Well, that’s a wrap for Milan, and Paris is already off to a good start. It’s been a jam-packed week, so in case you missed out on any of the action, we’ve rounded up the top ten moments of Milan SS16 below.
Alessandro Michele is a man on a mission to redefine Gucci. For his second season as creative director, the designer mixed Eastern influences with his romantic, gender-fluid designs. “My idea of masculinity is beauty,” Michele explained backstage, as his gang of boys and girls took to the catwalk. “If you want to be beauty you can be beauty how you want; it doesn’t mean that you are not a man or woman.”
Sia showed up for a surprise performance at the Calvin Klein after party, donning her trademark blonde wig. Unlike her appearance on US talk show Ellen, the Australian signer-turned-performance artist found herself front and centre stage – even offering a glimpse of her actual face, whilst performing the hits “Chandelier” and “Big Girls Cry”.
For a show rife with political activism – headed by the doyenne of fashion, Vivienne Westwood – a tote emblazoned with a pair of bare breasts hardly comes as a shock. Instead, it was the appearance of Walt Junior (AKA RJ Mitte), who sported the bag around his neck which caught spectators off guard. The Breaking Bad star – who like his character, has mild cerebral palsy – made his runway debut walking for the punk pioneer, and quickly became an overnight fashion sensation.
In an attempt to satirise the blatant self-advertising so commonplace in today’s society, Miuccia presented a collection rich with conspicuous symbols that on face-value, played up to our over branded desires. Filled with rabbits, rockets, cars, arrows and eyes – Mrs Prada cryptically explored the concept of post-modesty, adeptly mocking our current obsession with the need “to impress.”
ICEBERG CHANNELS ZABRISKIE POINT
The stark, rocky landscapes of California’s Death Valley were reimagined this season as Iceberg drew its inspiration from 70s cult classic, Zabriskie Point. The film, which caused controversy at the time of its release, invigorated the brand’s SS16 collection with warm, desert tones and a hint of 70s rebellion. While the distorted patterns and textiles mirrored the dusty mountains, the tousled manes of Iceberg’s men were reminiscent of that infamous mass orgy scene in the sand.
Crushing the perception that menswear is the calm before the womenswear storm, Philipp Plein sent sparks flying with his SS16 show – literally. Opening with a high speed, gilded car chase, Plein showcased his gang of impudent punks as rapper Tyga performed “Rack City”. The models stomped along a runway-turned-car junkyard alongside burning BMWs, laden in leather and lost in a sea of studs. Never one to miss out on the action, Plein closed the show by hitching a ride on the back of a bike, riding through a shower of golden fireworks, as you do. “The only way to express your collection, your mood, is to sell a dream, to sell an emotion,” Plein said backstage.
“No man needs nothing” – an infamous quote from Lawrence of Arabia and the aphorism for Versace’s SS16 collection. This season saw Donatella take her men on a voyage of discovery: “I envisaged my men coming out of tents in the desert,” she said, and that's exactly what they did. Crafted from oversized Versace silk scarves, a billowing tent provided the idyllic venue – sheltering the men from the desert sun. Tie-dye camouflage and fez-esque baseball caps gave the collection a distinct world traveller vibe as the designer drew attention to the fact that “we live in a global world.”
“It’s something to appreciate; they are appreciating our culture,” said Korean-born designer Kang Dong Jun of Asian influences cropping up on the runways. He sartorially creates a dialogue between East and West with his label D.Gnak, and this idea of blending cultural elements was big for SS16, which saw Emporio Armani manifest an “Eastern feel with Western tastes” and Neil Barrett make waves with Palestinian checks and Japanese denim.
SS16 saw Massimo Giorgetti call upon a band whose posters covered our bedroom walls and whose songs defined our teenage years. Following last season’s ode to the Beastie Boys, this time around it was Brit-pop heroes Blur that took over the show. Lyrics from some of their most iconic songs replaced the traditional show notes – with a mammoth soundtrack to match featuring such favourites as “The Universal” and “Tender”.