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MILAN — It wasn’t an easy week, with a packed show schedule, lots of rain and the so-called Beast from the East, or polar vortex, blowing into town on Sunday, bringing with it Arctic temperatures. Despite the inclement weather, buyers were buzzing about the variety and quality they found in Milan. “Milano, Milano, Milano — what an energizing week full of imagination, vision and creativity,” said Roopal Patel, Saks Fifth Avenue senior vice president, fashion director. “The collections at Milan Fashion Week continue to excite and delight our senses on every level.” She cited Gucci’s “theatrical Cyborg show,” Prada’s “high-energy industrial couture” and the Moncler Genius project as among the highlights.

The Eighties trend remained strong, as did oversize outerwear. Retailers cited tartans and animal patterns, neon and pop colors, logomania, sportswear influences, faux fur and quilted looks as some of the recurring elements in the collections. As Coco Chan, Stylebop.com head of women’s wear said, “the new mood is all about more is more. Pile on the layers with prints, patterns, textures and embellishments.”

Here, a roundup of the Milan highlights from the mouths of retailers:

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

FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: Prada, Gucci, Attico and Moncler.

TOP TRENDS: Eighties/Nineties redux, messaging/logo, urban couture, animalia, men’s wear fabrics and plaids, crayon-bright colors.

MUST-HAVES: A security-inducing item: wraps, puffers, capes and cocoons.

BEST VENUE: The Moncler Genius installation.

BUDGETS: We felt a boost of excitement here, and will spend accordingly.

NEW TALENTS: Would like to see Milan’s established houses use their great resources to mentor more new-guard talent. This arena has yet to be on par with the other cities.

Elizabeth von der Goltz, global buying director, Net-a-porter: 

FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: Gucci, Prada, Fendi, Philosophy and Marni. The Moncler Genius collaborations are fantastic. I especially love Simone Rocha and Noir.

TOP TRENDS: Eighties vibe at Attico and Philosophy was a little ironic and sexy and fun. Men’s wear tailoring and fabrications still reign as we saw at Fendi and Gucci. Statement sneakers like the crystal caged ones at Gucci and the neon sock sneakers at Prada.

MUST-HAVE ITEM: Fendi Logo trenchcoat, neon nylon pouch from Prada, white croc-print leather boots at Attico and the first look at Marni, the electric blue patent leather coat.

BEST VENUE: Moncler Genius dinner at Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense — an incredible library which was created in 1770. Being surrounded by such a rich history of beautiful books was an amazing experience.

TALENT SCOUTING: I love the new collection from Giuliva Heritage out of Rome. It’s authentic men’s tailoring and fabrics, but made for women.

Mario Grauso, president, Holt Renfrew:

FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: Prada and Gucci continue to be the reason to come to Milan. Prada made another statement with its historic nylon, this time using fluorescent colors. The casting was perfect and the accessories were must-haves.

Gucci’s cyborg universe didn’t just deliver an intellectual argument about the evolution of society, but it gave us the perfect balance of vintage and futuristic fashion. The severed heads, baby dragons, third eyes, and operating room set truly mesmerized the crowd from the moment the show started.

TOP TRENDS: Logo everything from Prada, Gucci and Fendi.

MUST-HAVES: Rubber boots and pumps with nylon gaiters at Prada, fur logo sweatshirts at Fendi, chunky sneakers with a jeweled harness at Gucci.

OPEN-TO-BUY: More money to spend in Paris…fingers crossed!

FAVORITE VENUE: The new Prada Fondazione building by Rem Koolhaas OMA…wow!

Roopal Patel, Saks Fifth Avenue senior vice president, fashion director:

FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: We are excited about Brunello Cucinelli’s luxury hand knits and men’s wear tailoring, mixed with velvet and corduroy. Gianvito Rossi was confident, sexy and bold, featuring patent boots and new leopard prints. Attico and Sara Battaglia are Milan’s rising stars who lead the movement for the next generation of women designers.

