When Milan fashion week starts, you’re sure to expect at least three things: a lot of prints, a lot of whimsy and a lot of thought-provoking clothes.

The thought-provoking clothes came as usual, courtesy of Miuccia Prada. Her shows are such that once they are over, you try to find the words to describe them. But that is always a good thing. Her thing is being able to mix the unexpected. This time, she travelled back in time to produce the clothes for the future. But it is never obvious. The references are so filtered that you think you might be guessing wrong. In this show alone, 60’s and 90’s and 40’s met in one outfit: print shirt worn beneath a spaghetti-strap bra top and worn with high waisted knickers. Decoration came in the form of ostrich feathers/marabou trimmings that came on everything including wrap skirts, bags, shoes and even evening looks that consisted of diamanté-encrusted chinoiserie pajamas. And this review isn’t even covering half of the good stuff she showed.

Another Titan of thought-provoking clothes is Karl Lagerfeld at Fendi. You get to focus more on the clothes when he’s at the storied Italian house than when he’s at Chanel. For spring, the shoes are sock-like boots à la Vetements. The clothes? They ranged from brocades and lingerie silks to utilitarian stripes and leather flower embroidery. Some of the standout looks were cropped knit sweaters that were spliced beneath the bust revealing a bit of underboob paired with ribbon-tied aprons that were worn over pants OR organza blouses with scalloped edges running through the shoulders to the sleeves.

Max Mara showcased sporty clothes that just looked like they were made in South-America. There were jungle prints and techno fabrics that were made into hooded jackets, leggings, bodysuits, and stretch onesies in bold colors. Animal print motifs fronted knit sweaters that were paired with shaggy mohair skirts.

Massimo Giorgetti dug into the Emilio Pucci archive for spring. Amongst his finds were: 1, a labyrinth print that he blew up. 2, an animal print that he abstracted. 3, colored jersey that he found in a coral red, acid yellow and lilac which he used to drape dresses that were layered over bodysuits in contrasting colors. It was his best effort so far since he arrived the house three seasons ago.

Luisa Beccaria titled her show “the nymph affair”. Her romantic collection featured pastel-toned tulle and organza that was cut into floor length dresses that were sometimes sheer or embellished. Silver lamé knits were a pleasant surprise too.

Delivering his most clever show for Moschino yet was Jeremy Scott. He thought about the 2D world we live in now (everyone owns some bright-screened device or another) and delivered trompe l’oiel paper doll clothes complete with white folding tabs.

Neil Barrett showed retro vintage clothes with modern cuts based on American dressing. Striped knits, jacquard jersey dresses, leather jackets and biker pants made for his menswear-inflected line-up.

Continuing with the on-going stripes trend was Natasa Cagalj at Ports 1961. Hers ranged from lounge-y/sleepwear stripes to workwear stripes. They were deconstructed and cut into relaxed pants and roomy shirts. The stripes gave way to florals and then relaxed separates (or jumpsuits) for evening.

Stefania Bandiera of Les Copains showed a feminized version of “adventure wear”, like a Grace Kelly in Indiana Jones. Cargo pants and khaki jackets were introduced to feminine elements like transparency that came in the form of organza, ruffles, and light-handed embellishments. Light weight knits were also a welcome addition.

Finally, Mr Eleganté himself Giorgio Armani showed what he knows best: tailored pieces injected with just the right amount of femininity: beaded columns, a subtle color palette, and airy fabrics. They maintained the signature of whom he designs for: a strong woman.

Author: Kayito Nwokedi