In the third of the month’s fashion weeks, this has been Milan’s chance to shine. The Milanese schedule is packed with design houses whose visual language normally drips in heritage and exudes craftsmanship, with Rococo influence never too far away. However, for SS14 Milan got fresh. Themes, colours and presentation felt younger than in recent seasons and the flamboyant, humorous instincts of the designers worked together to build a much more commercial offering. We’ve applied metrics to consumer and show-goer reaction, to bring you Milan’s definitive top trends.
1. Milan’s Colours
Milan’s shows were a riot of punchy, rainbow drenched colour. Rather than bewildering, chaotic clashing of strong colour stories in a collection was a success. Dolce & Gabbana journeyed through sepia and gold, took in forest and chartreuse, dropped in on yellow, lime and red before stopping with the most traffic-stopping of reds. Another impressive palette was seen at Prada where the khaki, cyan, yellow and emerald felt deviously archaic. Ditch the rule books!
2. Most Talked-About Designer
Guccis’s SS14 offering operated to a clever formula; presenting versions of current high-trend shapes, tweaked just enough to offer newness without alienating the market. That translated into a lightweight mesh bomber, a pyjama suit done in metallic fabric, tracksuit bottoms with Art Nouveau motifs, sportiness paired with a dash of Eastern exoticism. Their strategy worked, earning them 14% more mentions than next closest contender, Versace, and 40% more online mentions than Prada – whose collection may have stolen editor’s hearts, but not so for consumers, yet.
3. Key Shape: Top of the crops
As we’ve seen with New York and London, Milan paid homage to the navel with a proliferation of crop tops on the runways of Just Cavalli, Jil Sander and Ports 1961. The best updates came in the form of cropped shirting, which had a contemporary neatness to them at No.21 and Alberta Ferretti.
4. Theme: Sports Day
It’s pretty much a done deal; SS14’s top theme is an update of sports luxe. In Milan this took two forms, the first a vibrant and direct reference of sportswear shapes and palettes. Piping, bomber jackets, mesh and tracksuit pants were seen at Iceberg, Fay and Trussardi. A second approach to the sporty style was understated – a sheer layer, an ease of fit, a silk trouser or technical fabric. Max Mara and Marni were masters of this version.
5. Key Shape: Camisole Dress
Camisole tops were a big hit for retailers during SS13, so the flurry of cami dresses on SS14’s runways so far make good commercial sense. The best version exude 90s simplicity – Max Mara offered neutrals and jewel tones for theirs. Meanwhile, Just Cavalli’s barely-there camisole slip dresses were a cacophony of print, sheers and embellishment.
6. Popular Prints: Floral
While there was still a great deal of investment in leopard prints and stripes, and some fun polka dots sneaking into the action, florals were the week’s most talked-about print. We can use that as an accurate measure of what will sell well next season, as runway hype drives consumers’ tastes and inspires street style influencers. The florals on offer were based on more traditional blooms than those seen in London, but interest was added with photo-realism at Versace, retro palettes at Blugirl and large scale from Les Copains.
7. Theme: Retrovision
Milan does kitsch better than any other capital, so retro’s presence on their catwalks was no surprise. As opposed to London and New York taking the reference and blurring it with other stories, Milan dished up their 50s and 60s looks straight from the past. Capri pants and tunic tops, cat eye shades, shift dresses and mod-ish prints stood out, with Fendi best in class for the latter.
8. Top Detail: Heavy Embellishment
Milan’s love of fine art wasn’t entirely off the radar for the season, with heavy embellishment a strong trend. Prada created bejewelled brassieres on the front of pinafores and coats to underline their feminist theme, whilst ornamentation at No.21 had a more classic feel. At Krizia, embellishment took on architectural forms, but our favourite (and perhaps the style with real commercial legs) was the simple white skater dress at Francesco Scognamiglio, covered with a smattering of large-scale jewels.
9. Popular Prints: Artwork
Digital prints, photographic scenes and illustrations pulled together to create an artistic print trend. Both Ports 1961 and Angelo Marani used orange-hued landscape photography on sweaters or bomber jackets, hinting at a voyage of discovery. Jil Sander’s Arte Povera-inspired prints brought a fun, collaged feel to an otherwise sedate collection. Prada’s illustrations were propaganda for their girl gang and Aquilano. Rimondi’s Gauguin prints on lustrous fabrics and in vivid shades were sumptuous masterpieces.
10. Silhouette: Oversized
Italian iconography may favour the hourglass silhouette, but for SS14 designers in Milan got loose. Take Mother of Pearl’s bowling-shirt shirts, mannish in their shape, but undisputedly feminine in print. Marni’s fullness at the hip may not translate commercially,but their super-wide legged trousers were exquisite. Bottega Veneta demonstrated genius in form, with a collection of square-cut shirt dresses, in pleats layered on pleats and with ruffled waists – none of which took away from the femininity or sensuality of the wearer. Look and learn.
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