TOP TRENDS: Outerwear had a moment with statement coats like capes, blanket coats and Moncler’s famous puffers. There was no lack of check, plaids and tartans infused throughout suits and jackets. Modern materials like patent, PVC, leather and nylon were prominent across the runways, as were pops of silver and neon. Animal instincts shone through with an array of prints, and sequins, crystal and sheer elements added glamour.

MUST-HAVE ITEMS: It’s hard to choose just one — a statement coat, the bejeweled sneaker from Gucci, and anything neon from Prada.

BEST VENUE: The new tower at the Fondazione Prada — it has an incredible view.

SAY BYE-BYE TO: Leggings — it’s all about the pant for the fall.

NEW TALENTS: We saw several new talents in Milan and definitely plan to keep an eye on brands like Blazé and Raquel Diniz.

Sebla Devidas, women’s buying director at Beymen in Turkey:

FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: Etro and Dolce & Gabbana.

TOP TRENDS: New ethnic look created by the combination of shearling, suede with embroideries, chunky knits and ruffles.  Mix of tartan, hound’s tooth and check, sartorial details with luxurious and oversize coats.

MUST-HAVE ITEMS: An oversized, unconstructed coat with fur or fringe detail; ponchos or capes.

ARE BUDGETS UP, DOWN OR FLAT?: Budgets will be quite generous this season in Milan since most of the collections were above expectation.

SAY BYE-BYE TO: Absurdity and extreme concern about transmitting messages.

Ida Petersson, women’s buying director at Browns Fashion:

FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: Prada, Versace, Fendi and Attico.

TOP TRENDS: Neon and bright colors in general, checks everywhere from top to toe, patent leather/high shine outerwear and sharp tweed/check tailoring.

MUST-HAVE ITEM: Prada’s flame sandal.

BEST VENUE: Prada

ARE BUDGETS UP, DOWN OR FLAT?: We’ve had a great fall 2017 season and we’re committed to growing our offering for fall 2018.

SAY BYE-BYE TO: Nothing.

Marina Larroude, fashion director, Barneys New York:

FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: Fendi, Prada and Dolce & Gabbana Diamanté collection.

TOP TRENDS: Sportswear influence, I love the collaboration between Fila and Fendi. Logomania continues to be strong for so many brands. Fluro colors, Western boots, micro dresses and faux fur were micro trends in the runways.

MUST-HAVE ITEM: Prada’s neon sandals.

BEST VENUE: Moncler Genius build-out.

NEW TALENTS: Giannico shoes and Raquel Diniz.

Natalie Kingham, fashion and buying director, Matchesfashion.com: 

FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: Gucci, Fendi and Marni.

TOP TRENDS: Pleated skirts and balaclavas — the head is definitely the focus of the season.

MUST-HAVE ITEMS: The trainer at Gucci and leopard print.

BEST VENUE: Gucci’s surgical room.

ARE BUDGETS UP, DOWN OR FLAT?: Always up.

SAY BYE-BYE TO: Derivative ideas and black.

NEW TALENTS: Ada Kokosar

Kelly Wong, director of fashion, Lane Crawford: 

FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: Jil Sander and Moncler Genius

TOP TRENDS: Animal prints, dark earth tone colors.

MUST-HAVE ITEMS: Oversized coat with big belt.

BEST VENUE: Gucci and Moncler Genius.

SAY BYE-BYE TO: Not luxury.

TALENT SCOUTING: Sirloin, which showed in Milan this season. We acquired this brand last season under our Next New department.

Riccardo Tortato, fashion director, Tsum.com:

FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: Marni, Tod’s, Fendi, Gucci and Bottega Veneta, which is an Italian brand even if it showed in New York.

TOP TREND: Colors

MUST-HAVE ITEMS: Fendi’s cowboy boots and Versace’s “Chain Reaction” sneaker.

BEST VENUE: Versace

SAY BYE-BYE TO: All those designers who don’t have anything to say and deliver collections which are not creative enough to be shown on the catwalk.

