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Milan Fashion Week Review – Part 1
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Milan Fashion Week Review – Part 1

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As Milan Fashion Week SS2016 draws to a close, we take a moment to reflect on the whirlwind of explosive new styles shown. And we’ve seen it all: picture-postcard runway selfies, sailors walking the plank, and even a fully functional car wash. So in the sea of colourful, charismatic voices, who really stood out?

Dolce & Gabbana®

Signs around the runway let the crowd know what lay in store: “The models in this show will be taking selfies with you. Be part of this special fashion moment.”
The theme of the show, “Italia is Love” was indeed introspective, but on a much grander scale. This was a picture-postcard vision of Italy, drawn from 1940s tourist posters of all its major destinations: Capri, Florence, Amalfi, Pisa and more, all emblazoned across frocks and dresses.

The colours were dazzlingly bright, the accessories were loud, and the nostalgia was tangible. And as the models photographed themselves, the shots were projected onto a giant screen behind the runway. It was a foreigner’s vision of Italy, but Dolce & Gabbana know their audience, and how they want them to see their homeland.

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Dolce & Gabbana models take a runway selfie. Photo: New York Times

Versace®

“The Versace woman unleashed in the urban jungle”, as the show was called, represented somewhat of a departure from Versace’s usual style, though it was as feisty as ever, if not as flashy. “She’s fierce. She’s a fighter. She’s not fragile,” explained Donatella Versace. And indeed, female empowerment was the key theme.
The models dressed in olive and khaki camouflage prints demonstrated this new aesthetic direction, but although the colour palette was somewhat militant, the tailoring was all about wearability: high-slit pencil skirts, loose cut lounge suits, open-back blouses, wide-leg trousers and rubber-sole boots all featured.
All in all, this was a show of exceptional craft, displaying once again that the Versace house offers some of the finest and most desirable dressmaking in the world. And that is exactly how the “Versace woman” wants to be noticed: “for her beautiful tailoring rather than her flashy style”, as Donatella says. “She can’t be weak”. And let there be no doubt about it, judging from this latest collection, she’s anything but.

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Khaki played a huge role in Versace’s show. Photo: The Telegraph.

Gucci®

Six months is a long time in fashion. At least, that’s how long it has taken Alessandro Michele to completely turn this Italian behemoth around, almost reinventing it. This season’s show was held in a disused railway station, in itself a novel move, and the styles on display would seem equally peculiar to anyone that still thinks of Gucci as a staid, conservative, black-brown-and-red type of brand. The page has definitely been turned.

The inspiration for the new collection is quite clear: the 1970s, albeit seen through a decidedly contemporary, “geek chic” prism. Michele himself calls it “fake vintage”, and it’s all the better for it. The marks of modern craftsmanship are what really set this show apart. There were trompe l’oeil pleats, color-shifting organzas, intricately woven gardens on flowing silk dresses. It was spectacular, in every sense of the word.

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The eclectic yet nostalgic Gucci line-up for Spring/Summer 2016. Photo: The Independent

Prada®

So much for the thinking outside the box. Prada’s SS2016 show was about as boxy as they come, with lots of square-shaped jackets, stark angles and straight lines. Its austerity didn’t feel particularly summery, all things considered. The colour palette portrayed a similar feeling. Despite the occasional bright flourish (and the gold lipstick worn by the models), this show was dominated by pastels, Prince of Wales wools and check patterns. In a word, it was discreet, a world away from the eccentric maximalism on display elsewhere.
There was also a fair amount of exuberance in the show, for good measure. Odd combinations (or rather, purposeful clashes) of materials, colours and stylistic touches helped create an air of irrationality, but the focus seemed to be on highlighting individual pieces rather than creating overall “looks”, after all, the modern consumer mixes and matches with ease, and the days of complete outfits are numbered, even at the upper echelons of couture.

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Boxy suits and gold lipstick defined Prada’s look for 2016. Photo: Defuze Mag

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