Fashion month stops for no one. Not even the most prominent industry insiders who are now struggling to determine the role of fashion in a world that seems to be crumbling around us. In Milan, designers approached this existential crisis in one of two ways. Some tried reverting back to the old normal as quickly as possible, while others completely reimagined what the runway could look like. The digital presentations of New York and intimate presentations of London had less of a place in Milan, as many designers decided to hold live, in-person shows with maskless models and a socially distant audience. The desire to escape our current reality was also evident in the collections themselves. Versace, Alanui, and Etro took us on vacation through the seaside, the desert, and the Italian coastline. At Versace, a sand runway and aquatic attire brought Donatella’s undersea vision to life as models floated down the runway in seashell prints, wave-like pleats, and clamshell-inspired bras. At Alanui, we traveled west with a collection full of fringe, knit cardigans, and desert motifs, and at Etro, designers dreamt of the Italian coastline with a collection of bold prints and off-duty essentials.
Rather than cling to what was once perceived as normal, some designers addressed the current crisis with a renewed sense of creativity. At Moschino, Jeremy Scott eschewed the runway for a filmed marionette show that featured a miniature runway, mannequins based on real-life models, and a front row of doll-sized editors. Another approach came from Francesco Risso, whose Marnifesto read: “Let’s not get back to normal; let’s refashion the ‘model,’ the ‘runway,’ the ‘venue’ and the ‘show.’ Not models, but human beings. Not a runway, but living. Not a venue, but the world.” For Marni, he did just that when he revealed the new season’s designs in a video featuring more than 40 friends wearing Marni in numerous cities around the world, from New York to Shanghai. In an interview for Vogue, Risso spoke to his collection and how it meets the moment we’re living in. “This process has been born out of necessity, but it’s also a reaction to a normality that wasn’t working. [The pandemic] has challenged us and so we are exploring and experimenting with new ways of doing things. I don’t know what’s next, but I’m curious and open to learning.”
Formats aside, the collections this season revealed a shift toward effortless dressing marked by shapeless silhouettes, luxurious materials, and quality craftsmanship. Max Mara and Sportmax each presented collections of oversized suiting, loose maxi dresses, and slouchy trousers in shades of neutral. This easy approach to dressing extended to accessories as large totes and oversized sunglasses made an impression at Valentino, Fendi, and Boss. We may not be heading back to the office or traveling further than the grocery store yet, but the capsule-like quality of these versatile collections makes one thing clear: we’ll be comfortable when we do.
Pretty in Purple
Purple +28% to LY
As seen on the runways of Valentino, Tod’s, №21, Genny, and MSGM, purple was everywhere in Milan. From pastel to jewel-toned, shades of cool hue were spotted on a range of styles, from dresses to blouses.
Some brands went the virtual route; others chose not to show at all. Moschino, however, decided to completely reinvent the runway. The luxury fashion house replaced human models with marionettes dressed in miniature versions of the featured looks, creating a truly socially-distanced event with an undeniably clever twist. GCDS similarly reimagined the runway with a line-up of artificial human models and a front row full of famous avatars.
Oversized Sunglasses +19% to LY
Large totes and oversized sunglasses made an impression at Valentino, Fendi, Plan C, Boss, and Sportmax. These larger-than-life accessories continued the easy dressing narrative that worked its way into several collections this season.
A yearning for escape inspired designers to bring the vacation to us. At Versace, a sand runway and aquatic attire brought Donatella’s undersea vision to life. Fitting with the theme, models floated down the runway in seashell prints, wave-like pleats, and clamshell-inspired bras. At Alanui, we traveled west with a collection full of fringe, knit cardigans, and desert motifs, and at Etro, designers dreamt of the Italian coastline with a collection that interpreted classic Riviera style for the modern woman.
We may not be heading back to the office yet, but designers are ready when we do. Loose silhouettes, long proportions, and an oversized fit bring ease and comfort to the classic work wardrobe. The slouchy suiting, knit maxi dresses, and neutral color palettes presented at Max Mara and Sportmax represent the future of office dressing, while the attention to detail and luxe fabrics at Gabriele Colangelo made each piece an instant, and versatile, wardrobe staple. Shapeless silhouettes and flowing fabrics provide maximum comfort with minimum effort. Fabiana Filippi explored the beauty of simplicity with an effortless array of loose maxi dresses, boxy blazers, longline cardigans, and baggy trousers.
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