Federica Montelli, head of fashion at La Rinascente: 

FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: Gucci, No. 21, Sportmax, Philosophy by Lorenzo Serafini, MSGM, Marni, Salvatore Ferragamo and Jil Sander.

TOP TRENDS: White, lightweight dresses, pop colors, Eighties’ influences, hacking boots, oversized outerwear, patent leather, teddy bear coats, faux fur and boots.

MUST-HAVE ITEMS: Oversized tailored coats and puffer jackets, padded scarves, foulards styled in a new way, lightweight down layers to wear under coats.

BEST VENUE: Marni

SAY BYE-BYE TO: Velvet, sheer effects and sorbet tones.

TALENT SCOUTING: Vìen

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

FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: Prada! Miuccia’s new take on New Wave with Eighties neon/day-glo brought the audience to their feet and a smile to Miuccia’s face. I’m obsessed with Missoni’s luxurious layering and jumbled joy of texture and color. The best show to date for Angela Missoni. Etro’s Native American and southwest overtures were sophisticated and chic. Customers will be excited for this collection to arrive in-store and online. Attico goes Art Deco and I love it, a theme I’d like to see more of throughout the season. Their charming yet sexy takes on the Twenties and Thirties reinvented feel right for the moment.

BEST VENUE: Miuccia Prada taking her collection to Prada Fondazione. Bella!

MUST-HAVE ITEMS: The poncho.

TOP TRENDS: New Wave/Eighties; Art Deco references giving Twenties/Thirties cinematic glamour; sequins, sequins and more sequins; the pantsuit ushering in a new era of modern tailoring.

NEW TALENT: La Double J by JJ Martin — Milanese ease with chic pattern, print and color is just what the customer is looking for.

Helen David, chief merchant at Harrods:

FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: My overriding favorites were Gucci, Fendi, and Dolce & Gabbana. Gucci because the doctor’s surgery setting and Dr. Frankenstein gave the Gucci show the intended heartbeat. With an intricately pieced-together collection that at once was feminine and pretty, cool and edgy, and pertinently collab-strewn this show was a 10/10. Fendi hit all the trends spot on, albeit in a very under-the-radar “Fendi” manner — Boxy check jacket shoulders, exit after exit, Fendi’s interpretation of streetwear via a Fila collab and lust-worthy accessories. I loved Dolce [& Gabbana] because it was wacky, fun, pertinent, and most certainly had more than ‘something’ for everyone. Cheeky, colorful, and OTT [Over-the-Top].

TOP TRENDS: Checks everywhere! Gucci, Brunello Cucinelli, No. 21, Fendi, Max Mara, Versace, Ermanno Scervino and the list goes on. Black and white checks were overriding, and mostly in the form of oversized boyfriend blazers or statement outerwear. Burgundy and shades of rusty red as seen — everywhere — on ready-to-wear, shoes and accessories.

MUST-HAVE ITEMS: A multicolored oversized in your face cardi-coat, with favorites being at Gucci, Missoni and Etro. I am also rejoicing at the comeback of our beloved Nineties bucket bag, especially the micro ones at Gucci and Fendi.

BEST VENUE: Versace’s Palazzo Reale overlooking the Duomo.

SAY BYE-BYE TO: The under-the-radar coat outerwear is bigger and bolder than ever. OTT [Over-the-Top] is the name of the game, preferably multicolored and oversized.

Heather Shimokawa, Bloomingdale’s vice president, rtw fashion director:

FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: Moncler, Gucci, Fendi, Ferragamo, Missoni. Moncler’s Genius collective was an epic way to start Milan Fashion Week. Gucci: Alessandro Michele’s seemingly boundless depth of creativity continues to delight. Ferragamo: Paul Andrew’s debut RTW collection alongside Guillaume Meilland’s men’s wear was sophisticated, quiet luxury that seemed so self-aware, singular and discreetly chic. It was a subtle and lovely show. Missoni: Such a luscious and effortlessly chic Seventies vibe created by the mashup of color, pattern, layers of mixed textures and an enticing Caribbean ease. Cardigan coats over Lurex separates were pieces you wanted to live it.

