Milan greets us half-way through fashion month; an often welcomed sight after New York and London, as the fashion houses stage a delicate blend of commerciality and artisanal fashion. While brands such as Bottega Veneta, Max Mara and Maison Margiela are making minimalism more customary at Milan, we can always rely on Italian extravagance from the maisons.
Here is Voir’s Italian rundown – ‘è una bella vita’, as they say in Italy.
Maison Margiela, known to many as the artisanal French fashion house, never fails to pull off a show that plays on deconstruction and avant-garde. And this year was no exception, as creative director John Galliano deconstructed the very concept of marriage. As frills and tulle cascaded over looks that varied from stereotypically bridal blushing plume dresses, femme white suits, to t-shirts embroidered with “Better half-ism” and “They’re two of a kind” – ultimately the message was: be your own ‘better half’. With look three, in particular, verging on a bridal superwoman look with a tulle cape, and Margiela’s logo printed gloves, Galliano created a bride less ‘runaway’, more autonomy.
It’s undoubtedly wedding season in Italy for SS20.
Max Mara is adored by many a Scandi-style enthusiast for its definitive minimalism. Oddly enough creative director Ian Griffiths explained that this year’s Spring/Summer collection was inspired by Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Killing Eve (of whom he is a massive fan).
The collection was less of women’s fashion to be the love interest in a spy thriller, more the protagonist of her own. Griffiths explained to Vogue Villanelle would have everything to choose from “car chase to the ball scene”.
The collection began with a sweep of business attire, as suits, trenches and blazers deployed down the runway in Prince of Wales grey checks, and slowly moving into evening attire as soft ruffles and volant-ed trousers blended into the utilitarian wear. While we saw the typical neutral hue of Max Mara, seen in camel, greys and whites, the soft pastel that picked up in speed as the evening wear premiered at the end of the show was a welcomed sight from the fashion house – we know Villanelle loves a pop of colour.
Tie-dyed prints, bohemian-silhouettes, patchwork denim, tasselled leather, turquoise accessories and a butterfly motif slip dress all screamed a ‘Summer of Love.’
Alberta Ferretti was an added designer this season who felt an impulse for 1970’s fashion. Perhaps imagined under the guise of a brilliantly hot summer in Europe this past year, or inspired by Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate, the collection was a perfect cascade of the zeitgeist of American fashion under Nixon. It was perhaps a comment by the designer for a similar call to action for unity in an era of Brexit and Trump.
Tie-dyed prints, bohemian-silhouettes, patchwork denim, tasselled leather, turquoise accessories and a butterfly motif slip dress all screamed a ‘Summer of Love.’ While the darkened hues of the evening wear may have seemed out of place in juxtaposition with the rest of the line, it gave the sequence of colour the illusion of an Italian sunset in the deep-heat of summer: pinks, oranges and violets of a departing sun kissing a skyline goodbye, paired with the turquoise greens, black and blues of a glistening Mediterranean Sea.
It seems that it wasn’t only Max Mara that had a preoccupation for pastels this Spring/Summer, as Emporio Armani’s collection led with a foundation of pastel pinks and blues, and muted olives to offset the striking velvet house blue that left audiences in awe. While we can agree that softened hues are no ground-breaking revelation for a SS collection, the metallic motif that ran throughout the show is certainly more thematic and expected of the latter half of the year. As sequined, silver slips concluded the show, and reflective wide-leg suit trousers scattered looks throughout, it’s clear that for this season Armani, much like Monet, dances with how light bounces off different textures.
Baby brand, No. 21’s collection according to founder Alessandro Dell'Acqua was a play with sexuality. As the menswear explored non-conformist femininity (a continuing theme in the fashion stratosphere of late), the women’s moved between patterned floral suits to see-through tulle dresses. The collection came as no surprise as the brand itself was founded on an Italian love of the female form, and Dell’Acqua’s admiration for Yves Saint Laurent’s flirtation with eroticism in his work inspires him to this day.
Graphics by Aamir Potrick