Fashion editors have just returned from Milan, where fashion week commenced with Fendi, one of the season's most anticipated shows, as designers returned to a physical schedule.
Milan is famously the most high-octane capital in terms of glamour - and the likes of Roberto Cavalli, Max Mara, Prada, Moschino (who last season showed in New York), Emporio Armani, Tod's, Gucci (who has returned to the schedule), Versace, Dolce & Gabbana and Bottega Veneta did not disappoint. The latter has a new creative director after the departure of Daniel Lee - Matthieu Blazy - so all eyes were on his first collection. Here's everything you might have missed.
The Highlights From MFW AW22:
SEE: The Highlights From MFW AW22
Giorgio Armani, out of respect for the people involved in the situation in Ukraine, decided against using music in his show on Sunday, letting his models, instead, walk in silence.
Dolce & Gabbana clearly had one decade on the mind: the '80s, where power shoulders and poses reigned supreme. (The sheer tights - sans toes - were a modern touch that we can imagine all the street-stylers copying next season).
Jil Sander is the ultimate in stealth wealth style. 'Every piece is self-standing, iconic, and executed with exceptional artistry, in sumptuous wools and silks,' read the show notes - and we couldn't agree more, from the tailoring (elevated with a knotted waist) to the outerwear in the most pleasing selection of neutrals.
A high-octane energy was felt at Versace, where this season's woman, 'fully owns her allure and knows exactly when to unleash her power'. Midnight black latex and frayed tweeds met their super-sexy matches in the form of cropped silk bustiers and punky pearl necklaces, while the LBD, as seen on Precious Lee, was recast as the ultimate way to be a 'regal rebel'.
With the best front row at Milan Fashion Week - Rihanna, A$AP Rocky, Serena Williams, Jared Leto and Francis Bourgeois - Gucci's show delivered another (soon-to-be) sell-out collaboration, this time with Adidas. Double-breasted suits were upgraded with the sportswear giant's signature stripes, knitwear came emblazoned with the combined logo and sporty knit dresses were 'Guccified'. Expect big things (and waiting lists) when it launches later this spring.
Etro's collection, with its usual celebration of craftsmanship, had plenty of bravura, from the printed combat trousers tucked into studded cowboy boots to the battered aviator jackets worn over leopard-spotted crop tops.
Sportmax's catwalk was the hottest of hot pinks - ironic, perhaps, considering that most of the collection was vampy red, midnight black or simmeringly sexy beige (yes, really). The vinyl dress - worn with a pair of gloves that only covered the fingers - was very good indeed.
Having walked in Roberto Cavalli, it didn't come as much of a shock that Iris Law, with her bleach blonde crop, also appeared at Missoni. The collection embraced the oversized and the exuberant. Wide-leg strides were worn with baggy (but elegantly so) jumpers, while bright yellows, greens and reds were spotted in abundance.
Tod's always designs some of the best outerwear in Milan - stealth wealth leather coats; wrap coats; quilted coats; single-breasted 'means-business' coats - but this season, it was the knitwear that made fashion editors sit up and pay listen, from the variegated-knit puffer jacket worn over a chunky polo neck to the fringed cape fastened over a leather biker jacket (big news).
One of fashion's greatest showman - Jeremy Scott, who last season showed in New York - made a grand return to Milan. And this season, in typically kitsch and surreal fashion, he was musing on the idea of a well-appointed house. The kind of objects one might find - baroque-style picture frames, stately armoires, grandfather clocks and chandeliers - appeared, as you can probably guess, as cartoonishly theatrical clothes. Brava.
Milan is the capital of glamour. But to Mr. Armani, the word has become synonymous with 'sparkle, seduction and allure.' Instead, for AW22, he wanted to take glamour back to its roots, 'personal charm', delivering a pared-back but polished collection of muted greys, which enveloped the body as outerwear, Mr. Armani's take on loungewear (read: chic) and effortless eveningwear in the form of the LBD (long black dress).
