Milan Fashion Week AW23: The best moments from Bottega Veneta, Gucci and more
Straight from Milan
As the third leg of the month-long catwalk calendar, Milan Fashion Week, comes to a close, we highlight some of our favourite shows, including the debut of Fendi Multi, Gucci’s clear marriage of two different eras and Prada’s modern take on bridal gowns.
Creative director: Matthieu Blazy
Venue: Via Orobia
Highlights of the collection: All eyes have been on Blazy since Daniel Lee stepped down to see how he will lead Veneta, and this season has proved that the label still has a lot of tricks under its sleeve. In the final instalment of the “Italia” trilogy, oversized accessories, trench coats galore, and a subdued shade of mint green dominated the catwalk. There’s also a clear emphasis on textiles, from the use of ostrich patterns to the fringe-like use of feathers, and burnt red alligator trench that lifts outerwear to new heights.
Key pieces from the line: While the Intrecciato woven leather is synonymous with its handbags, this time, it was manipulated into trench coats and slacks that were layered with various fabrics. In the accessories department, the Sardine bag was updated with Murano glass handles, while the model’s socks turned out to be knitted leather shoes. And, of course, the final look—Liu Wen in a white tank and jeans—sends a clear message that Bottega Veneta can still bring minimalism to its luxury ensembles.
Creative director: In-house creative team
Venue: Via Mecenate
Highlights of the collection: Despite De Sarno’s appointment as Gucci’s new Creative Director last month, the in-house design team took the reins yet again this season—adding new dimensions to the heritage brand. Taking cues from past Gucci collections, the ’90s slim tailoring of Tom Ford’s Gucci era and Michele’s eccentricity were present throughout the show. Suits are reimagined in wool or leather cuts with an exaggerated frame, puffy shoulders, lowered necklines, and even as long dresses. As kitten heels take over square sandals, Gucci’s Jackie bag appears with a softer build and is available in two-tone colours.
Key pieces from the line: There were traces of Michele on the faux fur ensembles dipped in vivid hues, and the raindrop-shaped embellishments adorning evening wear—shining brilliantly under the spotlight. The use of sheer fabrics or embellished lace on mini dresses and skirts lends a hint of sensuality. Meanwhile, casual trench coats, striped shirting, and baggy jeans are found in between everything to round out the collection.
Creative director: Maximilian Davis
Venue: Viale Eginardo 2
Highlights of the collection: Inspired by the allure of Hollywood, Davis’ take on minimalist glamour combines a monochromatic palette with accents of intense yellow for added drama. Hyper-feminine silhouettes blend with clear-cut modernity, as seen on ball skirts in optic white nylon and jackets with bat-wing sleeves. Models walked down the runway in single-breasted coats with asymmetrical buttons running down the top to accentuate the body’s curves.
Key pieces from the line: In an unexpected, eye-catching move, the trenches, maxi dress, and tracksuit are all tinged with a dash of the House’s signature crimson. The vintage stiletto returns, but this time modernised with an angular shape and knotted rope as the top ankle strap. Meanwhile, bag are stunning, particularly the one with the crimson handles and the sizeable underarm clutches.
Creative director: Kim Jones
Venue: Via Andrea Solari
Highlights of the collection: This season, Jones explores a woman’s grace with a hint of subtle chaos. Classic textiles and masculine tailoring are twisted into feminine forms while injecting utilitarian elements into the designs, as seen on boilersuits, aprons, and uniforms. The use of layered and lacquered laces in oxford shirts and slip-on dresses contrasts these styles. Not to be missed is the Fendi Multi, a brand-new handbag that is inspired by the House’s varied sensibility and nature.
Key pieces from the line: The asymmetrical and unbuttoned knitwear stole the show. Elsewhere, the open-shoulder vests paired with multi-length pleated kilts worn over straight-cut trousers and fitting pants suits create fascinating silhouettes and differences in textures. Additionally, the colour-blocked dresses with capes encapsulate the essence of a Fendi woman.
Creative director: Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons
Venue: Fondazione Prada’s Deposito
Highlights of the collection: In a setting that echoed their January menswear show, the power duo unveiled a collection that reimagined and rediscovered the idea of beauty. Models walked down the catwalk in uniforms transformed into long shirt dresses with trains and a tonne of pockets. Pastel-hued cigarette pants also ruled the runway and worn with ribbed tops and outerwear with multi-coloured inner collars.
Key pieces from the line: Bridal gowns are given a fresh take with different-length skirts, embellished with white flowers and paired with sweaters. These floral patterns likewise adorned printed dresses and kitten heels. On top of that, classic tailored outerwear is reshaped with cocooning volumes and padding safeguards borrowed from the male wardrobe.
Creative director: Giorgio Armani
Venue: Via Bergognone
Highlights of the collection: Models circled the theatre flashing smiles, appearing to be enjoying themselves as Armani intended when creating the collection. Soft tailoring of jackets and coats in various cuts and fabrics sets the mood before transitioning to evening attire. There’s an obvious dynamic between the masculine and feminine elements, manifested in the play of volumes and textures in a monochrome palette with hints of magenta and sequins.
Key pieces from the line: Velvet suits are always a great pick. However, the one with the looping black ribbon neck pieces that were worn over the shimmering blue and green velvet suits with silk shirts inside was the centrepiece of the show. A personal favourite has to be the sequined bottoms worn over two double-belted halter tops. Also, the long black dress with twisted shoulder straps and Chaplin-esque hats make the perfect look to wrap up the show.
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