As the fashion set moved from New York and London, Milan also delivered a clear message: a show of solidarity in times of crisis.
At Gucci, Alessandro Michele chained Jane Austen books with floral printed covers to wrists, “because I think we have to be slaves to culture again in order to change the world.” He also explained, “For the show I wanted to express my obsessions, the flowers, the romanticism, the prints and colour.”
Karl Lagerfeld and Sylvia Fendi took menswear fabrics and prints, such as Prince of Wales check and herringbone, to new realms. They were turned into jackets at the waist with Fendi’s FF logo – also cut from wood and seen on the flooring, or knitted to a jumper. Following on from the wooded show space, 18th century woodcutting inspired the patterns on those fur coats. And taking it back to menswear, Bella Hadid for example wore a black tailored jacket with fur cuffs over a white shirt dress and paired with scarlet thigh-high boots.
Miuccia Prada explored why a woman wants to be seductive and how she can be beautiful and appealing as well as intelligent. So out came models dressed like creative students and mixed ‘70s mannish fabrics such as corduroy trousers, sheepskin hats or coats with oversized lapels with obvious femininity by knitting bra tops, adding embroidery and feathered hems to those coats, and wrapping a knit scarf around the neck of a model in a beaded dress. This was underlined with the audience sitting on doom beds and posters of women in different roles hung on the walls.
Versace followed suit with a collection of ‘the empowerment of the female mind and body.’ Under power suits, on sheer dresses, beanie hats, heels, just about everywhere Donatella displayed positive words, equality, love, courage, unity and strength; just to make her message – and the whole of Milan it seems – clear.
150 people walked Dolce and Gabbana’s runway. There were mothers and daughters (Andrea Dellal, Alice and Charlotte Olympia), boyfriends and girlfriends (Oliver Cheshire and his fiancée singer Pixie Lott), siblings (Halle and Chloe Bailey), journalists (Jo Ellison from the Financial Times) and millennials and pop’s offspring (Lionel Ritchie’s daughter Sofia decked out in jacquard tailoring and blooms in her hair). They each picked out and styled their own looks, and there was every skin colour, body shape and age too. Stefano Gabbana explained, “The character of people is important to us. The message is: You need to accept yourself the way you are. That’s it.”
Alberta Ferrerti and Max Mara continued to eschew fashion norms when Halima Aden – spotted at Yeezy in New York – walked the runway in a hijab. There were retro prints and bright colours at Marni, Francesco Rossi’s first collection for the label as he looked to founder Consuelo Castiglioni legacy.
She was so amazing in freeing stereotyped vision of a woman or a man. That is something that I really care about and I want to fight for.
Missoni’s support of the Women’s March was evident. Placed on each seat was the pink pussy hats worn on the march, models stormed the runway wearing them too. To explain, the show notes read, “Angela Missoni communicates the femininity of our times, prepared to confront the conflicts and dilemmas of our contemporary society: the conditions, needs and rights of all women and minorities.”
And Jeremy Scott at Moschino cut garments from curtains, rugs, sacks, cardboard to deliver the widely-known lady silhouette. “If these ain’t hard times, I don’t know what they are. It’s a very astute time in politics in America,” he explained.
To conclude Milan Fashion Week the Duomo – the cities famous cathedral – held tribute to Franca Sozzani, the editor of Italian Vogue, who sadly died in December at the age of 66. As well as her son, who gave a reading, as did her neice and colleague, the fashion industry gathered to honour Sozzani who continued to push the boundaries at Italian Vogue. Among the large crowd were Anna Wintour, Victoria Beckham, Giorgio Armani, Valentino Garavani, Christopher Bailey, Sarah Burton, Maria Grazia Chiuri, Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell.