Reporting on this season’s Milan Fashion Week is a somewhat unique experience, marked by a sharp change of tone. What began with extravagant showings at Moschino and glitter bomb glamour at Marni culminated with Armani showing their collection to an empty room in an effort to prevent coronavirus contamination. As the first shows of Paris Fashion Week begin to take place, members of the industry are left with serious questions about how their sector — so dependent as it is on trade, travel and the free flow of ideas — might go on to be affected.
Besides being a trillion-dollar global market in its own right, we should remember that fashion’s greatest utility is the potential it provides for escapism, creativity and fantasy. As the news headlines take another turn for the worse, we can take a look back at the splendour of the catwalk to distract us, at least for a moment, from our anxieties. In that spirit, check out our favourite moments from Milan Fashion Week AW20 below.
Moschino’s cake walk
We had to get this one out of the way first because, let’s be real, this was the moment nobody could stop talking about. Jeremy Scott’s collection saw supers like Gigi and Bella strutting their stuff in ornate, Baroque-inspired dresses accessorised with perilously stacked bouffant wigs. Panniers, pearl drop earrings and ruffles abounded, but as did hoodies and motorcycle jackets in an unexpected, tongue-in-cheek time warp. Finally, in an inspired, Marie Antoinette-esque touch, models were decked out in dresses designed to look like cakes at the show’s close. “Let them eat cake!” is all we can say to that.
Angel dust at Marni
Claiming Venetian tapestries and the DIY spirit as design references, Marni presented an understated and craft-focussed collection. Throughout, we witnessed an interesting mash-up of silhouettes, fabrics and styles — sports trainers with an oversized jacquard coat for example — and the consistent presence of frayed hems and exposed seams. Standout looks featured delicately stitched patchwork dresses with strategic cut-outs, which we imagine will be everywhere in a few months’ time. Finally, the brand went all-out on hair and makeup, dousing models faces in metallic glitter and lacquering their locks for a bonafide glittertopia.
Prada’s practical elegance
Showcasing prim and proper patterned handbags alongside avant-garde athleisure in pastel brights, suiting, sweater vests, and patent coats, Prada AW20 was a balancing act between fashion-forward sensibility and functionality. Soon after the show, news broke that Raf Simons has been tapped to join as the brand’s Co-Creative Director, starting from 2 April. Prada will no doubt be the hot ticket next season as industry insiders all strain to see what Simons brings to the fashion house.
Backstage access at Gucci
After a minor scandal last season, Alessandro Michele’s Gucci is back on track. For AW20, the Italian brand ushered guests through hair and makeup backstage in order to get to their seats, exposing the crowd to the work-in-progress before the show. Once sitting down, invitees were confronted with a revolving, glass-walled podium filled with racks of clothes. Simultaneously doubling up as a changing room and showroom, models got changed into garments in the centre of the podium before moving to its edges to present these wares to the audience. All very meta, that’s for sure, but it wasn’t just about the concept — the clothes were pretty interesting too and featured suiting, diamanté headwear and a soupçon of schoolgirl chic.
Giallo chic at MSGM
MSGM Creative Director Massimo Giorgetti teamed up for the second time with cult director Dario Argento. Known for catapulting giallo, a trashy Italian subgenre of psychological horror into the mainstream, it once again proved to be a match made in heaven – or Hell. The collection was replete with vampy pops of red, faux fur stoles, oversized tweed coats and billowing lace dresses; the kind of attire that makes you feel like the star of your own movie.