With a mega-watt front row - Euphoria's Storm Reid, Sex Education's Emma Mackey, Shtisel's Shira Haas - and highly 'grammable invitations (the label sent pastel-hued silk pyjamas to attending editors), Prada was just major as always. All the street style stars were wearing last-season's biker jackets and satin miniskirts. Next season's cult buys? The logoed tank tops (which opened and closed the show, no less) and the feathered jackets (spotted on Kendall Jenner).
Max Mara's latest show was a typically timeless homage to Sophie Taeuber-Arp, the modernist architect, dancer, textile designer, painter and sculptor who was a contemporary of Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Guillaume Apollinaire. Meeting at Zurich's Cabaret Voltaire, Taeuber-Arp and her fellow artists of the avant-garde created an astonishing new aesthetic: Dada. Max Mara's silhouettes - surprisingly bold in their simplicity - are articulated with just as much aplomb as King Stag, Taeuber-Arp's most famous work.
Vintage Roberto Cavalli is having a revival - Rihanna owns a sheer maxi skirt from 2003 - so it made sense that yesterday's show felt like a celebration of the house's most enduring hits. Iris Law, another fan of vintage, opened the show in a choker minidress with a caged neckline that had undertones of Anne Boleyn. Naturally, plenty of big cat prints followed - the tiger-striped slip gets a mention for its not-so-subtle sex appeal - as well as leather bandeau tops that are definitely here to stay thanks to Julia Fox.
Alberta Ferretti stuck to its guns for autumn - delivering a boho-luxe wardrobe in a sumptuous colour palette of amethyst, peacock and gun-metal grey, the latter of which appeared as silvery trousers and a swooping caped gown.
Kim Jones raided the archives for AW22, inspired by Delfina Delettrez, who one day walked into the brand's headquarters wearing a printed blouse borrowed from her mother's wardrobe. Intrigued, he looked back to SS86, a famous collection of Karl Lagerfeld's. He reworked its prints, while copying the diaphanous lightness of another collection, AW00. 'It's a wardrobe designed for every aspect of a woman's life, for every generation,' says Jones. 'And it all started with Delfina.' Bella Hadid opened the show wearing a wisp of chiffon as a slip dress (worn with elbow-length cashmere gloves); Bibi Abdulkadir, meanwhile, emerged in a whip-smart leather minidress. 'There is always a story behind each piece, something a little different,' says Silvia Venturini Fendi.
The Trends And Fashion Moments You Might Have Missed From Last Season:
SEE: The Highlights Of MFW SS22
Dolce & Gabbana took down a trip down memory lane for SS22, arriving in the Noughties, a time when miniskirts, cargo pants and J.Lo, who appeared on crystal-studded tees, ruled supreme. Retracing that period with 'today's eyes, today's volumes and today's proportions', they used vintage stock to remake military trousers and jackets as they did in 2000, sending them down the catwalk with embellished jackets for a hi-lo mix that felt both nostalgic and bang up-to-date.
Marni dissolved the barrier between the viewer and the viewed for SS22, inviting all of the attendees, who would normally arrive in their own clothes to watch the show unfold, to be fitted in their very own ensemble by the brand. Susie Lau called it a 'funny role reversal' on Instagram: 'We were all participants at @Marni as journalists, editors, stylists and influencers were all collectively dressed by Marine in a sort of funny role reversal (where in the ye olde days "print" people used to snub "bloggers" for being dressed by brands). Everywhere we donned a uniform of hand painted Marni pieces bearing limited edition labels.' On the catwalk itself, confident stripes multiplied across many of the outfits, sending a message of connectedness, while daisy motifs bloomed on bra tops and long skirts.
A sense of old-world glamour combined with modern execution at Giorgio Armani, where power separates were given soft edges and sparkles reigned supreme in the final few looks.
Moncler Genius, the puffer powerhouse's designer collaborations factory, this season became MONDOGENIUS, an immersive digital experience that, led by Alicia Keys, took the viewer on a journey through five cities to explore the work of 11 designers, including JW Anderson, DingYun Zhang and Palm Angels.
The supers and celebs turned out in full force for Versace SS22. Precious Lee, Emily Ratajkowski, Gigi Hadid, Naomi Campbell and Dua Lipa, making her debut, all sashayed down the catwalk wearing a collection inspired by the iconic silk foulard. Lipa, the brand's campaign star for autumn, closed the show in the most spectacular fashion, wearing a spangled hot pink bra top and slip skirt that will turn up on the red carpet in no time.
