While I am dying to attend New York Fashion Week and seeing the Paris shows (and attending the Vogue costume party!) would be a dream come true, there is a special place in my heart for Milan Fashion Week. Not only do I love Italy and Italian fashion, a large part of my personal style was developed when I was 21 and living in Rome so I personal relate.
Shall we start the Milan Fashion Week Fall 2012 coverage off on a funky note? Here we go…
According to designer Christopher Kane and his benefactor Donatella Versace, the Versus show look the original center of punk and grunge as its muse – the area known as Camden in London. The collection composed primarily of dresses came out in deep cranberry, cobalt blue, fuchsia, blue and yellow, all with a little bit of a rock n’ roll. flair to them.
The leather details & mini skirts, lace-up pants, cut outs, sheer panels and over-the-knee boots embraced the edgier side of the collection while there was still something soft in the prints, cocoon coats and babydoll dresses. The Versus girl clearly knows how to have a good time, but also has a sweet side.
Drama Drama Drama. The Versace show was a little bit Marilyn Manson and a little bit Girt With The Dragon Tattoo. Donatella showed everything from a studded black leather dress to a corset covered in a giant blue crystal crucifix to neon yellow halters to vinyl trimmed fish net tights to chain mail and buckle-covered combat boots. All worn with Rooney Mara’s über short, blunt bangs.
Dramatic and eye-catching, that’s for sure. The devil, so to speak, was in the details though. The studded leather bags were gorgeous, up close the embroidered crucifixes almost looked like flowers, the giant belt buckles had a superhero-style V in the center and the chain mail details were extraordinarily intricate and beautifully made.
Moschino was fun, youthful and cute. Bandleader jackets paired with cheerleader skirts and beehives? In bright yellow, red and blue? Only Moschino could pull that off in Milan, that’s for sure. But pull it off Rossella Jardini did.
Her irreverent collection also included black velvet Stetsons, military-style double-breasted thick wool pea coats, adorably retro shift dresses in black & white, fun checks, houndstooth & plaid, and some good old-fashioned gold Italian embroidery.
For more pictures check out Fashionologie.
Per usual the Roberto Cavalli show was all about glitz and glamour. Vibrant animal prints, shimmering sequins, iridescent scales, fur and feathers, embroidery and brocades… All the over-the-top lux that Mr. Cavalli loves. The details of this collection were really breathtaking. The tailoring and hand-stitching and attention to every tiny facet of the clothing and accessories. Truly impressive.
My favorite pieces were the leopard print lace-up booties, purple elbow-length leather gloves, the brushed velvet-looking cropped jackets and the gold sequined peplum cocktail dress.
The unquestionable highlight of this show? Miss Naomi Campbell closed the show!
Leather & lace. The Salvatore Ferragamo collection can be summed up in two words – leather & lace. Massimiliano Giornetti showed gorgeous looks in contrasting fabrics, cuts and moods. Tough, military-inspired belted jackets paired with soft, flowy skirts in chiffon and lace. Gorgeous knee-length coats with brass buttons worn over lacy and sheer tops. Chunky knits with leather skirts and pants.
The jackets and coats were by far my favorite pieces of the collection. The buttons and details on the collars and pockets were divine. You can get a feel from looking at them that the designer does menswear as well.
The Giorgio Armani collection titled “Easy Chic” ran the gamut from sexy grey suits to brightly patterned separates to sherbet colored dresses, all worn with wide-brimmed hats set at a jaunty angle and fingerless gloves in plaid and leopard print. It was a surprisingly youthful and lackadaisical show compared to what we’ve come to expect from Giorgio Armani, but still appealing to his usual sophisticated clientele.
You can see more pictures over at Fashionology.
The dark and ominous collection that Frida Giannini showed for Gucci was sexy and decadent. She used sumptuous fabrics and vibrant colors to highlight the black, olive-green and navy that made up the background pieces. She showed a wide range of pieces – wide leg, flowy pants with a pajama-like feel, dark floral maxi dresses, body-skimming long-sleeved dresses in velvet and brocade, sheer blouses paired with leather pants, embroidered Jodhpurs tucked into knee-high riding boots and dramatic gowns with velvet belts and plunging necklines.
What caught my eye most were the extras. The soft wool capes, glossy patent leather bags, and sexy strappy heels.
Marni was all about color this season rather than the fun, cheeky prints that Consuelo Castiglioni usually sends down the runways of Milan. But don’t worry, there was still plenty of the lovable quirk Marni is known for. Outerwear, separates and dresses marched out in reds, blues, yellows and black & white, all with a slight retro feel.
