MILAN – Milan Fashion Week closed five off-kilter days of runway show for next season, marked both by a sense of relief that strict pandemic rules were easing but with growing distress over the war in Ukraine.
“This is a very sad moment, and that is why we are trying to bring some love and some peace and harmony,” said designer Dan Caten backstage at DSquared2.
A lone protester stood poignantly outside of shows on Sunday vying for attention, with a sign “Putin, Stop bombing Ukraine,’’ and balloons in yellow and blue, for the embattled country’s flag.
Highlights from Sunday’s mostly womenswear previews for next spring and summer, held as thousands gathered in the center of Milan to demand peace:
RESETTING BOTTEGA VENETA
Bottega Veneta has hit refresh with creative direction of Matthieu Blazy.
The new creative director sent a clear message of renewal with the first look in his debut collection Saturday night: A white tank and what appeared to be jeans, but which were deceptively made out of soft nubuck. Call it a palate cleanser.
And with that simple gesture, Blazy drew a straight line to the roots of the Veneto-born brand as a leather goods company, and its understated sophistication that was sometimes eclipsed by his predecessor’s eye-catching padded “intrecciato” (woven) leather mules and bags.
The French designer brought creative new twists to the label: The bag of the season is the brand’s classic woven intreccio slung over the shoulder, not worn but gripped by a long strap without the conventional loop.
The garments themselves were defined by movement, which Blazy said in notes relates to the brand’s heritage bags as objects that suggests travel, at very least getting out of the house.
They included a midi-length A-line skirts with a bustle of shredded leather, for a feathery rustle with every step of the sculpted platform heel. Wispy sequined cocktail dresses with feather detailing were paired with knee-high boots in glossy beetle green, off-white or silver. Rounded sculpted shoulder straps gave life to sheath dresses, accented by a woven clutch elegantly studded in golden points.
Julianne Moore and Raf Simons, the Prada designer who was Blazy’s boss for a spell at Calvin Klein, had front-row seats in the brand’s new headquarters behind Milan’s City Hall. The space was still a work in progress, with raw concrete block walls and the dome’s reinforcements still showing.
FERRARI MAKES MILAN RUNWAY DEBUT
Ferrari unveiled its first Milan collection, as it continues its expansion from a supercar company to a luxury goods brand with runway cachet.
“Our first show was in Maranello because of course it’s our hometown, and it was important to start there. Now we are in Milan because it is the fashion capital and has a very strong relationship with the future,’’ creative director Rocco Iannone said back stage.
The runway looks maintained the brand’s ties to the racing world, with leather block pants and matching racing jackets with padded elbows and geometric detailing, all sure to find favor with fans.
Iannone added new prints this season: a take on camouflage in royal blue, black and gray, using the brand’s Prancing Pony logo, and a more abstract print taken from computer imaging of speed tests done on the racing machines. They appeared on knitwear, dresses, jackets accessories.
Swarovski crystal accented sheer tops subtly emblazoned with the Ferraro logo to create evening looks for any gender, worn with elegant cargo pants or silver suits.
Ferrari this year has opened stores in Maranello, Milan and Rome, with more openings planned in the U.S. in the coming months including in Miami, Atlanta and Austin. The first collection was launched last June, and insiders say sales in China have been particularly robust. Stores open there late next year in Shanghai and Beijing.
DSQUARED2 GOES BOHEMIAN
Bohemian layered looks flooded the DSquared2 runway for next fall and winter, giving fancy to any Gen-Z’s desire as the designing Canadian twins Dean and Dan Caten cast their eyes on the next generation of luxury consumer.
The collection offers a host of entry points: from cropped sweaters to knit dresses; shearling booties to knee-high boots; sheepskin-lined vests to wool jackets; long tartan kilts left open to fuzzy trousers. Baubles fitting of any summer music festival finish the looks, along with backpacks, knit caps and water bottles.
“It’s a new energy. She’s young, she’s modern, she’s a Bohemian, free,’’ Dean Caten said. “It is texture and texture. It is not just about one thing anymore.”
QUIRA IS BORN
Designer Veronica Leoni’s worked alongside Jil Sander herself and Phoebe Philo at Celine on her way to launching her new label Quira last year.
Her vast experience is on display not only in the creations for her first winter collection, but also in her crystal-clear ambition: “I want to make the best black jacket you can find on the market,” she said.
Leoni will be taking on some big names for that title, and the goal belies her driving principal: to recreate an everyday wardrobe with hidden details that enchant. Her focus is style more than function. “Function makes garments generic. Style makes them special,” she said.
Leoni, 38, reinvents the 1990s sheath dress-jacket twinset combo with a plisse dress that falls into jagged hem, worn with a pleated cape, all in an elegant tan. A trench coat is stripped down to its bonded fabric, no lapels, and made reversible. And a black car coat has been reimagined with a fluted waist and bell sleeves, a more feminine version of itself.
She finishes the looks with platform hippie clogs and essential boots in shiny leather that ground the looks, along with a molded crossbody bag.