TOP TRENDS: Checks and plaids, from Prince of Wales to punk tartans; velvet; leopard  print was definitely a neutral for the season; daywear glitz and shine by way of sequins, Lurex, satin and beading.

MUST-HAVE ITEMS: Western Boots and chic, high-waisted trousers from denim and leather to satin and Lurex.

TALENT SCOUTING: We love the energy and ingenuity of MSGM, as well as No. 21 and Lorenzo Serafini’s Philosophy girl.

Charlotte Tasset, general merchandise manager of women’s apparel, beauty, lingerie and children at Printemps:

FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: The Fendi attitude, mixing its coated check with fur sweaters and Western boots in a way that was still very feminine. Gucci, with Alessandro Michele’s very special universe and storytelling.

TOP TRENDS: Hot colors; neon-fluorescent colors; technical and street/sportswear influence getting stronger and stronger.

MUST-HAVE ITEMS: The Fendi-Fila sweat, the leopard coat from Max Mara and shoes from Marni.

BEST VENUE: Moncler with its very special set-up and new vision of the down jacket.

BUDGETS: Always up.

TALENT SCOUTING: The renewal from Sportmax.

Coco Chan, Stylebop.com head of women’s wear:

FAVORITE COLLECTIONS: Jil Sander, Versace, Gucci, Marni and Missoni.

TOP TRENDS: Power leather — The ultimate sign of 80s power dressing returned with a vengeance. Skirts, slouchy pants, suiting, dresses and killer outerwear all exuded confidence and self-possession. For modern classics updated, there were the gorgeous full sleeve overcoats at Max Mara, a nod to “Working Girl”’s high-octane glamour, also the wine-hued trench at Versace was a pure knockout. The pleated trousers at Ferragamo moved as easily as jeans. For something a little more subversive, there were flashes of vinyl at No. 21 and Marni — the key-tone blue opener there was a definite showstopper.

Quilted comfort — references to duvets, quilts and blankets underscored the protective, covered up vibe that is defining the season. The best iterations used them to lend depth and complexity to modern layers, such as the belted long vests at Agnona or the short sleeve tech coats at Prada, which read as sporty yet sophisticated. There were also subtle references to western riding blankets with the flurries of fringe that adorned much of the standout outerwear (see Max Mara, Fendi, Etro). But the best and most surprising interpretation came from Jil Sander, which spun bedding into a soft architecture that really dazzled with its ease, delicacy and technical prowess.

Tartan explosion — tartans and plaids have been a strong undercurrent in all cities, but Milan provided the most exquisite iterations thus far. Fendi served up theirs laminated into slick coats and separates. At Gucci they boasted a seventies vibe that clashed beautifully against the house’s ornate knitwear and glittering layers. Donatella emerged triumphant, flirting with the Nineties “Clueless” look with vibrant, collegiate tones but offsetting with grown up options like fringed cocktail dresses and some amazing brushed-angora coats.

MUST-HAVE ITEMS: A camel blanket coat with fringe trim and an oversized leather trench coat. The versions at Versace, Max Mara and Marni are definitely topping the wish list.

BEST VENUE: The Gucci Hub because it allowed Alessandro Michele to realize his freaky cinematic vision, with mad scientist operating room and parade of glamorous fashion mutants.

ARE BUDGETS UP, DOWN OR FLAT?: Outerwear is a key focus for the fall buy and season after season Milan distinguishes itself with some of the most beautiful and timeless examples, our budget definitely reflects that.

SAY BYE-BYE TO: Pared-down minimalism — the new mood is all about more is more. Pile on the layers with prints, patterns, textures and embellishments.

TALENT SCOUTING: Lucio Vanotti is definitely proving himself as the one to watch. He’s a great example for young designers as rather than rushing, he’s playing the long game, nuancing and evolving his core aesthetic. The results are clearly paying off with a beautiful collection that balanced clever innovation with commercial appeal.

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