Sandwiched between London and Paris fashion weeks, Milan’s autumn/winter ready-to-wear collections brought a delicious dose of cool to the table. For the past week, designers dished up the most enviable of cold-weather trends — their inspiration rising from the depths of centuries-old fairytale books to the height of McDonald’s golden arches.
One of the most talked-about shows was Jeremy Scott’s Moschino collection, which was all about the overstatement of pop culture. Scott held a magnifying glass up to our label-conscious, name brand-centric culture, changing fast food into fast fashion.
One model dressed in a typical takeout-girl uniform carried her McDonald’s kid’s meal purse on a tray down the catwalk, while a handful of others were wrapped up in, well, candy wrappers. The label’s signature “Moschino” nameplate belt found itself reimagined — this time wrapped continuously around one of the skirts and corresponding pair of thigh-high boots.
Although Scott’s cheeky sense of humor sang the praises of over-the-top dressing, Gucci’s creative director, Frida Giannini, opted for more subtle glamour. Clean lines and smaller silhouettes were the word, and models decked out in pastel shades of blue, green, pink and yellow flaunted a refreshing balance of casual luxury. Upscale materials like fur and leather were shaped into laid-back garments most would never expect, and the irony of fine fur on a sweatshirt was not lost on the audience. Snakeskin knee-high boots were woven throughout the looks, and models surveyed the crowd from behind barely tinted oversized sunglasses. And perhaps the biggest surprise of all from the elegant brand: blue jeans.
Dolce & Gabbana hit an especially high note with its dark fairytale-like collection, composed of about 70 looks that personified the contents of a storybook. However, in this case, the typical damsel in distress was nowhere to be found. Red Riding Hood was certainly present, but she came in the form of a fierce-looking heroine in a blood red, hooded fur coat. Female knights in chainmail stormed the runway, though their knee-high heeled metallic boots (looking exactly like the bottom half of full-on armor) might get stuck in the battlefield. Romantic notions floated within the collection as well in the form of lacy, jewel-toned coats sporting flora and fauna.
Fashionistas still haven’t forgotten Fendi’s fantastic collection by Karl Lagerfeld, which was rooted in its theme of transience and travel. Lagerfeld cited Billie Holiday’s “Violets For Your Furs” as an inspiration, explaining how lovers used to pin flowers to their departing significant others’ coats when they travelled. Entire orchid branches were pinned to many of Fendi’s fur cloaks, which were practical shades of deep blue, brown and olive.
Though Italy may be lauded for its impressive cuisine, it was definitely the couture that left the fashion crowd supremely satiated and ready for round four of the fashion weeks, which started in Paris on Tuesday.
[A version of this story ran on page 7 on 2/27/2014 under the headline "Fast food- and fairytale-inspired fashions hit Milan runway"]