Milan Fall 2012 Fashion Week
It was all about luxe embellishment, moody colors offset by pops of brights, and sumptuous fabrics – velvet, brocade, jacquard, chiffon – on the Milan fall 2012 runways.
Gucci’s Frida Giannini was feeling 19th-century romance this season. Sartorially, this translated into a darkly dreamy collection featuring wool military jackets atop long velvet skirts, brocade suits, lace-up poet blouses, sheer high-neck tops, soft leather jodhpurs, lavishly ruffled or embroidered gowns, and dramatic capes that looked to have walked straight off the English moors.
Miuccia Prada, meanwhile, celebrated the pure beauty and pleasure of fashion by way of graphic patterned coats and pantsuits and elaborately bejeweled high-waisted jackets – with the focus placed squarely on silhouette – all worn with embellished structured handbags and chunky-soled shoes. The models’ dramatic eye makeup and long, straight, two-tone hair packed a powerful, don’t-mess-with-me punch.
At Bottega Veneta, Tomas Maier offered a tour-de-force take on luxe austerity, with slim cropped trousers, waffle weave sweaters, body-conscious coats, and tailored, figure-flattering suits in shades of navy and noir. For evening, things softened up with slim black cocktail frocks topped by shredded chiffon boleros and beaded lilac sheaths that traced the curves of the body beneath. It was a magnificent outing by a designer who’s clearly at the top of his game.
Angela Missoni’s imaginary muse was a girl who lives in the city but yearns to get back to the land. This was reflected in slim coats in tree bark-like tweed, leather patchwork pants that resembled crop fields as seen from above, sinewy leather skirts and jackets, zigzag knit toppers in washed-out earth tones, vortex-print sheaths and textural dresses that recalled decaying leaves, cracked slabs of granite or sun-scorched earth (in the prettiest way possible). Many of the looks were topped by tightly wrapped knit boleros or tufted fur shoulders, which lent a cozy, slightly feral appeal.
It was Girl With the Dragon Medusa Head time at Donatella Versace’s latest outing, which also channeled her late brother Gianni’s final couture collection with lots of tough luxe leather moto jackets, Gothic cross embellishments, Nineties-era logo prints and silver chain mail in edgy-sexy silhouettes, all worn with leather-trimmed fishnets by girls with short blunt bangs and hollowed-out cheekbones, à la this season’s number-one fashion heroine.
Marni’s Consuelo Castiglioni was having a Sixties moment, as witnessed by the mod – if modernized – prints and silhouettes (think: drop waist coats, A-line tunics, plaid fur jackets, floral brocades, and pop art colorblocking), grounded by sweetly chic mary janes, colorful fur collars, and small-frame bags.
Meanwhile, it was all about easy chic over at Giorgio Armani, where the designer unveiled softly tailored grey suits, elegant neon tops, “Rockabilly” pleated pants and colorful faux fur for day, and citrus-hued cocktail frocks and organza walking shorts with bright silk tunics or sequined jackets for night, all accessorized with asymmetrical brimmed fedoras and pointy toed flats that felt youthful and, yes, easy.
But the most memorable moment of Milan Fashion Week came from designer Raf Simons, who showed his final minimalist, lingerie-inspired collection for Jil Sander (the label’s founder returns next season). It was a beautiful, if bittersweet, coda to Simons’ envelope-pushing tenure at the brand.