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Milan Fashion Week: In Difficult Times Fashion Is Always Outrageous

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Whilst most of the world’s fashion weeks offer glamour by the bucketload, when it comes to Milan you may as well just bring a skip.  From the sizzling style of Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Moschino, Roberto Cavalli, Pucci and Gucci to the paired back luxe of Prada, Armani, Sportmax and Jil Sander, Milan Fashion Week just cannot help but be reliably and unrelentingly fabulous.  Colour was big this year, whilst oriental was a repeated theme; there were unexpected golden moments , such as the mosh pit Beth Ditto created at Versus and the quietly triumphant return of Jil Sander.  If you missed Milan’s avvenimento principale this year then here are a few of our highlights:




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Alessandro Dell'Acqua’s SS13 No.21 collection had one common thread and that was contrast.  From the combinations of vivid blue on startling white, plain under print, masculine and feminine, boxy tops and sleek skirts, vintage fabrics like lace cut into modern, sporty shapes, Perspex peek-a-boo panels on a classic slingback and the use of bottle caps alongside Swarovski crystals, there wasn’t one look that you could slot into a single pigeonhole.  Show notes cited the view of the Tumblr generation as inspiration for the collection and this showed in the eccentric combination of ideas, from vestal virgin motifs to almost provocative bead clusters at the chest.  Some of it may not have made any sense (see the bead clusters) but there was more than a whiff of genius about it.


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If you were looking for escapism in SS13 then this collection – described by Veronica Etro as ‘windows to a fantasy world’ – will have pushed all your buttons.  With a strong Eastern vibe, the pieces that strutted their way down the shimmering catwalk were stiffly tailored and scattered with blooming prints that seemed to be climbing up the sides of legs and torsos.  Cropped tailored trouser suits, obi belts, kimonos and judo jackets were worked into swirling skirts, bomber jackets, bold candy stripes and Capri pant jumpsuits with one shoulder drapes, finished off with enormous chandelier earrings on every girl.  The last looks down the catwalk came in great big pops of citrus colours and we spotted the perfect gown for the modern fantasy heroine in a maximum impact metallic and gem shift. 

Jil Sander

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Jil Sander’s return to the helm was one that we were awaiting on our tiptoes.  Whilst the show notes were enough to send you off into paroxysms of anticipation ("verticality, rocket style. Reset to zero... Spherical textiles, pristine, crisp") it could also have created a very disappointing anticlimax.  Except that was never going to happen.  To an audience of loyally white shirt suited folk, a straightforward palette of navy, deep red and crisp white was accented by bright poppy red nude and black.  There were simple shifts, long length waistcoats (‘thighcoats’ perhaps?), shorts suits and balloon skirts with leather trim around the waist.  A cool, clean athletic aesthetic that was restrained even in sequins. 

Aquilano Rimondi

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The Aquilano Rimondi show was one of the highlights of Milan for us, a selection of thrilling frocks with an electrifying pulse running through the entire collection.  Prints that blurred the vision, electric blues, purples and greens, candy striped under skirts, peplums, bustiers and pencil skirts in a riot of prints, patterns and colours made us want to laugh out loud and take a shot of something.  And then there were the shoes – decorative leg plates cuffed at the ankle or stamped up the thigh; body armour for Glamazons. 

Dolce & Gabban and Pucci

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Whilst the shows in Milan may have drawn to a close, before the Fashion Week Express moves on to its last stop in the French capital, we’ll leave you with this: Pucci’s Chinese dragons prowling up dresses, jumpsuits and bombers; gutsy and gorgeous great big punches of colour at Gucci; and the roguish raffia corsets at Dolce & Gabbana.  “In difficult times fashion is always outrageous,” said Elsa Schiaparelli, and Milan did a pretty good job of proving her right.

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