Raf Simons, combined with the genius of Miuccia Prada, always seems to come up with something entirely new. Something that, as soon as you've clapped eyes on it, seems like the most alluring garment you've ever beheld. That thing is now the mullet-hemmed miniskirt. Seen on the catwalk in numerous iterations - from tangerine to chartreuse to powder pink - it looks sensational with polo necks, cardigans, leather pea coats and sculptural polo sweaters.
John Cage - an artist, producer, composer and musical theorist who was a leading figure in the post-war avant garden in America - was the inspiration for Sportmax SS22, particularly 4'33", his most celebrated composition, and his exploration of opposites. But how did this translate to the clothes? With 'a controlled clash' that explored opposing forces like order and chaos, light and obscurity. 18th century corsetry was juxtaposed with ultra clean lines; the lightness of gauze, georgette and tulle distinguishing itself from leather, satin, cotton and jacquard. Set in a stark white space, intended to conjure a feeling of contemplative silence, it was a soaring moment in Milan.
Tod's made a very persuasive case for the high and mighty hemline this SS22. The first look, worn by Gigi Hadid, was a zippered coat that brushed the upper thigh and chunky leather sandals. From there, things got even more brief, from the knickers styled with leather biker jackets to tulip-shaped dresses worn with patent platform boots. Prepare to venture into barely-there territory.
The maestro's approach to designing and dressing can be summed up with what was written in show notes: 'Under the symbol of an eagle that flies high and knows no boundaries, for forty years, Emporio Armani has been expressing the joys of fashion free from imposed rules, that nevertheless maintains the harmony of shapes, balance, and the sense of nonchalant elegance that are the essence of Armani style.' And that's exactly what this show delivered with its signature quest for lightness, the effortless fluidity of the cuts and the soft wearability of the colours. New ideas focused on tailoring, including suiting as soft as pyjamas and blazers as light as shirts.
At Etro, a 'joyful mysticism and awakening typical of the '70s' provided the show's frame of reference, but, crucially, with 'reminiscences of '90s slickness'. Veronica Etro relied on a kaleidoscopic range of patterns - lush flowers, paisley motifs and upholstery-inspired prints - with an emphasis on positive energy. Jill Kortleve's look - a wallpaper-print turtleneck and matching sarong-style skirt - was our favourite.
Max Mara was inspired by a, 'smart, sulky, Beat Generation intellectuelle,' for SS22 - and, in particular, Françoise Quoirez (widely known as Françoise Sagan). 'An ungovernable teenager, a devotee of Proust, Stendhal, Gide and Camus, she was twice expelled from school (once for hanging a bust of Molière),' read the show notes, eventually writing her literary masterpiece Boujour Tristesse, whose heroine, Cécile, is the ultimate 'bourgeois rebel'. Cue easy beatnik chic in the form of perfectly proportioned overcoats, smart-yet-sexy skirt suits and black party dresses.
'We are plural, nocturnal, and luminous; feminine, masculine, vulnerable and strong; and we shouldn't take ourselves too seriously,' read the show notes at Jil Sander, the fashionable thinker's favourite label for soft power staples like this hollandaise-coloured trouser suit, worn with an elaborate yet effortless collar.
At Alberta Ferretti, there was a focus on the body, with an effortless collection that shone a light, as always, on craftsmanship. Lengths were extreme (either very short or extended), while volumes were soft or body-sculpting. Colours started with easy-to-wear neutrals, but eventually turned the vivid colours of precious stones, while the only print, the butterfly, captures the spirit of rebirth in the clothes.
Fendi kicked off proceedings with a catwalk set under a beautiful network of mirrored arches, reflecting the collection's stealth wealth brand of polish. Coffee-coloured looks, a signature of Kim Jones', gave way to glorious dashes of gold, pink and orange on flowing '70s silhouettes, while the sex appeal was dialled to 10 with sheer logoed tights and triangle bra tops worn with suiting. In terms of accessories, our money's on the hands-free pouch - a guaranteed hit on next season's street style circuit and beyond.