The Most Important Moments—And Trends—From Milan Fashion Week

Is it just us, or is Milan suddenly very, very cool? Once the stuffy capital of big-budget brands that were high on luxury but lacking in relevance, the city is now bursting at the seams with exciting fashion by on-the-pulse designers like Francesco Risso at Marni, Luke and Lucie Meier at Jil Sander, and Paul Andrew at Ferragamo. Perhaps Gucci’s Alessandro Michele is to thank—his reinvention of the heritage brand has injected Milan with a refreshing vibrancy. After showing in Paris last season, Michele was back in action for Fall with a parade of characteristically quirky-cum-heady wares. Then we’ve got the Moncler Genius collaborations, one of the most interesting and unexpected projects in recent memory. For the third season running, the Italian brand best known for its puffer coats has tapped a number of red-hot designers, including Simone Rocha, Craig Green, Richard Quinn, and Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccoli, to put their spin on its down-filled duds. And for the third season running, the results were thrilling. Piccoli’s all-enveloping gowns were particularly enchanting, and one has to wonder if the Genius project had a hand in inspiring the abundance of quilted gear on Milan’s Fall 2019 runways. Also energizing? Thirty-two-year-old Daniel Lee’s debut at Bottega Veneta. The Céline alum’s inaugural collection was teaming with sophistication, subversion, and lots of leather.


Between runway shows, Anna Wintour, the Met’s Wendy Yu Curator in Charge, Andrew Bolton, and Gucci’s Alessandro Michele hosted a preview of the Costume Institute’s forthcoming exhibition, “Camp: Notes on Fashion,” opening May 9th. Judging by the Viktor & Rolf Spring 2019 Haute Couture gown on display—a massive pink tulle confection bearing the phrase “Less is More”—the show promises to be a riotous and clever exploration of the theme. Wintour noted that camp is “hard to define.” And it is. But as Susan Sontag said in her 1964 essay, “Notes on Camp,” “To talk about camp is to portray it,” and no one does that better than Jeremy Scott, whose work for Moschino is being included in the exhibit. Fittingly, he presented his Fall 2019 collection for the Italian house the evening before the Met event. Inspired by “The Price is Right,” and featuring everything from a TV Dinner kimono to the game show’s theme music and rotating prize displays, his tongue-in-cheek romp was camp come to life.

Milan Fall Trends

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Milan Fall Trends 1

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For all of Milan’s fresh enthusiasm, there was also a sadness in the air as the industry mourned the passing of Karl Lagerfeld. While he is best known as Chanel’s creative director for over 30 years, Lagerfeld served as the creative director of fur and womenswear at Fendi since the 1960s. The brand’s Fall 2019 outing—slick, feminine, and definitively Fendi—was designed by Lagerfeld, who, according to WWD, gave his team strict instructions for the show before his passing. During the finale, which received a standing ovation, models could be seen holding back tears. Milan’s new era is an exciting one, but Lagerfeld’s presence will be sorely missed.


Here, we round up the 5 biggest trends from MFW.



The Matrix Reloaded


Has your iPhone’s relentless barrage of panic-inducing news alerts inspired you to prepare for a dystopian future? If so, boy, do the Milan runways have something for you. If the apocalypse comes, or the robots take over, or Laurence Fishburne asks you to decide between the red pill or the blue one, Bottega Veneta (with a brown-and-black leather biker look), Prada (those combat boots!), Max Mara (the black, nylon poncho), Versace (with reinterpretations of Gianni’s iconic buckle-top gown) and more have got you covered (sartorially speaking) with dark wares fit for Trinity. The leather trenches at Tod’s, Ferragamo, and Marni have Neo written all over them, and those spiked leather collars and masks at Gucci will definitely come in handy while raging against the machines.


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Au Naturel


On the other end of the spectrum, many designers opted for a calming, neutral palette that whispered a cool refinement. Quiet tans and taupes are house codes at Fendi, and the brand offered buttoned-up blazers, fishnet ensembles, and retro skirts in the shades. At Max Mara and Sportmax, neutrals were used for sweeping overcoats, louche, wide-legged trousers, cozy sweaters, and beyond, and at Alessandro Dell’Acqua’s No. 21, a cropped-front trench, off-the-shoulder cardigan, and a handful of ladylike dresses came in tan and khaki. The colorway also popped up at Jil Sander, Simone Rocha’s Moncler presentation, and Agnona’s grunge-inspired show.



All Puffed Up


For the last three seasons, Moncler’s Genius project has stolen the Milan spotlight. For Fall 2019, designers like Simone Rocha, Craig Green, Richard Quinn, and Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccoli created quilted confections beyond our wildest imagination. Piccoli’s colorful, full-skirted gowns were especially grand, fusing couture sensibilities and sporty materials. But this season, it wasn’t just the Moncler capsules that were all puffed up. In fact, down-filled and quilted garments were reimagined all over the Milan runways. At Gucci, a pair of satin pants came with a quilted effect, and at Bottega Veneta, Daniel Lee gave us quilted satin skirts. Fendi presented a very grown-up down vest in cream, while Prada proffered a tailored puff parka in its signature black nylon. Even Giorgio Armani got bit by the puffer fish, showing more classic takes on the down jacket. And at Jil Sander, Luke and Lucie Meier proposed sumptuous, navy silk separates with a cozy, comforter feel.

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Suit Dresses


A stark contrast to the tiers of tulle we’ve been seeing everywhere from the runway to the red carpet (Oscars, anyone?), dresses done in traditionally masculine suiting materials made a strong statement on the Milan runways. At Prada, an off-the-shoulder version in tweed was imbued with sensuality, while at MSGM, a strong-shouldered style done in a mini houndstooth check was given a playful edge via tromp l’oeil breasts outlined in crystal. Versace’s seductively draped take came in herringbone, and at Ferragamo, Paul Andrew played with vertical and horizontal pinstripes on an iteration that recalled a kimono.

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Leisure Gone Luxe


Athleisure? That is so 2013. This season, designers explored more formal approaches to comfort, namely via new takes on the tracksuit. At Armani, velvet separates were lush as lush could be, while at Jil Sander, a hyper-oversized black wool jacket and matching trousers stood out for their simplicity and the immaculate stitch detailing at the seams. Richard Quinn presented a quilted, floral-print interpretation at Moncler, and at Moschino, Jeremy Scott put his tongue-in-cheek twist on a series of more traditional styles. One was covered in a $1,000-bill print. Doesn’t get more luxe (or camp) than that.


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