is milan back in business?
Spirits are high in Milan this season as young designers and old houses rediscover the golden era of the Italian fashion week. Bellissimo!
It's all happening in Milan this season. Yup, the days of commercial snooze fests and shows simply for the sake of money seem to have been lifted by the rejuvenated Milanese spirit everyone's been calling for in recent years: great shows and appreciative show-goers. On Saturday, it was exemplified by the emotional reactions at Emilio Pucci, the show rumoured to be the last for Peter Dundas, who's thought to be going to Roberto Cavalli. Dundas has always put on a fabulous show — sexy supermodels, sexy soundtracks — but this one went the extra mile, mapping out cosmos on sparkly starry night dresses and a sweeping embellished cape worn dramatically by Lily Donaldson. At the end, Dundas came out with his entire team in tow, bowing down to them and leaving half his front row and all his PRs in tears. Hashtag moment, as the kids say.
The feeling in the room echoed that of Gucci's men's show in January, which ended in a standing ovation for new designer Alessandro Michele (who also brought out his entire team) amid rumours he had been forced to design the terrific collection in just five days, following the early departure of Frida Giannini. His women's show this week was characterised by a similar encouraging atmosphere ignited by the anticipation and high expectations of guests, and the electric vibe after the show as the congregated (mainly British) fashion industry flocked backstage to get to know this designer, who's kicking off a new era for Gucci — and evidently for Milan, too. If you ask the editors, who have been coming to Milan for decades, they're saying this week reminds them of the good old days when Milan Fashion Week was all about fabulous and always clever Italian fashion.
It was a sentiment underscored by Miuccia Prada, whose collection this week could be seen as a kind of nostalgic ode to her own work, and a return to a kind of 'fun' Prada fuelled by the designer's genius sense of irony. The veteran fashion week attendees were thrilled after that show, too, prompting inspired anecdote-telling from the old days to the new guard of editors, who haven't all experienced a time when Milan Fashion Week was where the party was at. And the list of great shows goes on: Versace's internet-centric and super youthful collection on Friday night lifted the Milanese spirit to a new level, Bottega Veneta on Saturday morning played David Bowie's Peter and the Wolf overture for a kind of fairytale glam collection of splendid sparkly lace, and there was excitement in the air at Roberto Cavalli that afternoon following whispers of the possible hiring of Peter Dundas.
Philosophy, the sister line to Alberta Ferretti that has been showing in New York for years, was back in Milan this week with a great turnout of guests curious to see the first effort of Lorenzo Serafini, whose collection — inspired by a young Brooke Shields — quickly received the press corps' stamp of approval. People's reactions reflected the kind of willingness we've been experiencing this season on both the men's and women's spectra to make Milan the exciting fashion week it once was. Between the young labels finding their regular spot on the schedule — Marco de Vincenzo, MSGM — and the old houses rediscovering their jam, we're not far from reaching that goal.
Text Anders Christian Madsen