war of the worlds on sunday at milan fashion week
On Sunday evening, Dsquared2 closed the shows in Milan with a courtly military collection that took the season's opulence to new heights. But didn't Prada say it was all about simplicity?
You'd be forgiven for thinking this season was playing tricks on you. All around the runways in New York, London and Milan designers have been turning up the volume on the pomp and circumstance, from Stuart Vevers' prairie punk princesses at Coach, to Christopher Bailey's Renaissance renderings at Burberry, and Karl Lagerfeld's rococo reverie at Fendi. Yet on Thursday, fashion's fortune teller Miuccia Prada decreed that this is a time for scaling it down: "It's doing something much more simple and trying to find a new way of elegance," she said after an ascetic show that marked a loud departure from seasons of ornamentation at Prada.
Her vision was no doubt a reaction to that majestic mood, fuelled above all by Alessandro Michele's intricate and opulent Gucci, which is also the most direct evidence of the trend on the streets. Opulence isn't an easy look to pull off - let alone afford - so while designers have been plugging it for seasons now, it hasn't exactly materialised IRL--that is, with the exception of Gucci and perhaps Dries Van Noten, who's always had a majestic point of departure, no matter the zeitgeist. Despite Mrs Prada's contrary outlook, Milan marched on towards new heights of splendour this weekend, closing the week with Victorian gigot-sleeved military madness at Dsquared2, girly but very courtly flounces at MSGM, and imposing sculptural shapes at Marni, which echoed similarly formidable silhouettes at Jil Sander the day before.
The spirit for couture has lingered for a while now in fashion, but bar Prada it doesn't seem to know a limit--and perhaps it hasn't reached one? Come Paris, where houses have some surprises in stall, we'll see if the season leans more towards Mrs Prada's minimal foreshadowings, or if opulence prevails. This Tuesday, Anthony Vaccarello makes his debut at Saint Laurent, while on Friday Maria Grazia Chiuri inaugurates her era for Dior as the first-ever female designer at the old house. Nicholas Ghesquiere has always been a dipstick when it comes to fashion tendencies. Rumour around Milan has it, when he shows his spring/summer 17 collection for Louis Vuitton on Wednesday 5th, he's got something new up his sleeve.
Text Anders Christian Madsen