If you’re still catching your breath from the previous seasons of fashion week, it may be time to get you on an oxygen tank because Milan Fashion Week has arrived in full force—and it’s delivering its fair share of unmissable moments.
For most of us, a trip to Milan would include Risotto alla Milanese by the Duomo, but during fashion week all we care about is what new season looks designers are serving up on the runway, which supermodels have been cast in what show, and (most importantly), which pieces we’ll be taking home with us for the season ahead.
Thankfully for you, marie claire Australia has a front row seat on all the action—literally.
With our fashion director, Naomi Smith, gallivanting across town to bear witness to Prada usher in their next iteration of coveted wardrobe staples or see Fendi’s family values undergo the sartorial treatment first hand, we’ve got your insider access to the week—including the behind the scenes intel that won’t make it to the front pages.
Below, the unmissable moments from Milan Fashion Week FW/23.
Fendi Defies Conventions But Embraces Family Values
Could Kim Jones be one of fashion’s greatest historians? Since beginning his tenure at the label, Jones has continued to explore the brand’s archives and recontextualise classic silhouettes in a way that’s innovative yet balances the tone of these precarious times we live in.
This season, he looked to none other than Delfina Delettrez Fendi, Silvia Fendi’s daughter, the brand’s first ever high-jewellery designer and now the ultimate Fendi muse.
“It all started with Delfina. There’s a chicness but a perversity to the way she twists Fendi, which is what I love,” explained Jones in a statement, adding that her expressive and innately ‘her’ wardrobe was codified for this rebellious collection.
It was typical Fendi – but not how you know it. It was a “soft warm” collection, as Naomi put it.
“Beautiful knitwear, strong tailoring and fabrics like velvet and lightweight lace” were woven throughout, she added.
Emporio Armani Brought The Sunshine To A Winter Season
Winter in Milan isn’t typically associated with sunshine, but Emporio Armani just may be changing the forecast.
“It was such a grey afternoon in Milan, watching the upbeat Emporio Armani show lifted every ones spirits,” Naomi noted. Of course, the fact that aperitivo hour was in sight probably didn’t hurt either. “All the models smiled throughout the show!” Naomi added.
“Emporio Armani had some of my favourite silhouettes of the season—the perfect super long leather boots that go right up your leg and sit under skirts and suit, plus the perfect shade of pink (or should I say fuchsia) added that jolt of colour which is a great pick me up in a winter wardrobe.”
Max Mara Nailed The ‘Cozy Chic’ Aesthetic For Cool Weather Dressing
If you’re a fan of Max Mara, you’ll know that creative director Ian Griffiths loves a muse, especially if they’re of the quiet revolutionary variety. This season, he’s exploring Émilie du Châtelet—a French marquess, Philosopher and mathematician heralding from the 18th Century.
But how does this woman, who was best known for translating Isaac Newtown’s The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy and her relationship with Voltaire, fit into a modern Italian luxury landscape?
It’s quite simple really. If you were walking around the grounds of Versailles during the depths of winter, you’d merely reach for one of Max Mara’s classic teddy coats et voilà, you’re living your French aristocratic fantasy.
“There is always beautiful camel shades in a Max Mara shown- but this one looked stronger,” Naomi also observed. “here were more accessories than usual which I loved , but the highlight were the super sized legged pants with long flowing coats. They looked so cozy, comfortable and chic at the same time.” Ç’est Magnifique!
Prada Uses Supermodel Power To Embrace ‘Quiet Luxury’
After skipping out on New York and London, it seems that the supermodel set were finally ready to make their appearance in Milan. We’ve heard of a Irish exit but aren’t quite familiar with an Italian entrance, either way it’s exactly what Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid did at Prada.
The collection, co-designed by Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons, continues Mrs. Prada’s cerebral approach to design. This season, the thesis they responded to is the purpose of beauty.
“Beauty here is determined not by aesthetic, but by action,” Prada revealed in a statement following the show. Indeed, it was a sight to behold.
“Everything looked familiar…ideas from previous collections recycled and put together in simple but strong way,” explained Naomi from the front row.
Prada found beauty in the simplicity of form, the perfectly executed shape and surprising splash of colour, once again proving that the brand is a contender for the one-stop-shop for all your sartorial needs.
Diesel Brought Sexy Back To The Runway
Sensual dressing may have been the modus operandi for designers exploring the Y2K and indie sleaze aesthetics, but Glenn Martens upped the ante at Diesel. Just in case you needed further proof that this brand, or more so Martens, is on culture’s neck.
Case in point? The mountain of 200,000+ Diesel condoms stacked in the centre of the runway and the additional 300,000 condoms the brand will be dispersing from their stores throughout the month of April.
Gucci Reunites Their Gang For Their Second Atelier-Led Collection
You can take the Gucci from Alessandro Michele but you can’t take Alessandro Michele out of Gucci, it seems.
For the luxury label’s first womenswear collection since Michele left the business, the brand’s atelier led runway show brought the Gucci gang to the lime green carpet of a Wes Anderson-esque hotel lobby, with the show just as imaginative and fantastical as the auteur stylistic films.
The collection—complete with its experimental styling and sexual sensibility—was also an homage to Gucci’s past, present and future. “It was all a bit mad,” Naomi explained, in between celeb-spotting the likes of ASAP Rocky and Florence and the Machine.
