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Image / Style / Off The Cuff

Milan Fashion Week wants you to forget about the pandemic


by Holly O'Neill
30th Sep 2020
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Milan Fashion Week imagines a summer without coronavirus


Following the scramble of London Fashion Week‘s last-minute government guidelines change, Milan Fashion Week looks a lot more like the Fashion Weeks thought to have been left behind. With actual fashion shows, no masks on the catwalks and celebrities on the front row (Paul Mescal at Fendi! Olivia Palermo at Etro!), the most noticeable change was the fashion on display: fashion very much designed for a world without coronavirus.

 

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At Etro, vibrantly printed bikinis, loose shirts, rope sandals and archival prints from 1992 were made for a truly Italian summer on the Riviera. Beachy haired, bronzed models wore sunset shades and skin-tight silhouettes at Sportmax and Alberta Ferretti’s sunshine sundresses are made for a world where foreign travel for pleasure and dressing up for the night still exists.

 

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All eyes were on the shapely shades of white linen and show-stealing accessories shown at Fendi as Silvia Venturini Fendi, the granddaughter of the original Fendi founders, had her last womenswear show. It was announced during the coronavirus pandemic that she would be passing the baton to London’s Kim Jones, who, like his predecessor Karl Lagerfeld, will now be designing for both Fendi and Dior Men.

 

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Sunset yellow and a return to the brand’s heritage was also important at Prada, where the arrival of Raf Simon as co-creator to Miuccia Prada made this show the most hyped of the week. In a digital presentation and interview, the duo spoke about their new partnership and collection, rife with both of their signature styles. Look out for Prada logo earrings, coming to an Instagram near you next summer.

 

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“In Italy’s postwar second renaissance, Max Mara was one of the companies that developed the idea of Bella Figura, which is about making yourself look and feel at your best in order to perform at your best,” said British designer Ian Griffiths after his show of sophisticated workwear, dresses and classic prints at Max Mara, referencing the brand’s post-war heritage of dressing up to feel better.

 

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Giorgio Armani replaced a physical audience with an entirely new one, by livestreaming the show on Italian primetime television, an idea forgotten as brands without physical shows rely on streaming on social media platforms.

 

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Notably absent was Gucci, which announced in May that it would be creating just two “off calendar” presentations going forward, yet Gucci’s social media grabbing spotlight was taken by Moschino this season, with the best representation of a digital fashion show yet. Designer Jeremy Scott created marionette models and a recognisable marionette front row including Anna Wintour and Edward Enninful, an entirely more enjoyable digital presentation than the online lookbooks have proven to be.

 

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The front row at Versace was made up of socially distanced Versace staffers, who sat in a Versace Atlantis, where broken Medusa heads and Roman statues surrounded them, watching wet haired models in sea creature ruffles and shapes in rainbow shades and archived Versace prints.

While the future of these clothes, and where they can be worn hangs in the balance (will we even need to wear a bra again next year, let alone one that would be visible and neon?), the question remains over whether designers are burying their heads in the sand about the reality of the next year, or sticking to the fantasy theatre that Fashion Week presents. Will we need a fitted black ballgown, or even a bright yellow flowing sundress next summer? Or is the fantasy of the possibility of it what we need from designers right now?

Photography by Moschino.

Read more: There’s no pandemic fashion at London Fashion Week

Related: The Lucy x Pippa collection is available now, and we are longing to be wrapped in their cashmere

Related: H&M’s new Studio Collection is a nod to 70’s Bowie and Studio 54

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