MILAN — “Italy is having a moment,” according to Linda Fargo, senior vice president, women’s fashion director and store presentation at Bergdorf Goodman. “In many respects, this is Milan’s season. The gravitational pull toward modern luxe and understatement is an Italian sweet spot and we’re all in. Calming new neutrals were a big story here. Brands like Fendi, Max Mara, Loro Piana, Brunello Cucinelli, Agnona and Valextra expressed it best. The pops of unexpected colors especially in accessories but also in ready-to-wear were also a trend with pull especially in tandem with the abundant neutrals.” Fargo also praised Prada and Bottega Veneta’s reset by Daniel Lee — both named by several retailers.
Trends were strong and included a Nineties vibe with grunge influences; leather in all categories; revisited tailoring with a feminine sensibility and boots galore.
The news of Karl Lagerfeld’s death clouded the week, but his last collection for Fendi was a hit and seen as a moment to celebrate the designer and his immense legacy.
Here, a roundup of the Milan highlights from the mouths of retailers:
Ken Downing, senior vice president and fashion director, Neiman Marcus:
Favorite Collections: Prada, Miuccia’s Anatomy of Romance collection’s juxtaposition of masculine military, feminine florals and lace injected with the humor of Frankenstein and his bride were brilliant. Fendi for its chic simplicity and perfect execution of detail, clothes that speak of the women who wears them. Agnona for the understated elegance and modern minimalism with just a whiff of Nirvana, that hints to the underlying grunge movement nods to the Nineties. Antonio Marras for the eclectic, eccentric energy presented in his studio inspired by the artist Modigliani. Dolce & Gabbana’s return to Eleganza, presented in the old school commentated runway presentation with a collection that was part art, part theater, and 100 percent celebrating the craft of creating clothes.
Top Trends: Nineties paired down elegance, the return of minimalism; extreme volumes; rich reds and fuchsia, olive, emerald and camel; animal magnetism of leopard, tiger, python and mock croc; conversation creating coats; capes; plumage — feathers are the favorite adornment; extreme boots.
Must-haves: Conversation creating coats and capes; storm trooper boot.
New Talents: Act N.1 is a brand to watch.
Best Venue: Antonio Marras showroom transformed into artist’s Amedeo Clemente Modigliani studio.
Say Bye-bye To: Disco.
Tyler Franch, fashion director, Hudson’s Bay and The Room:
Favorite Collections: Versace’s Nineties grunge-inspired looks that will work in perfectly to the Millennial customer’s closet and Insta feed. “The new” and tougher Bottega Veneta, as reimagined by Daniel Lee. Prada’s sharp-yet-feminine take on utility and Fendi’s celebration of Karl’s passing with a focus on the creative genius’ ability to touch every generation with bow-adorned looks, logo tights, oversize blazers worn over pretty tulle skirts and the houses signature furs.
Top Trends: All forms of pleating, luxe sweater dressing, monochromatic looks in neutrals or shades of brown (don’t forget the matching shoe, hat and handbag), statement-making leather and couture like lace details.
Must-haves: The winter trench seen best in colored or printed leather; the ultra sleek knee-high boot in python; a party dress from The Attico, and a new colorful teddy coat from Max Mara. And for me? I’ll take anything from Bottega.
Best Venue: Daniel Lee’s debut runway collection for Bottega Veneta was held in a plastic bubble tent at the beginning of Corso Sempione facing the Arco della Pace (Arch of Peace), representing the peace among the European nations. Jeremy Scott took over a convention center with a game show-themed runway for Moschino complete with all the families’ favorites to watch, a red Ferrari for the grand prize and a remixed “The Price Is Right” theme song.
Roopal Patel, senior vice president, fashion director, Saks Fifth Avenue:
Favorite Collections: Karl Lagerfeld’s final collection for Fendi was incredibly moving and powerful. The film by Loïc Prigent was a beautiful tribute and testament to Mr. Lagerfeld and his legacy at Fendi. The Moncler Genius concept is truly “genius” with the collaborative creative spirit and synergy. Standouts include Pierpaolo Piccioli, Simone Rocha and Palm Angels. Gucci’s eclectic collection of masks, spikes, tailoring, punk and tailoring kicked off the week with a creative vision that only Alessandro Michele can give us. Mrs. Prada’s “anatomy of romance” collection was a standout this week with a mix of utility, military and floral feminine and masculine blend. Daniel Lee’s debut collection for Bottega Veneta was very promising, bringing a fresh perspective and vision for the house. At Attico, Gilda Ambrosio and Giorgia Tordini delivered a sexy, sultry, high-energy collection for their global cult following. Brunello Cucinelli’s fall collection is effortless and cozy. The palette of winter whites and neutrals, knit ponchos, luxe leathers and tailored jackets are all part of the Cucinelli essential wardrobe.
