structured shoulder is making its comeback once again. Sleek and novel leathers dominated the collections from Fendi, Prada and Gucci. Whether it was a skirt, trench, or even a white tank and jean à la Bottega Veneta, investing in a leather is a must for fall! Designers from Fendi, Versace and Tod’s played with proportions mixing elements of soft femininity with oversize men’s inspired tailoring with an emphasis on the waist.
Must-have item: Any of the streetwear tailored suits from the Adidas x Gucci collaboration. The white Prada tank top. A cashmere Fendi Baguette. The Intrecciato thigh-high boot from Bottega Veneta. Jil Sander cape paired with the mini flounce bouclé skirt.
Budgets: Budgets remain flat for the fall season.
Buying process: It has been refreshing to be back in Milan to see the collections after a long pause due to COVID-19. Our buyers will continue to operate on a blend of virtual and in-person appointments, but we are extremely pleased to be able to see product in person again.
General comment on the season: Strength and resilience shined through the Milan collections this season, with designers taking a pared-back approach through their collections. We’re past the frivolity of what we anticipated we’d see with this decade’s Roaring ‘20s. For the remainder of this fashion month, we continue to look to designers to showcase clothes that reflect hope and optimism.
Lisa Aiken, fashion and lifestyle director, Neiman Marcus
Favorite collections: Prada was an absolute standout. This collection was a perfect equilibrium between the vintage Prada we love and the modernity that Raf Simons has championed. It reached this perfect sort of alchemy this season. For investment pieces, we can see everyone wanting to purchase the white tank top with the Prada logo. And then for diehard Prada aficionados, they will go for the beautiful, embellished skirt. We were excited to experience KimJones’ second show at Fendi. The development of the logo on the bottom of the hobo bag is sure to become an instant cult piece. With Matthieu’s debut at Bottega Veneta, it is clear that he is taking the momentum that the brand had with a new audience and elevating it with a more refined sensibility. There is now a broader appeal that leans more to an investment shopper than the shopper. We also really loved the quiet evolution of Jil Sander that is moving the customer forward and even encouraging her to embrace color. And of course, we loved to see Versace’s presentation continue to be true to form — sexy, and powerful — it really made an impact.
Best presentation concept: We thought the opening statements at Giorgio Armani and the decision to present the show in silence in honor of Ukraine was very moving, timely and respectful.
Trendspotting: The most overarching consumer trend is buying into a brand’s DNA and lifestyle, which may be through a logo or a specific aesthetic. We’re seeing designers and consumers embracing the way in which Italian brands are bold in their own categories. For instance, Jil Sander is bold in minimalism, Versace is bold in color and pattern, and Gucci is bold in their eclectic, artistic approach. We also noticed an emphasis on minimalism, whether that’s with color or silhouettes.
Must-have item: We would definitely narrow it down to the over-the-knee boot from Bottega Veneta, the white tank from Prada, and the logo hobo bag from Fendi.
Buying process: We are on the ground, our teams are traveling again this season, and we will be in physical showrooms when possible.
General comment on the season: This has been a week of real mixed emotions knowing what was going on in the world, but we were very happy with the collections we saw and seeing so many brands experiencing a “rebound” following the pandemic.
Heather Gramston, head of womenswear at Browns
Favorite collections: Jil Sander’s minimalist tailoring was a dream.
Best presentation concept: Prada, who paid tribute to its casting archives by bringing back models who had walked its shows over 20 years ago.
Trendspotting: Adidas x Gucci — this collaboration will undoubtedly be everywhere.
Must-have item: Prada’s plaque logo fitted white tank.
Budgets: Up — Milan designers have always delivered in giving us an incredible offering of luxury.
General comment on the season: We’re grateful to be experiencing international fashion weeks once again, but sadly the overall mood is a little somber, with our thoughts going out to our friends in Ukraine and Russia.