And you thought Fashion Week meant only one blog post! Well, think again my friends, New York is only the beginning of a month of runway shows, front row folly and incredible designs by new and established design houses alike.
Next on the docket, Milan Fashion Week. As of publication, Milan Spring/Summer21 Fashion Week has officially come to a close (ended Monday, September 28) but that doesn't mean we can't recount some of our favorite moments from the Italian Runway.
A noteworthy distinction between New York and Milan Fashion Weeks truly was the abundance of in real life shows. Where as New York had maybe 1-3 IRL runway shows, Milan had numerous. If anything it was an indication of how different life currently is in Milan versus stateside. Whereas Milan has likely passed the crux of the pandemic, the US is still steeped in it. Show attendees in Milan merely remained six feet apart and kept their masks on during the shows whereas New York Show Goers remained home (for the most part).
It made me realize the importance of the live runway show when it comes to Fashion Week. Many designers have talked about the changing times in the fashion industry but still emphasize the importance of a live show. While the CFDA brought us Runway360 this year and allowed fashion enthusiasts to enjoy the New York shows from the comfort of their couches, there's just something incomparable about a live show.
From the sets that paint an all-encompassing picture and evoke a desired emotion to the models clad in their various designs, all shapes and sizes and variety in their runway walks, it's electric, the live Fashion Show, and for that I hope it never disappears.
Unlike New York I did not watch all of the Fashion Shows but merely caught up with some of my fave designers. As I mentioned, also unlike New York, most of the presentations from each designer were actual 15-30 minute in-person shows so it was definitely more of a time commitment.
That being said, here are some of my favorites from Milan Fashion Week, Spring/Summer 2021.
Identical twins and designers Dean and Dan Caten brought us a collection that Hero Magazine calls "real clothes for real men and women." I've always loved the edginess you'll find in a DSquared2 collection and this one was no exception. Similar to a lot of the designs found at NYFW, DSquared2 implemented a certain level of androgyny that I just adored. From sheer lace tops featured on male (and female) models to oversized baggy jeans and cargo pants on a petite female model, DSquared2 delivered on "real clothes for men and women."
You'll notice in a number of the clothing featured throughout the Fendi collection, a print reminiscent of looking through a window pane. Well, that's because that's exactly what it is! Photos taken by Silvia Venturini Fendi from her bedroom window during lockdown were used throughout the collection. With a muted color palette reminiscent of the morning sun breaking through the window or blue skies peeking through a cloudy day, the Fendi collection captured the feeling of lockdown and a longing to be on the other side of the window pane. Not only was this an important collection with the return of a live runway but it marked the transition from Karl Lagerfeld to "Kim Jones, her [Silvia Venturini Fendi's] newly-elected brother in arms," according to a Vogue Runway article written by Luke Leitch. Silvia wanted to "achieve clothes that are about the moment, but which also are part of your life, for your life."
Titled "Patchwork of Sicily," Dolce and Gabbana dedicated their SS21 collection to "the multicultural history of their favourite island by patchworking single garments from elements belonging to each cultural influence, from the Spaniards to the Arabs and the Normans," according to a Vogue UK Article by Anders Christian Madsen. This was by FAR my favorite collection! D&G tapped into the sustainability movement that's happening across the globe and trickling into the Fashion world as designers look for ways to reduce waste and their carbon footprint with their collections. Taking many of their designs from a 1993 collection, according to the article, D&G modernized the cuts for a Spring/Summer21 collection thus illuminating their dedication to "resourcefulness through repurposing: making a new wardrobe from your old one."
“In this difficult situation, so harsh and unforgiving in many ways, my gut instinct was to embrace kindness and a certain seductive softness. I believe that it stems from self-confidence and from the acceptance of the natural power of femininity,” said designer Alberta Ferretti speaking to Vogue Writer Tiziana Cardini on the phone prior to her SS21 show. While femininity is quite evident throughout the collection, so is a desire to imbue the world with brighter, happier colors. From desert camel tones to soft greens and blues, Alberta Ferretti brings a certain sense of ease to the Spring/Summer21 show. From asymmetrical shell earrings to oversized crocheted bags, there was an influence of a tropical escape throughout the collection, something we're all desiring as we look to seasons to come.