“It looked to me like an eclectic mix of many shows over the years, including all the designers who have worked there. It was designed by the studio team, so felt like a celebration of Gucci in general,” she added. Think: Michele-era maximalism, Tom Ford-era minimalism and sensuality and the nostalgic silhouettes of Frida Giannini’s tenure at the brand.
But, most of all, it’s a telling sign of what is to come. Considering the countdown is on to Sabato De Sarno’s first collection as creative director, the brand has no doubt taken this opportunity to redefine their house codes. And by the looks of it, Gucci is in their party era.
Maximilian Davis Proves He’s A Two-Time Wonder At Ferragamo
Fashion has a new wunderkind in town, and he’s the name on everyone’s lips. 27-year-old Maximilian Davis’ sophomore show for Ferragamo proved that he’s not only a two-time wonder, but worthy of the helm of the legacy brand.
Ferragamo may be an luxury Italian brand, but it’s taken the lens of exploring the label’s rich connection with Hollywood for his reinvention of the brand. Naturally, he brought out a plethora of Hollywood heavyweights for the show.
Uma Thurman and Hunter Schafer rubbed shoulders on the front row while models sauntered down the runway in pieces that explored the inimitable glamour and beautyof both the golden age of cinema and Italian luxury.
As Naomi explained, the show could be summarised by four words: “Chic, wearable, grown up”.
“These are clothes that woman actually want to wear,” she added.
The murmurs from the front row confirmed this view: Davis is not the one to watch, he’s the one that will get everyone talking.
Bally Enters A New Era Under Its Creative Director Rhuigi Villaseñor
Where do you host a fashion show in Milan if you’re a newly appointed creative director ushering in the next era of a globally recognised brand? You choose the 15th-Century town house owned by Leonardo Di Vinic, of course.
Indeed, Casa degli Atellani proved to be the perfect locale for Filipino designer Rhuigi Villaseño. The renaissance architecture of the house was the perfect compliment to the collection, which Naomi noted as “strong and editorial.”
“The pieces are still classic but the styling, attitude and casting has definitely moved Bally onto a new era,” she noted.
Tods Brings Androgynous Dressing To The Outskirts Of Milan
An empty warehouse an hour outside of Milan isn’t typically the locale you associate with a high-end fashion show, but trust Tods to bring a sartorial sensibility to the city’s outskirts. “It was an amazing set, definitely had a hanger feel to it,” explained Naomi (probably during the 60-minute cab drive back into the city).
Naomi described the collection as a “interesting and new mix” for the brand, with the combination of street style-inspired aviator shearling coats styled over double-breasted coat-dresses and mod-style mini skirts proving to be a favourite for guests.
“The looks were both masculine and feminine, with cool utilitarian accessories adding an extra element,” she added.
Sportmax Lays It All Bare
What do erotic and underground photographers Robert Mapplethorpe, Peter Hujar and Nan Golding all have in common? They all serve as inspiration for Sportmax’s new collection ‘BARE’, which Naomi describes as “very 90s”.
As the brand explained following the collection, the new season explores the power of ‘nakedness’ and the human form—whether this be revealing skin, covering up or embracing structure. In a neutral colour palette, save for a baby pink and bold red, Sportmax explores the purpose of clothes as a somewhat ‘second skin’, and in your own individual intimate way of dressing can lay it all bear.
Giorgio Armani Explores The Importance Of ‘Beauty’ On The Runway
Giorgio Armani is proving that beauty notes should no longer be an afterthought, but rather a thoughtful and considered way of complimenting the collection presented. As Armani put it themselves: “Maquillage [Makeup] is always an intimate, personal moment”, highlighting how the makeup used aided the show’s homely setting.
“Guests are welcomed into a domestic dimension evoked by the presence of sofa cushions. It feels like a living room, a place for dialogue and socialising, and the wardrobe that accompanies this idea of gentle domesticity is fluid and sublime,” the brand revealed in a statement.
So, what would you expect if you were invited into Mr. Armani’s home and could peak into his vanity? Perhaps long line tailored smoking jackets and fluid trousers that resemble pyjamas, complete with a heavy layer of black kajal eyeliner.
Elsewhere, a pink hue was tinted across the cheeks, lids and lips of models. complimenting the pink pastel colour of the collection.
Bottega Veneta Perfects Wardrobe Essentials Over 81 Looks
You needn’t any further proof that Italy is the home of luxurious essentials, but Bottega has proven it nevertheless.
For Blazy’s third and final instalment in his ‘Italia’ trilogy, the creative director explores both Italy’s and Bottega Veneta’s rich sartorial history as a means for creating contemporary mens and womenswear.
In Blazy’s FW/23 collection, you’ll find no gimmicks or frills, simply fuss-free, effortlessly elegant wardrobe essentials that is playful, expressionist and oh-so covetable.
Serpenti Is Forever At Bulgari’s Presentation
In the luxurious Bulgari Hotel Milano, the label synonmous with high-end jewellery displayed their new collection of leather goods and acessories, aptly named: Kaleidoscopia.
Bringing a Roman flair to what is arguably Italy’s most fashionable city, the hotel was decked out in a 2001: A Space Odyssey light box and mid-century interior to showcase the latest object of our affection: the Serpenti Forever purse.
Featuring two gilded top handles and a baguette-shape, the purse is addorned with a Serpenti button motif and conveintly released to conicided with the 75th anniversary of the covetable design. They say the best gift for a 75th anniversary is diamonds and gold, and if that’s the case let every year be a celebration so we can indulge in this iconic number.