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Here are the trends that matter from Milan Fashion Week

Gimmicks were gone at the latest Milan runways — which concluded yesterday — with designers instead striking a more serious note that encouraged investment buying. Bold new directions appeared to be on pause, too, as fashion houses doubled-down on signatures that sell. A celebration of fashion it was not — rather a moment of reflection.

The schedule’s top-billing designers took the mic to stress the positive role fashion can play, while acknowledging — without being specific — the increasing turbulence the world is facing.

Backstage after her show, Miuccia Prada said that the starting point for her and co-creator Raf Simons was “an instinctive need for love and goodness… especially in a time like this.” Across town at a preview held in her office, Donatella Versace echoed that “living in the world we (do) today, we need the courage to move ahead, and fashion is a vehicle of positivity and togetherness”.

Julianne Moore, A$AP Rocky and Salma Hayek front row at the Bottega Veneta fashion show during the Milan Fashion Week. - Daniele Venturelli/WireImage/Getty Images
Julianne Moore, A$AP Rocky and Salma Hayek front row at the Bottega Veneta fashion show during the Milan Fashion Week. - Daniele Venturelli/WireImage/Getty Images

The industry veteran, Giorgio Armani, agreed: “We aren’t changing the world, nor can we solve the world’s problems, but we can give people a moment of lightness.” While Bottega Veneta’s Matthieu Blazy was the most direct when he proclaimed: “In a world on fire, there is something very human in the simple act of dressing… We all watch the same news. It is hard to be celebratory at this point. Still, the idea of rebirth is beautiful, too.”

Franken-style

That sentiment was most clearly echoed throughout the collections in what we’ll call Franken-styles: Part one thing, part another, stitched together to become a hybrid piece.

At Prada, what appeared to be a wool blazer at the front had a satin waistcoat back. - Jonas Gustavsson/Sipa
At Prada, what appeared to be a wool blazer at the front had a satin waistcoat back. - Jonas Gustavsson/Sipa
At Bottega Veneta, designer Matthieu Blazy used decorative pins to give garments extra shape. - Victor Virgile/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images
At Bottega Veneta, designer Matthieu Blazy used decorative pins to give garments extra shape. - Victor Virgile/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

At Prada, what appeared to be a wool blazer from the front had a satin waistcoat back, while skirts were an apron-negligee combo. At Bottega Veneta, Blazy “combined and compressed” silhouettes from different eras and pinched dresses with pins, while at MSGM, Massimo Giorgetti — who based his collection on the destructive fall-out of Truman Capote’s “La Cote Basque” essay — had zips running around the body like stitches holding everything together, ready to unravel at any point.

The evolution of the twinset

The warped theme played into the twisted knitwear shown at Ferragamo, Fendi, Tod’s and Prada, which heralded the evolution of the twinset. More is more with knitwear next season as cardigans and jumpers arrived nonchalantly draped and layered together with controlled abandon.

Elevated knitwear loomed large at Ferragamo. - Jacopo Raule/Getty Images
Elevated knitwear loomed large at Ferragamo. - Jacopo Raule/Getty Images

Party feet

Breaking up the plethora of black leather boots that dominated most collections, the shoe of the season is one with embellishment all over it. At Dolce & Gabbana, ostrich features fluttered with each strut; at Jil Sander, stilettos were covered in black goat hair; and at Tod’s, new creative director Matteo Tamburini gave the famous Gommino driving shoe a makeover with all-over leather tassels.

At Tod’s, new creative director Matteo Tamburini gave the famous Gommino driving shoe a makeover with all-over leather tassels. - Jacopo Raule/Getty Images
At Tod’s, new creative director Matteo Tamburini gave the famous Gommino driving shoe a makeover with all-over leather tassels. - Jacopo Raule/Getty Images

1980s redux

Relegated as the style decade that people preferred to forget, the 1980s is slowly but surely starting to pop up on the radar. When Kim Jones found a 1984 sketch by Karl Lagerfeld in the Fendi archive, it sent him down a memory lane featuring the New Romantics and wardrobes of Leigh Bowery, Judy Blame and Princess Julia, referenced in the show with irregular polka dots and a subtle ode to his native London. “London was so influential in the world, influencing everyone designing at the time,” he said.

A model with '80s inspired hair and make-up at Versace. - Daniele Venturelli/Getty Images
A model with '80s inspired hair and make-up at Versace. - Daniele Venturelli/Getty Images
Actor Anne Hathaway wore one of Versace's ruched leather looks front row. - Jacopo Raule/Getty Images
Actor Anne Hathaway wore one of Versace's ruched leather looks front row. - Jacopo Raule/Getty Images

At Giorgio Armani, the designer opened his show with his 1980s muse Gina di Bernardo — who was shot in several of legendary photographer Aldo Fallai’s campaigns for the house in the period — taking to the runway. And Donatella Versace brought back the blazer she designed for musician Prince at the time — “something that would make him look taller” she said, with broad shoulders and a small waist.

