Having begun his tenure as Creative Director of Gucci in 2015, Alessandro Michele has engendered a romantic renaissance not only of his own brand, but across the fashion landscape. SS17 saw exaggerated romantic tropes — yellow dresses made of cascading ruffles, triptych floor length evening gowns, purple brocade coats and embellished 70s denim suits — which whirled in and around the border of couture for the ready-to-wear market. Hardly famous for being wallflowers, Dolce and Gabbana allowed their Sicilian flair and glamour to swarm the catwalk. Think gingham tote bags adorned with pizza; high waisted embellished super-short shorts; pretty pink, fish and rose print dresses; sequin duster coats and a slew of stand-out floral crowns. Everything was there, but it didn’t feel messy. This fabulous Sicilian homage finished with a decadent grande finale, complete with a backing team who cartwheeled and danced before a clan of models sporting ‘D&G’ branded teeshirts. Stefano and Domenico created the kind of party we never want to stop.
At Moschino, the playful Jeremy Scott walked models dressed as cut-out-dolls in some sort of metaphysical exploration of what it means to be a model. Other models were transformed fantastically into plastic dolls, taking the Madonna style underwear-as-outwear to fabulous extremes. Shunning the extravagant make-up of seasons past, Miuccia Prada still managed to imbue subtler silhouettes with chic exuberance, delivering ostrich feather trimmed cuffs and embellished bralets. At Marni oversized saddle bags and sleeves coupled with voluminous layering to engender a new kind of minimalist maximalism. The energy and extravagance of these fashion power houses enforces their place at the top: they are the masters of creative reinvention, balancing commercial viability with a pan-generational appeal.
London and New York have traditionally provided a more nurturing environment for young designers, with sponsorship schemes such as NEWGEN and Fashion East ensuring that emerging labels have a platform to showcase their work. And while Pitti Uomo has long been a stage for new menswear, it is only in recent years that Milan has widened its arm to fresh talent. Complimenting these major players showing at MFW SS17 were the next generation of Italian designers. MSGM showed fish nets and scuba gear. Working across a bold colour palette, the designer produced rouched tops with DIY drawstring detail, strapless tiered dresses worn over cycling shorts and long sleeved tops with crocheted ruffles — to name a few. Arthur Arbesser‘s neon green pleated skirts were walked with sailors top, while two tone cycling shorts were paired with pale blue 60’s lace up boots.
Vogue Italia’s annual ‘Vogue Talents and Who is on Next?‘ welcomed an international collection of young designers. Magdalena Brozda from Poland, France’s Pauline Famy, British designer Katie Roberts-Wood and Nicola Brognano. As Milan allows new creatives to breakthrough, the innovative legacy of Italian fashion only seems poised to strengthen and evolve.