Milan Fashion Week F/W 2016/17

Get ready for frivolous outfits with serious intent

The key collections and looks from Milan Fashion Week, which ran from February 24 until March 1, tell us that Fall/Winter 2016/17 will fascinate the senses with shimmering metallics, opulent embellishments, sumptuous velvets and exquisitely intricate lace. The message? Frivolous, but with serious intent.

When East meets West it’s always an aesthetic feast. “Queen of cashmere” Laura Biagiotti gave China the starring role in her collection: Kimono patterning, mandarin collars, cinnabar lacquer red, and sculpted silk mikado created a striking mix alongside crystallized sheer materials that floated 3D flowers. The looks were set off with butterfly eyewear. 

Things took a magical turn at Leitmotiv as woodland creatures cavorted with full-spectrum florals to mix glamour with fantasy in its ‘Into the Woods’ collection. Elsewhere, crystal-strewn noir ruffles raised the glam factor so that the meaning didn’t get lost in the fairytale. 

Always expressing women’s strength and individuality, Versace pumped up the energy— assisted by Karlie, Kendall and Gigi. The maison presented embellished athletic pieces designed for the in-control city woman that featured zips, bombers and all the body-con you’d expect. “Go faster” stripes, jagged patterns, sparkling neons, raw edges and killer metallic heels enhanced the dynamic effect. 

Fausto Puglisi also fused sportswear with high couture. “US college jock” mixed with “heritage cowgirl” was the defining style, with primary color blocks and fancy stitchwork telling the story, often with a wonderfully incongruous embroidered palm tree motif. This is a label with a strong sense of fun. 

Mexican label San Andrès Milano raised the season’s color content with a glorious palette of brights—lapis lazuli, electric blue, fuchsia, turquoise, camel, silver, gold, teal and vermilion. Black lace socks and the sheen of gold and silver jacquard, along with Swarovski bejeweled surfaces that echoed a kaleidoscope of oversize crystal hair jewelry and chandelier earrings, continued the tribute to feminine opulence. 

Hitting a more sober note, Blumarine made some subtle enhancements to classic tailoring, adding a hint of sparkle to a pocket here and there. The point was that even at your most formal, there’s always room for a little frivolity: Neo-gothic, black-lace maxi dresses were enlivened with bursts of glittering flowers or trimmed with fur, dotted with crystals, and accessorized with leopard print. 

Meanwhile, the Giorgio Armani runway was a hymn to extravagant mystery: Midnight black velvet was the star of the show, making an entrance on everything from pantsuits to bow ties sprinkled with crystals. Discreet touches of muted color and luxe detailing signaled its intensely seductive sophistication. But look closely at the off-kilter velvet collar—it tells us there’s a maestro at play…