Milan Fashion Week gets mixed reviews
It was a low-profile edition for the Milan womenswear Fashion Week showcasing the AW 2017-18 ready-to-wear collections. The event schedule was very busy, featuring 174 collections, with 70 official catwalk shows (plus a host of off-calendar shows) and 92 presentations, but the sparkle was missing.
The week ended on Monday with a mass celebrated at the Duomo, Milan's catholic cathedral, in honour of Franca Sozzani, the renowned editor-in-chief of Vogue Italy who died on 22nd December. The entire Italian fashion establishment was present, and many more.
It was the culmination of a week that was "a little lacklustre", as one buyer described it. "There was nothing new, no trend or direction to relate to. We have to figure it out ourselves," complained a retailer from Modena, Italy. "I'm all the more disappointed because these were the winter collections, a season that is crucial for us. Paradoxically, long-standing labels such as Max Mara or Agnona were those that gave us the most satisfaction, by featuring genuine products," he added.
A view that chimed with that of Elina Halimi, a French retailer who has recently sold the Kabuki Paris concept store. "It seems to me that the week’s main focus was the trend for highly wearable, more commercial items. As well as Prada's, which showcased an exceptional collection, I very much appreciated the show by Max Mara, which brought real clothes centre stage again. I'd have bought everything!" The Max Mara collection featured monochrome looks consisting of simple elements, at once comfortable and very sophisticated (suits, trousers, turtleneck sweaters and large overcoats), and seems to have successfully caught the current mood of consumers, who both want to be reassured and to stop spending crazy sums for clothing they will only wear once.
Several collections seen on the Milan catwalks took that route, avoiding the excesses of the past by featuring all-purpose, interchangeable items, with the occasional sprinkle of shimmering kookiness, such as the return of lamé for eveningwear, and with a healthy dose of striking colours, to brighten up both wardrobe and morale.
However, the general impression was of déjà vu, and of a lack of innovation. Some labels were disappointing, while others were content with simply blowing the dust off previous designs.
To generate some interest, Milan relied on the more original, intriguing collections by the emerging talents and new names which joined the calendar this season, such as the three Chinese labels Angel Chen, Xu Zhi and Annakiki, and Situationist, by Georgian designer Irakli Rusadze.
These emerging talents have undoubtedly brought a breath of fresh air to the Milan Fashion Week.
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