A collection seemingly established for the modern working-woman, Max Mara's SS21 collection was inspired in large part by the timeless Italian Fashion ideal "that by investing in something that made you feel your best, you were equipped to do your best…. And now I’m thinking about the women who are going to be striding out into this world to make it better than it was before,” according to Vogue Runway Article by Luke Leitch. Teeming with apparel for the modern woman, this collection featured items that were comfortably chic whether the wearer finds themselves stomping down the streets of Milan toward the office or still working from the comfort of their own home.
Given the inordinate amount of time at home at the beginning of this year when the pandemic first hit, Veronica Etro was left feeling quite nostalgic as she "restored an old record player and started listening to these old Neopolitan songs," with her mom, according to a Vogue Runway Article by Luke Leitch. As such, the designer, "started thinking about a trip I took in 2019 to Ischia, Capri, Naples, and Positano, and—maybe because we were so patriotic during that period—I thought, okay, let’s make the collection all about Italy.” Thus what was born was a collection teeming with nautical influence and vintage silhouettes from decades past. From bustiers and cigarette pants to cropped cable-knit sweaters, Etro was rife with modern interpretations of classic styles we know and love.
Set in the imagined ruins of Atlantis, Versace's Spring/Summer21 show was a visual treat. “I wanted to do something disruptive and to break the rules because I think that, what worked a few months ago, does not make any sense today. Creatively, that meant finding a way to bring the DNA of Versace to a new reality and to people who have undergone a deep change,” Donatella Versace said in speaking to her reemergence on the catwalk post quarantining at home with her dog for months on end. As previously mentioned, there is a reigning call to action among fashion designers to emerge from the pandemic better and more responsible stewards of the fashion industry. That being said, Donatella was asked about her role in this ever-changing landscape of Fashion to which she said she sees the brand as “an example of inclusion, of mutual support, and acceptance of what is different from us,” in a Vogue Runway Article by Anders Christian Madsen. Perhaps most noteworthy about the Versace Runway was the brand's use of not one but THREE plus-size models for the first time ever! I would say it's finally taking the necessary steps toward change.
It wouldn't be a proper Milan Fashion Week recap without discussing the innovative Moschino Runway. Titled "No Strings Attached," Jeremy Scott's over-the-top puppet show featuring 40 miniaturized couture fashion looks and doll-ified versions of Front Row favorites like Anna Wintour and André Leon Talley stole Milan Fashion Week. “The best thing I could do for everyone who is stressed about the election, the pandemic, social unrest, and the future was to give the gift of fantasy and take us away from all of it for a few minutes; let us enjoy this little fashion world of ours,” Scott said in an interview with Anders Christian Madsen for Vogue. Despite a worldwide desire to don athleisure and comfier silhouettes during a working from home era, Scott leaned into his personal desire to "celebrate the virtues of haute couture, more relevant now than ever."
“Fashion for me is a way to talk about the values that matter today. The true acceptance of diversity. Tolerance and kindness. This is the world I want to tell through my work as a designer,” said Pierpaolo Piccioli in an interview with Tiziana Cardini for Vogue Runway. The Valentino Runway was overflowing with beautiful feminine details seen on both the male and female models. From sheer details, to lace, floral accents and ruffles, the Romantic influence and DNA of Valentino was quite evident. In addition, the Runway featured an exceptionally diverse cast, harkening back to Piccioli's desire to "highlight the values that matter today."
As a reminder, this blog post is a "highlight reel," showcasing my favorites from Milan Fashion Week and not an all-encompassing recap of Fashion Week. Personally, I quite enjoyed being able to compare the NYFW experience to the one in Milan and loved seeing both similarities in trends being showcased for the Spring/Summer21 season as well as the vast differences illuminated between different cultures and their subsequent fashions.
AlmostFabMe's Main Takeaways from Milan Fashion Week:
*Shoutout to diversity on the Runway (I see you Versace).
*The Italian woman is READY for her post-Quarantine/WFH coming out party.
*Accessories are an integral part of his and her head-to-toe look.
*Designers are pulling from the archives as an innovative way to practice sustainability and up-cycling. What's old is new again!
Stay tuned for even more Fashion Week recaps coming soon!