Milan – a city where so often the powerhouse heritage brands dominate column inches. For Spring 2015, it was refreshing to see young designers like Stella Jean, Marco de Vincenzo and Angelos Bratis garner attention as well as Giamba, the new and more youthful line from Giambattista Valli. And it was not just the names which felt fresh – designers in the Italian capital so often delve into their heritage reference books and national iconography, and while some did, notably Dolce & Gabbana’s Sicilian affair, designers this season didn’t feel a need to parade the exquisite wears with so much flamboyance. Amidst Italy’s financial strife, it made Milan’s offering wearable, and covetable, on a global scale.
1. Milan’s Palette
That so many of the week’s shows used a neutral color palette need not suggest a dull offering – instead designers focused on fluid lines, and texture. There were nude tones in the innocent bohemian at Alberta Ferretti, a focus on lightness at Emporio Armani, all white outfits at Francesco Scognamiglio and layered cream, stone and mushroom at Marni.
Color was present elsewhere of course, in the striking oranges and tangerines at Emilio Pucci, Gucci and Fausto Puglisi and the limoncello hues at Philipp Plein, Moschino and Missoni. Pinks too were popular; bubblegum at Angelos Bratis, Mattel licensed at Moschino, dusky hued at Giamba and pastel head-to-toe pink at Versace. Alarming red, often popular in Milan, was present for Spring 2015 too, most traffic-stopping at Iceberg, Pucci and Les Copains. For the less bold, thankfully the popular blue palette seen in New York and London exists here too. A shiny navy worked well paired with red at Antonio Marras, there were soft pastels and cornflowers at Ermanno Scervino and a riot of Yves Klein at Emporio Armani.
2. Online’s favorite designer
Gucci has ranked as Milan’s most talked-about designer since Fall 2012, and for Spring 2014 they were the most talked about brand of the entire show month. This year however, Miuccia Prada changed all that, with 14% more online mentions. The drama of her show (apocalyptic soundtrack and lilac moonscape) and the sombre clothes within clearly resonated online, as did the catwalk return of Gemma Ward. So what does Spring 2015 look like in the eyes of Ms. Prada?
Prada wove a strong narrative through their collection, taking divinely reproduced fabrics from the 19th Century through to the mid-60s and working them into a ragged riches mash-up. The clothes, so prim to start, began to unravel and fray as the show marched on, the brocades patchworked in a home-sewn manner. Tank tops, knee socks and 1970s high necks all hinted at the ordinary but with delicate chaos simmering beneath. Raised seams defined the silhouette in figure-skimming sheath dresses, hints of tangerine and bolts of neon green added to the unease. For the most part the palette was dark and leather was used liberally for a summer collection – this disregard for the traditions of the season was seen throughout Milan, and makes good commercial sense.
3. Theme: Unequivocally 70s
The 70s theme so popular in New York and London wasn’t so much followed by Milan, as owned. Milanese designers wholeheartedly agreed that flared trousers, overall/dungaree shapes, waistcoats, neck scarves and retro shades are the order of the day. High-necked dresses, coats and blouses could be found at Gucci, Francesco Scognamiglio (in an unlikely, but brilliant orange and brown combination) and Prada. Just Cavalli, MaxMara and Trussardi’s references were all strong, while Alberta Ferretti and Etro took their 1970s in Woodstock form with Pocahontas references, bohemian wispy maxi dresses and feathered finishes. Acres upon acres of fringing danced their way down Milan’s runway – there is no doubt this is the trim of the season.
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