The Top Collections of Milan Fashion Week Spring 2018 – Vogue.com
Milan Fashion Week was a day shorter than usual. The schedule was definitely more packed—especially Saturday, when the prolific Dolce & Gabbana put on a Secret Show of new eveningwear at 10:00 p.m. that was young, fun, and joyous—but at least the sun was shining. Even better, we actually got to enjoy it, with a handful of designers opting for open-air venues. Marco de Vincenzo went historical, taking us to the 15th-century Castello Sforzesco, while the Jil Sander newcomers Lucie and Luke Meier looked to the future, choosing a soon-to-open mall near the newly built Zaha Hadid tower.
It was a week of debuts—not just the Meiers at Jil Sander but also Paul Surridge at Roberto Cavalli. Both presented thoughtful collections that showed promise. And it was a week of anniversaries, too. Having recently passed the 20-year mark of her brother Gianni’s death, Donatella Versace paid tribute to his legacy with a collection inspired by his ’90s hits and a supermodel finale that was an instant Instagram sensation. There’s a message in the public’s fascination with the models emeritus Naomi, Cindy, Claudia, and co. Diversified runways aren’t just a passing fancy, they’re the way fashion should operate. Angela Missoni had her own 20th to celebrate, but she rationed the nostalgia; the label her parents founded turns 65 next year.
Among Vogue’s top five list, there were two clear trends. The first is designers’ embrace of history. Nowhere was that more explicit than at Gucci, where Alessandro Michele commissioned a set of ersatz relics that spanned centuries and continents, and mined different, disparate fashion eras to create a psychedelic parade of Elton John glitter, haberdashery, Eastern influences, and Bugs Bunny. Then Michele went and showed it all in the dark, compounding its hallucinogenic effect. The guy is on his own trip.
The second trend in play was designers’ increasing belief in the elevating power of art. See the engaged and enraged Prada collection in which Miuccia Prada used the work of eight female comic artists as accents on her sharp tailoring, amplifying its collectability factor and her feminist message. And see the confident, freewheeling sophomore effort of Francesco Risso at Marni, where the newcomer’s own artist of choice was David Salle. (Apparently he cold-called him, and Salle said yes.)
It’s tempting to see the omnipresence of art in fashion as a symptom of an industry working at hyper-speed. But then at Donatella’s emotional tribute to her brother at the Versace show, she resurrected key 1990s collections, including the Icons collection, where he lifted Andy Warhol’s silk screen of Marilyn Monroe. Gianni was every inch the groundbreaker that Donatella says he was.
The outlier on our list is Bottega Veneta’s Tomas Maier, who used neither obvious historical references nor art as a starting point, though he’s certainly cribbed from both in the past. Maier this season belongs to the designer contingent intent on injecting optimism into our lives. Since the Spring ’18 collections started at the beginning of September, we’ve witnessed a pair of hurricanes, two deadly earthquakes, a London terrorist strike, and escalating nuclear threats on the part of two world-leader man-children. Bottega Veneta’s apricot leather trench embellished with nailhead studs isn’t going to save the world, but just knowing that there are people out there capable of making the beautiful things that Maier designs is cheering. That’s why Dolce & Gabbana’s Secret Show makes the list, too. More than 50 millennials took to the runway at Bar Magenta, and the client-heavy crowd clapped and whooped for each and every one. If only every show could make you feel that good.
See a slideshow of Milan’s top collections below.