I liked the white tights paired with gold-tipped Mary Jane’s, the drop waisted belted coats, I also loved the blunt Vidal Sassoon bangs, too cute.
Angela Missoni’s Fall 2012 collection for Missoni was all about Mother Nature and the great outdoors. She evoked this theme by pairing the traditional Missoni knits with other fabrics, leathers and furs to create layered looks that appeared to be made from bark and leaves and stone.
The marbling on the knits and the tightly wrapped layers were quite beautiful, at once both traditional Missoni and innovative.
You can see these earthy knits in action here.
The Dolce & Gabbana collection was intricate and sumptuous, filled with dramatic gold detailing, lace accents, sheer panels, tiaras-like lavishly beaded headbands, exaggerated earrings, dark hued Baroque inspired florals, cacoon shaped capes and lace knee-high socks.
Overall the show was dramatic and surprising. The ornate gilding of the clothes created almost a Papal feel while the sheer lace and tiered white dresses were a combination of innocence and understated sexuality with a old-world influence.
Gone was the vintage feel from her Pre-Fall 2012 collection, gone were the whimsical prints and floaty silhouettes from her Spring 2012 ready-To-Wear show. Alberta Ferretti’s Fall 2012 show was more masculine than we traditionally expect from her and more overtly sexy – with sheer blouses, leather body-con dresses and strategically placed translucent panels on gowns.
Alberta Ferretti always delivers beautiful, wearable dresses – my favorites here had layers of paper-thin, textured chiffon – but this season she also gave us gorgeous outerwear. Some in masculine pinstripes, some belted, some with leather collars, some with shearling trim, some hip length and some floor length.
Giorgio Armani called his Fall 2012 Ready-To-Wear collection for Emporio Armani “Little Winter Follies” but I didn’t see many follies. The show was awash in color for fall, in addition to black & white, there were splashes of brilliant coral, bright cobalt blue and luminous purple. Yes, each look was composed of many pieces and the styling was perhaps borderline excessive, but when you took apart the individual pieces there was a lot of sharp, wearable clothing.
I absolutely LOVED the stylish young French lady vibe from the collection, especially the first section full of blacks, whites and greys. The cute little hats, smart but fun blazers with lacy hems or black on black polka dots, chic bags, gloves & tights and comfortable flat shoes were mouth-watering!
The Bottega Veneta show was all about dark elegance. From beautifully tailored coats and skirt suits in black, navy and a somber dark purple to sexy, body skimming dresses in black, cream, lavender and brilliant prints – some had demure capsleeves & boatneck collars while others had dramatic, plunging necklines.
There were plenty of details worth getting a better look at as well – bright crystal embellishments, large retro brooches, stiff looking knee-high riding boots, feathery chiffon boleros, abstract florals and bright plaids, sleek elbow-length leather gloves and ankle boots and strappy pumps over visible socks. Oh, and a collection of handbags that I would KILL for.
Fendi was all about mixing the unexpected in interesting and new ways. Black leather with brown wool, navy tights with a midnight black dress, grey snake-skin leggings with a black patent crocodile skirt, contrasting colored spats on ankle boots, skirts composed of pleats and silk or leather, and giant prize-fighter style belts over sleek fabrics.
Prada’s Fall 32012 collection was heavy on the outerwear, even the dresses and long, draping tops had a coat-like quality about them. The tailoring and fabrics of this show were divine, the intricacies beautiful and timeless. The sequins, stones, embroidery and embellishments on the clothes gave them almost a vintage-feel while the hair and makeup evoked a futuristic reference.
The scene at MaxMara was sleek, monochromatic and masculine, and as always the suiting and outerwear was to die for. The show started with olive-green then seamlessly transitioned through black, camel, white and grey. The feel of the collection was a little bit military and a little bit sailor, with stripes, aviator jackets and caps, peacoats and greave-like sock & buckle accoutrement on the legs.
I loved the incredibly soft looking coats, worn open with popped collars, but I was absolutely smitten with the silky, loosely draping pants – in both cropped and full length. They were absolutely stunning!
Fashionology has more pictures or you can watch the show in action and see why I’m dying for a pair – or ten – of those pants.
The last show for Raf Simons at Jil Sander received a standing ovation on Saturday, much deserved adulation for the designer after seven years at the label. The collection was filled to the brim with beautiful coats and dresses, from the palest ballerina whites & pinks to black, navy, bold crimson and shimmery tinfoil silver.