Top Trends: The boxy jacket; tailoring; minimalism; monochromatic dressing; new neutrals; camel; winter whites; novelty knits; the Eighties; punk; leather; the Nineties; scarf prints; feathers; statement outerwear; neon; lace; pleats; bows; tulle; metallics; glam cocktail and evening; the shoulder flap bag and the mini structured bag.
New Talents: Carolina Castiglioni’s collection Plan C is filling a void in fashion with her unique vision and perspective. The collection feels directional and fresh for today’s women. Wandering by Giorgia Gabriele is feminine, sophisticated and chic. It has been on our radar, but the fall collection hit all the elements.
Best Venue: Gucci’s fully mirrored floor to ceiling disco box. It made for great people watching and multiple dimensional during the show.
Must-haves: Anything from Fendi this season.
Say Bye-bye To: Logomania…there have been less logos on the runways for women’s and men’s.
Erica Russo, vice president fashion director for accessories and beauty, Bloomingdale’s:
Favorite Collections: Bottega Veneta with Daniel Lee’s debut along with Fendi’s sharp tailoring, frame bags and the touching tribute to Karl Lagerfeld. Gucci continues to dazzle; Ferragamo’s jewel tone leather outerwear, and beautiful boots, and Philosophy were also standouts.
Top Trends: Feminine sportswear, sophisticated tailoring and head-to-toe tonal dressing — ivory, spice tones, and burgundy — in either leathers or wool and cashmere. Updated suiting silhouettes with dropped shoulders or a slouchy pant as well as Nineties influences done in a sexy, flirty way with an edge.
Must-haves: Statement outerwear in leather like a trench or robe coat, knee-high boots in animal prints or gorgeous color and structured frame bags.
New Talents: Plan C had fantastic color and a fresh take on fabrications and layering.
Riccardo Tortato, e-commerce fashion director, Tsum:
Favorite Collections: Versace, Fendi, Gucci
Top Trends: A new and extensive use of leather.
Must-haves: Embroidered stockings, in particular those showcased on the Versace catwalk.
Best Venue: The Armani Silos for the Giorgio Armani coed show.
Natalie Kingham, fashion and buying director, Matchesfashion.com:
Favorite Collections: Bottega Veneta and Prada.
Top Trends: Tonal shades of beige and black.
Must-haves: The Bottega Veneta bag.
Best Venue: Jil Sander.
New Talents: It’s a secret, but we are already excited about how our innovators program is taking shape for fall 2019.
Say Bye-bye To: Logos.
Is Your Open-to-buy Up or Stable?: Up — we always want to give our customers more discovery.
Alex Gordon, women’s wear buyer, Liberty London:
Favorite Collections: Prada; Plan C; Jil Sander and Stella Jean
Top Trends: Jeweled tones; slouchy leather trousers and tailoring.
Must-haves: Stella Jean’s oversize handknit cardi coat.
Best Venue: Marni
New Talents: Plan C. They are going into their second season, but it’s one of the best new brands I’ve seen in a long time.
Is Your Open-to-buy Up or Stable?: Up!
Ida Petersson, women’s wear and men’s wear buying director, Browns:
Favorite Collections: Fendi; Prada; Bottega Veneta; Pierpaolo Piccioli at Moncler Genius; Gucci and Plan C.
Top Trends: There was a continuation of the embellishment that we saw in London with an abundance of feathers and sequins. Also a return to tailoring in all fabrications from wools to structured leathers as seen at Jil Sander, Daniel Lee’s Bottega Veneta and Prada.
Must-haves: The Bottega Veneta quilted shoe and skirt or anything from Moncler Genius.
Best Venue: Both Daniel Lee’s outdoor space basking in the Milan sunshine and Gucci’s mirrored, lit up runway.
New Talents: Plan C is definitely one to watch with the first collection just launching on Browns. I’m also excited to see a few more up-and-coming names on the schedule in Milan although not giving too much away.
Say Bye-bye To: We are seeing less hoodies and T-shirts and a return to a much more detailed, feminine silhouette.
Is Your Open-to-buy Up or Stable?: Up for the season.
