brands focus on their DNA

Milan wakes up slowly. After several seasons plagued by Covid-19, this autumn-winter 2022-2023, presented between February 22 and 28, revives the pre-pandemic dynamics. The Gucci and Bottega Veneta locomotives are back on the official calendar, 57 of the 67 fashion shows take place physically, American journalists and buyers are finally in place – only the Asian market is missing. The city is invaded by advertisements for national treasures, Fendi in bus shelters, Versace in XXL version on a tower under construction, Diesel covering a monumental scaffold in front of the eternal Duomo.

On the runway side, many homes — they need to value this return to normal — are playing it safe: Instead of cleaning up new aesthetics, they’re betting on what makes their reputation and supports their growth. This is the case, for example, with Prada, which has “looked at his past”. “It’s something Prada has always done, explains Raf Simons, co-artistic director with Miuccia Prada. We reiterate the revolutionary moments in the history of the home that helped us define our conception of beauty. They are not directly recreated, but reflect a familiar language. †

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A term that borrows his roomy pleated skirts from the bourgeois wardrobe, his broad-shouldered jackets from the men’s wardrobe, and beholds the military uniform with its belted leather jackets. Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons sprinkle these classic bases with an unusual fantasy, adding fuchsia feathers around the sleeves of a formal coat, mixing textures like layers on a skirt where anthracite wool coexists with transparent tulle embroidered with glitter flowers. In doing so, they are a reminder of the power of the Prada, rust-free aesthetics.

After a two-year hiatus, filled with video shows and a detour to Los Angeles to showcase the Fall 2022 pre-collection, Gucci returns to its Milan headquarters. The presence among the guests of Rihanna, whose pregnancy fascinates social networks, is the sounding board. The Barbadian star isn’t the only element of virality in this show where artistic director, Alessandro Michele, has sparked enthusiasm as usual with a new unexpected collaboration: after The North Face and Balenciaga, it’s Adidas’ turn.

“Jeans are leather, they are nubuck”

The sports brand has deployed its trefoil and its three stripes on little blue suits, a beige wool cape, ivory knit jogging, a flowing red dress with a dizzying neckline… The latter is also a faithful reproduction of an Adidas dress (in collaboration with designer Laura Whitcomb) worn by Madonna at the film’s premiere in June 1993 Sleepless nights in Seattle. A photo from this event served as inspiration for Alessandro Michele this season. “Whoever invented the three-stripe dress was the first to come up with the idea of ​​mixing spaghetti and tomato sauce! † makes the designer enthusiastic.


Anyway, if the merger between the Florentine luxury brand and the German equipment maker works, it’s because Alessandro Michele managed to build a strong vocabulary at Gucci, both rich in androgynous suits and lavish dresses, all of which come in an unlimited but precisely dosed range. color palette.

At Bottega Veneta, the excitement is remarkable. François-Henri Pinault, CEO of Kering, the parent company of the Italian brand, made the journey to see the first opus by Matthieu Blazy, appointed Artistic Director in November 2021, after the hasty departure of Englishman Daniel Lee. A man in the shadows for a long time – Blazy worked at Maison Margiela, Celine during the Phoebe Philo period, or even Calvin Klein with Raf Simons – the 37-year-old French-Belgian has offered a strong and modern collection, in which leather, a specialty of the house, throne in majesty.

Bottega Veneta.

The first pass, a simple white tank top accompanied by jeans and a braided leather shopping bag sets the tone: “It’s a trompe-l’oeil because the jeans are leather, it’s nubuck with very advanced printing techniques”, details of the maker. Effectively, the silhouettes reject a desirable wardrobe: cabanas with accentuated volumes as if blown by the wind, wide trousers and matching shirts, small split dresses or twisting leather skirts mixed with simple knit sweaters. The accessories – evening, day, travel bags… – are of course in a good position. “Bottega is a brand of bags, it evokes the idea of ​​movement, because with a bag you go somewhere! I wanted to extend this idea throughout the collection »explained Matthieu Blazy, visibly moved after the parade.

Models without music

At Versace, Donatella Versace Versace does diligently. His common thread? The corset, signature of the house if there is one, which we find in a suit jacket, slid under long dresses very close to the body, worn as a crop top under a bomber jacket or even mixed with a jacket set and a very mini skirt . Served by a booth of Generation Z idol models – Bella and Gigi Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski, Lila Grace Moss (Kate Moss daughter) – the collection lives up to the demands of supposedly sexy and confident allure.

Giorgio Armani.

Giorgio Armani likes to shake up his world with surprising announcements – in February 2020 and then in January 2022, he was the only one during Milan Fashion Week to cancel his show in light of the rise of Covid-19. This time, a few hours before his Emporio Armani fashion show on January 24, he announced that he would allocate 400 seats in the venue for his employees so they could follow the show. “The gesture is symbolic: a sign of recognition for the daily work and of gratitude for the investment during two years of pandemic”according to the eighty-year-old designer, who has no shortage of elegance.

No surprise from an aesthetic point of view: Emporio Armani favors “personal charm” rather than sexy, in a timeless wardrobe of velvet trouser suits, pastel chiffon tops embroidered with sequins, taffeta ball gowns. In the hands of the designer, even black patent leather thigh high boots look chic. For Giorgio Armani, his mainline, the designer, he chose to send his models down the catwalk without music “out of respect for those affected by the current tragedy”a sober reference to the Ukrainian crisis – here too, a wardrobe of eternal elegance, sober and chic, is articulated around long, wide skirts, printed jackets and velvet trousers decorated with sequins.

Emporio Armani.
Brunello Cucinelli.

The same sense of impeccable chic at Brunello Cucinelli, famous for the exceptional quality of its materials and its ability to create all shades of beige. This season, the collection fluctuates between a wardrobe of the day, enriched with Scandinavian motifs, designed in bouclé knits or with a fleece effect, which elegantly reinterprets the mountain style, and the more dressy wardrobe that gives a prominent place to laminated textures, embellished transparencies with embroidery descended luminous designs on flowing satin.

At Max Mara, the studio was inspired by the Dadaist artist Sophie Taeuber-Arp, in particular by her dolls, whose gaze he translates through ball volumes and sweaters with quilted sleeves as articulated arms. The brand’s undeniable talent lies in its mastery of the double-sided cashmere coat, an unbeatable classic available here in various lengths. For fashion brands, betting on certain values ​​seems to be the best solution in a world in perpetual turmoil.

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