A hell of a cocktail! For this women’s spring-summer 2024, Milan fashion week, which took place from September 19 to 25, mixed all the right ingredients: new artistic directors at Gucci, Tom Ford and Bally, a dose of hype from young creation (The Attico, Andreadamo), an anniversary fashion show for Moschino, a slew of parties, including one to celebrate the collaboration between Moncler and Pharrell Williams (sealed before the latter became artistic director of Vuitton). In all, more than one hundred and fifty events between parades, presentations and social events of all kinds.
As usual, Diesel saw the big picture: “Diesel likes to party, so we invited 7,000 people [1 000 professionnels, 6 000 tickets offerts au public, dont 1 500 pour les étudiants] at our rave », explains designer Glenn Martens. The open-air parade looks like a concert with a giant screen, a central stage, stands all around and hysterical fans in the pit, not even deterred by the pouring rain.
As the brand is doing well and is very successful among those under 30, the aesthetic hardly changes: denim serves as the basis for all kinds of rather successful textile experiments where the fabric is devoured, shredded, mended, frayed …leaving the body naked, assuming the sexual side. Not sure that the transparent mesh dresses worn under a thong (fashion magic!) will be a hit in stores, but they ensure the virality of the event. “This collection represents the spirit of Diesel, democratic and experimental. I’m all for living life to the fullest, and every day should be a celebration.”, summarizes Glenn Martens.
This season, Moschino celebrates its fortieth anniversary. The brand, which separated at the beginning of the year from Jeremy Scott, its American designer renowned for mixing glamor and humor, this season asked four stylists to reinterpret its heritage. The result is contrasting: good-chic wardrobe at Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele, sexy bling hippie with Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, frilly romantic for Lucia Liu. From a style point of view, it doesn’t work very well and we begin to miss the offbeat spirit of Jeremy Scott. But as for the meaning of the celebration… the parade continues with a dance performance, a violin solo to the tune of I Am What I Am, by Gloria Gaynor, and the impressive arrival of all the models at the same time on the catwalk, frolicking barefoot, in jeans and white t-shirts, the sale of which will go to the Elton John foundation to fight AIDS.
The atmosphere is also festive at Prada, overwhelmed by a compact crowd who came to examine the total looks of the guests and the range of celebrities, from Scarlett Johansson to Kylie Jenner via K-pop stars. And, in the room, the fashion lovers are ecstatic, such ingenuity is displayed by the Miuccia Prada/Raf Simons tandem. The decor consists of a metal mesh from which a viscous liquid escapes from the ceiling forming a transparent curtain around the “catwalk”. The clothes oscillate between masculine jackets with broad shoulders and vaporous dresses in layered veils of organza and gazar, like a cloud around the body. “I’m tired of concepts, I wanted to talk about clothes”says Miuccia Prada.
The collection is very technical, with long metallic fringes tied around the waist which give shine to a dark jacket or prints mixed with embroidery which give the clothes a sense of relief. “We don’t talk about craftsmanship much at Prada, at least compared to other houses. We wanted to show the extent of our capabilities”explains Raf Simons. “The question that motivated us for this collection was: what is beauty in today’s world? », completes his pair. Prada offers its own version.
A crystal chandelier dress
Milan was also in turmoil for the Bottega Veneta fashion show, which since the arrival of Matthieu Blazy as artistic director in 2021 has offered one of the most advanced aesthetic proposals of the moment, based on technical experiments and the promotion of knowledge -make crafts. “When I was a kid, there were always treasure maps and treasure maps on the boxes of Choco Pops that we ate for breakfast. I wanted to recreate this feeling of traveling from home, a collection to escape from everyday life”, explains the designer who mixed cultures from around the world “to give them a new form”.
There is little risk of cultural appropriation here because the result is unlike anything known: dresses made from strips of multi-colored leather or very thick braided cotton, like plaids draped together, rub shoulders with skirts where different levels of fringes are superimposed, coats crossed by sinuous lines, costumes so structured that they seem almost rigid. “We developed new techniques with old looms”, rejoices Matthieu Blazy, who once again manages to find the right balance between experimentation and desirability.
Milan’s other strong point this season was its share of newcomers. Among them, Simone Bellotti’s first show for Bally. The designer spent sixteen years at Gucci, where he was Alessandro Michele’s right-hand man, but this is not felt in his collection which has nothing baroque and which offers a wise and charming student wardrobe at the Beaux -Arts: sky blue shirt and navy skirt, pea coat and jeans, camel leather jacket and matching skirt… enough to highlight the array of pretty little smooth leather bags – because Bally is a leather goods maker, we must not forget that .
There is also change at Tom Ford: the Texan founder left his label at the start of the year after the takeover by Estée Lauder. This season is the first for new designer Peter Hawkings, the notion of “new” being quite relative since the Englishman was Tom Ford’s right-hand man for twenty-five years. On the podium, nothing very new either, one would think that Tom Ford – the one from the (great) 2000s – is still in charge: the women embody a conquering and sexy glamor with a seventies flavor, with their shirts open to the navel , their patent leather pencil skirt and their stiletto heels. The safari jackets combined with very short shorts, the beautiful velvet suits and bell-bottom pants, the dresses as long as they are tight… everything has an air of déjà vu. At the same time, the proposition is well made and there are not many competitors in this niche currently. Sometimes the past is still relevant.
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This season also had the merit of presenting the work of young creators. Among them, Andreadamo, who, for several seasons, has managed to make a name for himself. The finalist for the Andam fashion prize in 2023 continues to imagine a sensual and conquering woman, in a slightly Saint-Laurentesque vein: wide-shouldered leather jacket, close-fitting knit that hides nothing, dress made of strips that come off… An assertive style that will undoubtedly lead him, one day, to being approached by a major house looking for new blood.
Sexy is also a question at The Attico, the hottest brand of the moment, launched by two Italian women in their thirties. Giorgia Tordini and Gilda Ambrosio began by selling shoes before diversifying with clothing, which was the subject of a fashion show for the first time. We must recognize their real sense of staging, with vintage sofas installed on the roadway, in a street privatized for the occasion.
In this open-air show, the models all sport a different look, glamorous (a crystal chandelier dress), street (the baggy-bralette combo), experimental (the unstructured suit jacket), chic (total black look)… Too disjointed to be convincing. This Milan season had raised so many expectations, it is normal that not all were met. The Lombard capital has in any case proven that it can still surprise. In a world obsessed with novelty, this is no small thing.