Mario Grauso, president, Holt Renfrew:
Favorite Collections: Gucci, as always, did not disappoint by offering a more embellished character from the universe they have created. Knee-pads and fetish masks only made for more complex storytelling. The flashing lights, mirrored ceiling and pulsating music completed the venue for your evening attire. Only Miuccia Prada can make Wednesday Addams and Frankenstein Bride a fashion force to be reckoned with. The most incredible dresses draped from coating tweeds and plaids. Flower prints and origami flowers on the most beautiful skirts and dress. It will be on every customers shopping list. Bottega Veneta was Daniel Lee’s first runway presentation and he did show us quite clearly who the new Bottega men and women will be. Fendi was a touching moment thinking about The icon’s last collection for the house after three decades.
Top Trends: Leather head-to-toe; Varsity influences worn all over from argyle sweaters; Prince of Wales school boy jackets; pleated skirts and plaid dresses and outerwear; military-inspired coats and heavy boots; endless layering; pops of color especially in red; masculine tailored overcoats; shades of neutrals from beige to caramels, and novelty knitwear in interesting intarsias and patterns.
Must-haves: The fuchsia satin boot from Gucci; the black, laser-cut intrecciato leather chain coat from Bottega Veneta; the high-collared white shirts from Fendi — a nod to Karl Largerfeld; the Alyx x Moncler Genius coat with the attached harness and hand-warmer bag; the Bride of Frankenstein bag and origami floral skirts from Prada; a pair of Gucci knee-pads.
Best Venue: The Gucci show that had more than 120,000 LED lightbulbs that reflected off the floor to the ceiling mirrored room.
New Talents: Plan C designed by Carolina Castiglioni is a new brand we will be launching for fall from Milan.
Say Bye-bye To: Say bye-bye to your boring cloth coat. You now have an overwhelming amount of novelty to choose from.
Is Your Open-to-buy Up or Stable?: Stable.
Linda Fargo, senior vice president, women’s fashion director and store presentation, Bergdorf Goodman:
Favorite Collections: Fendi; Max Mara; Loro Piana; Brunello Cucinelli; Agnona; Valextra; Bottega Veneta, and Prada.
Top Trends: Offense or defense, the empowering penchant for toughing it out was a standout trend here, too. We loved the new edge and technical bravado in the reset at Bottega. Black, leather dressing and aggressive footwear had moved into our buying psyche by the end of Milan. Prada is a consistent favorite and the showroom gets only better. Her influences are felt everywhere.
Must-haves: Maxi length, fuzzy nubby shearlings, and camel are knocking all other outerwear out of the box. Noting oversizing in handbags, best at Prada. Vivid accessories another VIP item. Experiential highlights were Alanui’s enchanting presentation in Leonardo da Vinci’s residence and Giorgio Armani’s full walk of the runway. Italy is having a moment!
Elizabeth von der Goltz, global buying director, Net-a-porter:
Favorite Collections: Gucci; Prada; Fendi; Richard Quinn and Simone Rocha at Moncler Genius; Attico, and Max Mara.
Must-haves: Quilted Intrecciato bag from Bottega Veneta; gold slouchy boots from Gianvito Rossi and the new top-handle Fendi baguette bag.
Best Venue: Bottega Veneta in the Piazza Sempione clear tent on a beautiful sunny morning and the impressive Bocconi University where Max Mara staged its show.
New Talents: Amina Muaddi and Giuliva Heritage.
Say Bye-bye To: Fur.
Is Your Open-to-buy Up or Stable?: We’re always looking for opportunities.
Federica Montelli, fashion director, Rinascente:
Favorite Collections: Bottega Veneta; Prada; Fendi; Jil Sander; The Attico; Bally, and Moncler Genius.
Top Trends: A sense of toughness with a dark Brit punkish vein; the mountaineering theme; leather across all categories; boots in different silhouettes, from sock-like styles to tubular and slouchy designs; bright colors; crocodile prints for accessories and ready-to-wear; platform shoes.
Must-haves: A rust leather trenchcoat; a pair of Prada combat boots; Fendi’s sock boots; a leopard coat.
Best Venue: Gucci’s gladiator cage and the minimal set of Bottega Veneta at the Arco della Pace.
New Talents: Officina del Poggio; Gabriele Colangelo; Plan C; Brognano, and Giuseppe di Morabito.
Is Your Open-to-buy Up or Stable?: We are buying more because we have a lot of upcoming projects, including the launch of the e-commerce.
Sebastian Manes, buying and merchandising director, Selfridges:
Favorite Collections: Prada; Versace and Bottega Veneta was a great surprise.
Best Venue: The Karl moment at Fendi.