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Insider Access: Robbie Spencer's Milan Highlights

Industrial pop, flowers and emotion in Italy...

Robbie Spencer, Dazed & Confused's Senior Fashion Editor, takes us through his A/W12 highlights from the Italian capital...

Dazed Digital: Who were your favourite models?
Robbie Spencer: Laura Kampman, Kati Nescher and Marte Mei van Haaster. I like Kolfinna Kristófersdóttir a lot too.

DD: And did you have a favourite look?
Robbie Spencer: It's so hard to choose one. I really liked several looks at Dolce & Gabbana, including the floral knits.

DD: What about a favourite accessory?
Robbie Spencer:
The floral porcelain, lace chokers and earrings in the Dolce & Gabbana show. And the velvet shoes. I also loved the leather flower appliqué shoes at Prada.

A lot of the Prada collection was great, featuring interesting layered combinations, the use of embellishment and print on print, it had quite a 1970s martial arts feel to it, which seemed more versatile than usual and less thematic than last seasons' 1950s swimsuit collection.

DD: What was the best all-round show experience?
Robbie Spencer: Jil Sander. It felt like such a privilege to be a part of this moment, Raf Simons' final show for the brand, it was a beautiful collection really proving how much his confidence has developed in his womenswear collections over the past few seasons. The encased flowers that we saw wilting a few days later were a beautiful symbol representing how transient fashion is and how much emotion goes in to producing a collection and putting on a show. Nothing proved that more than Raf's emotional outing at the end – he was so visibly overwhelmed about the departure from the brand and overcome by the support and belief the industry has in him.

The whole room stood up and applauded and crowded closer and closer around the catwalk entrance in anticipation for another bow from him, it was a very special moment. In an industry which is often led by protocol and obligations, it was so extraordinary be amongst a room full of people so clearly moved. It really struck a chord to see a designer whose work means everything to him break down with emotion like that.

As with every season the Prada show is an experience – no other show gives you that feel of anticipation and excitement, everything is so considered and the space has so much impact. It constantly changes, always surprising with a new way of interpreting fashion.

On another note Roberto Cavalli I also thought was very exciting: a catwalk embedded with black, yellow and white roses, an amazing soundtrack featuring industrial versions of Madonna's 'Frozen' followed by Kylie Minogue's 'Confide in Me' then Madonna's 'Rain'. And amazing casting featuring Lily Donaldson, Arizona Muse, Iris Strubegger, Natasha Poly and Naomi Campbell closing the show! The collection featured interesting volumous proportions and lots of textures, fur metallics, embellishments.

DD: You mentioned the soundtrack at Cavalli. Were there any other musical highlights?
Robbie Spencer: I really liked Salvatore Ferragamo's use of Kate Bush. Jil Sander had Mazzy Star's 'Fade Into You', Sonic Youth's version of The Carpenter's 'Superstar' and one of Raf's signature show songs, Smashing Pumpkins' 'Tonight, Tonight', a song he used in his first ever show for his own line and in his recent 15 year anniversary show.

Sometimes I think some designers are far too pretentious with their show music, I like show music that speaks emotionally, something you relate to or are familiar with. I think it helps connect the viewer to the vision of the collection and show, and when a soundtrack with familiar elements is done in a clever way and relates to the collection itself it can really be uplifting and give the whole collection another dimension. That's why Cavalli was great. Prada, Miu Miu and Maison Martin Margiela always do this so well too, taking elements of popular songs and mangling them up and re-interpreting. You know the songs and connect but you experience in a different way.

DD: And your favourite moment overall?
Robbie Spencer:
Raf Simons' emotional bow was a very special moment to witness. Dolce & Gabbana's epic finale of 70 girls all in black tulle gold-embellished ensembles was really impressive too.