teenage dreams in milan
As this season's empowering shows in Milan come to an end, designers from MSGM to Missoni gave us the gift of eternal youth.
Youth has no age, and at Milan Fashion Week this season age doesn't come with dress codes, either. "Every girl from fifteen to eighty wants to feel youthful, no?" Peter Dundas pondered after his debut show at Roberto Cavalli on Saturday. At Gucci, Alessandro Michele got his tween on with glitter and stars and a whole lot of pink, a girly rainbow theme echoed at a tie-dyed DSquared2 and at Pucci where Massimo Giorgetti gave it up for bright, multi-coloured feathers. Youth is in the air in Milan, but it's not just fashion's usual obsession with age—this season, it seems, designers are breaking down those antiquated barriers for what's considered 'age-appropriate' or not, inviting women of all ages to dress (and act!) the way they feel.
It's a hot topic. Earlier this year, Madonna fired back at the media for constantly criticising her for not behaving appropriately to her age, dressing 'too young' or 'too sexy' for a 57-year-old, snogging young rappers on stage and so on. "I am acting my age," she said in Rolling Stone. "This is me. This is how I want to be. I can do what I want. There's no rules. I shouldn't be limited by my age or a number." This autumn, i-D dealt with the question of age-appropriateness in the Coming of Age issue, encouraging all women - and men - to do just that: live fast, and die old. On Sunday at the spring/summer 16 shows in Milan, it was as if the industry had heard our call for change. On the MSGM, Missoni and Dolce & Gabbana runways, it was all about adopting the universal attitude of youth—and everyone's welcome to join.
At MSGM, Massimo Giorgetti's second show of the week, models in grungy frills walked fast and furiously as their mini skateboard earrings dangled in the runway wind. It had all the teenage Cali-girl qualities of Giorgetti's world, but the garments themselves weren't actually that 'young' or sexy or girly. That spirit came entirely courtesy of the attitude, and it was a great sentiment. Missoni hit that same note later in the day where the knitwear trademark of the house effortlessly balanced out those age codes: Joan Smalls' cropped top had the skimpy look of youth but the knitted feel of something perhaps a bit older, effectively fusing and breaking down the age codes. Converse-like trainers in Missoni's famous pattern had a young but grounded vibe about them.
Dolce & Gabbana continued their never-ending Italian gap year, dedicating dresses to various Italian places through touristy motifs: Pisa, Sardinia, Portofino and so on. And pricelessly, they took that tourist reference even further, getting the models to take selfies on the runway like young tourists would do it in front of famous attractions, while selfies of the models with the designers appeared on big screens. It was an illustration of our time: the selfie, which is no longer exclusive to the teenage segment but now a phenomenon practised by people of all ages. For a Milan Fashion Week that's been about female empowerment above all, it was a great message to finish on.
Text Anders Christian Madsen
Photography Jason Lloyd Evans