Ellie is the fashion features editor of British Vogue
Tuesday 28 February 2017
MILAN was in an unusually inclusive mood this season. From Missoni’s call for unity, visually signified in pink pussy hats knitted in the label’s signature zig-zags for guests and models to sport; to Versace’s euphoric slogans of Unity, Courage and Love; to Dolce & Gabbana’s multi-generational, multi-racial parade; to Prada’s roll-call of models and seduction techniques through the ages; to Gucci’s come one, come all approach to styling 119 individuals, all encouraged to be their eccentric selves… fashion’s a party for autumn, and everyone is invited. See Vogue’s round-up of the biggest autumn/winter 2017 trends here
As designers espoused messages of strength, issued a call for unity, discussed feminine power, they also employed fabrics to fit the rhetoric. Chainmail mesh seemed best suited to the job at Versace, beautifully draped in sexy slinks and embellished with crystals for dresses that read one part thorny, two parts rose. Dolce & Gabbana’s take was naturally more princess that protestor, comprising long, regal gowns. As for Gucci? Silver mesh bodysuits took on a faintly fetishistic tone.
Burgundy, tomato, candy and crimson – red ran the gamut at Milan, most delectably in a series of coats. Max Mara’s giant teddy gaped open and looked all the sexier for it; perversely at Fendi a waist cinch lent a seductive allure to its hot red version. Meanwhile Armani was on a roll with red on the Oscars red carpet (Viola Davis has never looked better) and it looked equally dashing on the catwalk in the form of a double-breasted overcoat.
Seventies influences are flooding the catwalks, and with them comes corduroy. Gucci’s golden bell bottom cords had a Mick Jagger swagger while thick-cut cord in forest green lend Etro an equally funky vibe. Corduroy came thick and fast at Prada, whose opening looks paired crochet bra tops with brown corduroy suits (incidentally, Miuccia Prada took her bow in a cropped version, which means it’s back in a big way).
Super soft nappa leather was a recurring theme in Milan, adding grown-up polish to numerous collections. At Tod’s, a caramel-hued two piece looked hyper sleek; at Bottega Veneta’s Forties-tinged show, a buttery toffee two-piece was glamorous; and at Jil Sander, hip-slung skirts and suits in wafer-thin skins were softer than the proverbial baby.
Volume is still persevering on the streets, but on the catwalks the suiting silhouette for autumn is getting slimmer. Missoni’s suits were the warmest, their rainbow-hued wools reinvigorating the tailoring template, while Versace’s had more of an edge, worn low on the hips to show a flash of skin. At Dolce & Gabbana, signature brocades came with statement floral lapels and crisp white shirts.