Leather coats get a new lease of life

It’s a legacy winter style but that didn’t stop them from being everywhere this season — Ferragamo, Tom Ford, Bottega, Versace and Diesel, to mention a few. A continuation from the menswear shows in January, long, lean, and embellishment free is the memo for this trend that takes its leave from the Matrix.

There were plenty of long line, Matrix-insired leather coats on the runway at Milan. - Giovanni Giannoni/WWD/Getty Images
There were plenty of long line, Matrix-insired leather coats on the runway at Milan. - Giovanni Giannoni/WWD/Getty Images
These two colorful numbers were seen at Versace. - Giovanni Giannoni/WWD/Getty Images
These two colorful numbers were seen at Versace. - Giovanni Giannoni/WWD/Getty Images

As per Bottega Veneta: “Honesty in materiality and silhouette means the clothing is no longer pretending to be something other than what it really is: There is… comfort and protection in supple leather.”

Embracing the darkness

Save for pops of scarlet leather, the color palette in Milan was overwhelmingly dark and utilitarian for Fall-Winter 2024, with dark khaki and olive greens dominating (beautifully at Ferragamo and Tod’s).

A deep mossy khaki color was prevalent on several runways including Ferragamo, above. - Jacopo Raule/Getty Images
A deep mossy khaki color was prevalent on several runways including Ferragamo, above. - Jacopo Raule/Getty Images

Even at MaxMara, famed for its trademark camel, creative director Ian Griffiths went in a deliberately different direction to focus on silhouette over shade. “It was good to free myself of camel for a season and I couldn’t have done these clothes in camel,” he said backstage. “We’re not abandoning it, we’re just giving it a rest, and it’s a rest for me, too.”

Denim came dark, too. Next season it’s all about double selvedge-style denim that is clean cut and precisely pressed.

Craft over clickbait

With a clear focus on unconfrontational fashion throughout the weeks’ worth of shows — save for the very last at Avavav that saw garbage thrown at models on the runway and the brand leaning into its bad reviews with a rolling commentary on screens either side — a sense of preservation hung in the air. Milan’s designers focused on exquisite craft over clickbait, not so much reinventing the wheel, but keeping it rolling.

Models walk a trash-strewn runway at the Avavav fashion show, while big screens at either side flashed up excerpts from previous negative show reviews. - Marco M. Mantovani/Getty Images
Models walk a trash-strewn runway at the Avavav fashion show, while big screens at either side flashed up excerpts from previous negative show reviews. - Marco M. Mantovani/Getty Images
A focus on dark tones also extended to denim (above, at Versace), where deep washes and clean cuts were the order of the season. - Victor Virgile/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images
A focus on dark tones also extended to denim (above, at Versace), where deep washes and clean cuts were the order of the season. - Victor Virgile/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images
Gigi Hadid walked for Versace,. - Victor Virgile/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images
Gigi Hadid walked for Versace,. - Victor Virgile/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images
Solange Knowles sat front row at Ferragamo. - Jacopo M. Raule/Getty Images
Solange Knowles sat front row at Ferragamo. - Jacopo M. Raule/Getty Images
Dark shades with delicate bejewelled embellishments on the runway at Giorgio Armani. - Aitor Rosas Sune/WWD/Getty Images
Dark shades with delicate bejewelled embellishments on the runway at Giorgio Armani. - Aitor Rosas Sune/WWD/Getty Images
Actor Hari Nef was also sat front row at Ferragamo, in head-to-toe green leather. - Riccardo Giordano/IPA/Sipa
Actor Hari Nef was also sat front row at Ferragamo, in head-to-toe green leather. - Riccardo Giordano/IPA/Sipa
Cate Blanchett and Giorgio Armani at the latter's Milan catwalk show. - Aitor Rosas Sune/WWD/Getty Images
Cate Blanchett and Giorgio Armani at the latter's Milan catwalk show. - Aitor Rosas Sune/WWD/Getty Images
At Fendi, Kim Jones showcased irregular polka dots, bodysuits, armwarmers and other subtle nods to his native London in the 1980s. - Jacopo Raule/Getty Images
At Fendi, Kim Jones showcased irregular polka dots, bodysuits, armwarmers and other subtle nods to his native London in the 1980s. - Jacopo Raule/Getty Images
Dark colors also dominated at Giorgio Armani this season. - Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images
Dark colors also dominated at Giorgio Armani this season. - Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images
Kim Jones at Fendi also got the dark green memo. - Jacopo Raule/Getty Images
Kim Jones at Fendi also got the dark green memo. - Jacopo Raule/Getty Images

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