Milan Fashion Week Recap: Day One – Wall Street Journal

Models present creations for fashion house Gucci during the women Spring/Summer 2016 show in Milan Wednesday.

Nerd Chic, Reinvented

Gucci is changing the way fashion people look at a lot of things—nerd glasses, furry loafers and GG logos, among them. Tom Ford-era Gucci designs are emerging from the backs of closets and showing up at fashion shows because Gucci designer Alessandro Michele, who only started in the job in January, is proving to be one of those dark horses that emerge to change the world.

Part of his runway magic is the ability to make frumpy floral dresses seem new and enticing. He’s not inventing; he’s daringly re-inventing, and proving to be one of the industry’s few current original thinkers. Even his models are mostly unknowns.

But the real genius on the Gucci runway was the baroque abundance of accessories: piles of rings, gloves, logo handbags, a floral suitcase, shoes, bejeweled sunglasses. Those are the goodies that may turn Gucci’s fortunes around.—Christina Binkley

Immigration Inspiration

Italian-born designer Stella Jean took inspiration from the chaos and political unrest surrounding the surge of migrants into Europe, by considering past and present migration waves to and from Italy.

Ms. Jean, who has Haitian origins, says she has been struck by some “harsh” comments against migrants and also by the courage shown by rescuers, the Italian coast guard, for example, who “deserve a Nobel prize,” she said. “Let’s not pretend we’re so different from these people,” she said after her show.

A model on the runway at the Stella Jean Spring/Summer 2016 show in Milan Wednesday.

Italy has a long history of migration to foreign countries. Recalling past waves of Italians leaving the country, the designer has created a symbolic journey from Italy to South America and North America and back—represented in her collection with colorful patterns and folkloric outfits. Maxi shirts, recalling Peruvian and Brazilian traditions, alternated with striped tunics and cowboy-style looks recalling a North American style.—Manuele Mesco

Cowgirl Yee-haw

It’s way too early in Milan fashion week to call any trends. But it’s hard to ignore the yee-haww trills coming from Fausto Puglisi and Stella Jean, where cowgirl looks were a definite thing.

A runway model at the Fausto Puglisi show for Spring/Summer 2016 in Milan Wednesday.

Fausto’s were in-your-face cowgirl boots and pleated miniskirts, and tops in red, white and blue. Given this designer’s following, we’ll probably see more of these looks at next year’s award shows. For the thrifty, go dig those 1996 cowboy boots out of your closet. It’s time. —Christina Binkley

Toast of Champions

Franciois-Henri Pinault, chairman and chief executive of Kering, was feeling thankful Wednesday night at a celebration dinner for Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele, who grabbed fashion’s spotlight with his sensitive shy-girl aesthetic when he took the job last January. With Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour smiling gaily at his elbow, Mr. Pinault began by calling out Gucci’s chief executive, Marco Bizzarri. “I would like to thank Marco Bizzarri for taking the courageous decision to choose Alexander,” said Mr. Pinault. He quickly corrected the designer’s name to Alessandro, but his error emphasized the unexpectedness of the elevation of a formerly anonymous design assistant to the top job at one of the luxury industry’s biggest brands.

Fashion designer Alessandro Michele acknowledges applause after the Gucci women's Spring-Summer 2016 presentation in Milan Wednesday.

Mr. Pinault proclaimed his appreciation that Mr. Michele has the assignment to turn around the fortunes of Kering’s biggest luxury brand. “I am very proud,” Mr. Pinault said. “I see how with grace and poetry you do reflect the mentality of today.”—Christina Binkley

Just Plein Love

If there is one thing German designer Philipp Plein is sure about, it’s where to look for inspiration. He called his latest collection PleinPunk and said he wanted a “real rock star” to play at his fashion show. He got one: Courtney Love.

Courtney Love performs at Philipp Plein’s in Milan Wednesday.

Ms. Love, the frontwoman for Hole and the widow of Kurt Cobain, performed “Celebrity Skin” before the runway show, standing on a moving platform which transported her through a futuristic setting made of drones, big machines and robots playing guitars. Ms. Love said it was “a little scary” playing among all those robots. Leather-studded jackets, trousers and booties were the collection’s main ingredients in mainly black, silver and white with touches of red.—Manuela Mesco


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