The dresses were classic and body conscious while the coats had a much larger and more dramatic silhouette, mostly without buttons or ties, loosely draping or even held closed by the models. I loved the clean lines and that way color was used to make a statement rather than prints or layering. My absolute favorite part? The two strap heels that look like they were inspired by point shoes.
The whole collection looked like it could have been tailor-made for Audrey Hepburn’s turn as a runway model in Funny Face.
In the mood for more from the Italian runways? Check out the top looks from Harper’s Bazaar and Harper’s Bazaar UK, or you can see photos or videos from other shows that I didn’t have time to review: Etro, Emilio Pucci, Just Cavalli & Moschino Cheap & Chic.
Or you can check out just how far all of these Italian designers have come since their last collections: Milan Fashion Week Spring 2012 – Part I, Milan Fashion Week Spring 2012 – Part II and Milan Fashion Week Fall 2011.
Be sure to keep an eye out for Moi Contre La Vie’s Giveaway after Paris Fashion Week!
*** Please note that I do not advocate the use of fur in fashion and personally make an effort not to wear or carry fur, exotic skins or leather. I believe that in this day in age there are many beautiful alternatives to these products which are cruelty-free and should be utilized instead.
Anyone can be a slave to new trends, it doesn’t take creativity or style to dress in a runway look head to toe. So what is style? What does it mean to be chic and stylish rather than a fashion victim?
Style is a very personal concept, it can be different for everyone. It’s about knowing you body type, knowing what looks good on you and knowing what you’ll be comfortable wearing. You can ignore every trend that ever graces a magazine cover and still be a fashion icon.
Good style is eternal.
Whether you consider Jane Birkin, Audrey Hepburn, Diana Vreeland or Lauren Hutton to be your ultimate style icon, there is something that each of these women possess. She is true to herself and has created a style that is inherently “her.”
What are the basic guidelines that every lady must follow in order to be stylish?
[1.] Know thy self – Take a good, hard look in the mirror and understand your assets & limitations. What are your best characteristics – Great shoulders? Long, lean legs? Christina Hendricks curves? Find a style that plays up your assets. Yes, you can mix up your style each season and incorporate great new looks to keep things fresh, but you need to first have a good understanding of what you can, can’t and shouldn’t bother trying to pull off. Do you have short legs? Stay away from skinny jeans and don’t even think about wearing mid-calf boots, both will make your legs look truncated. On the curvier side? Stay away from ruffles and busy tops, they will make you look top-heavy. You don’t need to look like Gisele to look polished and put together, you just need to know how to work with what you have!
[2.] Find your sweet spot – Once you know what works best for you, the next step is to create a style that is totally your own, a home base of sorts that you can always start with or go back to. Whether you love Twiggy-style shift dresses, sexy menswear, a darker pallet, retro ladylike silhouettes or Alexa Chung-inspired hipster looks, make the look yours by adding personal flares. If you’re comfortable and confident in your clothes, you’ll have every eye on you as soon as you step into a room. Wear your clothes, don’t let them wear you! My personal look is very classic and a little formal, I love dresses and skirts, but with a bit of an edge. My favorite looks are traditional with a modern twist, like a chic LBD with funky pearls and patent leather booties.
[3.] Invest! It’s always fun to try new trends – if you’re careful with them – but a large portion of your clothing/accessories budget should be devoted to classic, long-term pieces. High quality basics that you will be able to use season after season, which can easily be spiced up with the newest handbag or sunglasses. A trench coat, great jeans, a button down shirt, a Little Black Dress, (see Real Girls Need Real Closets & Real Girls Need Real Closets – Accessories Edition) these are the building blocks to a great wardrobe, regardless of your style. When you see pictures of Jane Birkin’s bangs and little tunic dresses, Audrey’s trenches, Coco’s pearls or Bianca Jagger’s suits they still all look chic and modern. Why? Because they were stylish women, not slaves to trends.
Some words of wisdom to think about when you’re considering you personal look:
- “Style isn’t about change; that’s fashion’s job. Style is about knowing yourself, knowing the image you want to project, and finding the look that suits you the best for your goals.” TLo from Tom & Lorenzo: Fabulous & Opinionated
- “Fashion fades, only style remains the same.” Coco Chanel
- “Over the years I have learned that what is important in a dress is the woman who is wearing it.” Yves Saint Laurent
- “Attitude is everything.” Diane von Furstenberg
Have you seen the Audrey Hepburn movie Funny Face?
There’s this phenomenal dance number with Kay Thompson, who is one of the highlights of the film, called How To Be Lovely. Whenever I think of being stylish and chic, I think of this scene and it makes me laugh. This is a great reminder that fashion is supposed to be fun!