From Prada’s unfurling skirts to GCDS’ diamanté thongs, here’s everything that you missed from Milan’s surprisingly sexy SS22 shows
Three down, one to go. The SS22 shows in Milan came to a close last night, as Donatella and Kim Jones sent a Versace Fendi mash-up (snappily named… Fendace) down the catwalk. Next up is of course Paris, where the likes of Rick Owens, Miu Miu, Ottolinger, and Raf Simons are set to return to the runway IRL. Before all that, though, a quick rundown of everything you missed in Milano that you really need to see.
MM6 MAISON MARGIELA
Milan Fashion Week was nothing if not chaotic, meaning MM6 Maison Margiela’s latest show was a balm for the soul. Taking over a legendary café beloved by Milanese locals, the label invited guests to sit down for an aperitivo involving artichoke finger sandwiches, chocolate eggs, and (most importantly IMO) a much-needed cocktail. When it came to the clothes, this season the collective looked to surrealist artists André Breton, Leonora Carrington, and Claude Cahun, sending a succession of subversive looks that incorporated chequerboard motifs down the runway – alongside an asymmetric top that appeared to have been crafted using an unfurled chess board. Elsewhere, spidery, slashed knits were layered under signature oversized blazers, and floor-sweeping satin gowns were matched with chic, tricep-length opera gloves.
After 18 months of separation – and, for many, celibacy – Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons were seemingly intent on getting the Prada girl laid this season. With notes reading “seduction through reduction”, the dream designer duo debuted a stripped back collection imbued with subtle sensuality. From the front, satin pencil dresses appeared prim and proper, but as the models strut past, the back revealed a length of undone buttons suggesting they had been ripped apart in haste. Elsewhere, satin minis in shades of chartreuse and powder pink were finished with floor-length trains, jackets borrowed hook-and-eye fastenings from corsets and bustiers, and fine-knit sweaters featured built-in bra cups. The ‘Pradaness’ came through perhaps most in the outerwear, however, with biker jackets layered over nylon slips, and chunky collared cardigans dialling down – or perhaps up, depending on your standpoint – the sexiness of it all.
Oh to be Jil Sander’s uber-chic and impeccably put-together woman, mooching about town in her wide-shouldered blazers with a chic little bag tucked under her arm. This season offered more of the same subversive sophistication Luke and Lucie Meier have made their signature since joining the house, with louche bouclé trouser suits in shades of pale egg yolk and verdant green, heavy crocheted maxi and mini dresses that looked brilliantly like those beaded car seats popular in the 80s, and splashes of tiger print seen across silk shirts and swingy coats all on the line-up for SS22.
Sunnei’s SS22 show offered up a sensory overload, as guests entered a darkened tunnel, struggled to find their standing area thanks to white-on-white numbers marked on the floor, and were warned “DO NOT OPEN THE BAG” they were given on entering the cavernous space by a booming, unseen voice. Think 2001: A Space Odyssey meets 1984 and you’ve just about got the idea. As the show kicked off, the aforementioned booming voice encouraged attendees to put on the sunglasses-cum-goggles in the little sack, as a disconcerting blinding white light illuminated the catwalk. The collection itself drew inspiration from the rave scene, with blown-up denim, XXL parachute pants, shrunken graphic tees, and utilitarian vests among the offering, alongside oversized tent dresses, tactile velour sweatsuits, towering clompy wedges, and fringed, crossbody bags.
Eschewing IRL runways for another season was Guilano Calza, creative director of GCDS, who took viewers to a deserted, extraterrestrial island, where the sky burns red and bleeds into the ocean. With models dressed in vertiginous platform boots, diamanté-chained bikinis, and macramé beach dresses, it was like Tom Hanks in Castaway – if Hanks was an Instagram model. Spangled thong straps poked out of boyfriend jeans, knitted mini dresses came emblazoned with the GCDS logo, while crocheted daisy flowers (or were they fried eggs?) were dotted about the collection – all of which spoke to that cartoonish sexuality which Calza has made his staple. This season, the designer also tapped One Piece, the 1999 manga series, with its characters and motifs adorning his skin-baring staples.
Paolina Russo made her Milan Fashion Week debut this season, showcasing a fluorescent, hyperactive collection at concept store 10 Corso Como via holographic film – as directed by Ben Ditto with an accompanying lookbook shot by Aidan Zamiri. Once a taekwondo black belt, Russo was inspired by 80s sci-fi flicks, noting that SS22 was made up of clothing “you’d wear to battle in a movie.” As such, sporty blues and reds recall all the gaudy emblems of team uniforms, careering around the contours of a bodysuit in energetic lines, or on jersey tops, which had been strapped and strewn over the shoulders like a sweaty athlete leaving court.
This season, Moncler continued its creative cross-contamination, tapping (among others) Alyx, JW Anderson, and Craig Green, alongside newcomers Hyke and Dingyun Zhang for its Genius project. Much like Prada had done a few days prior, this show was coordinated between Milan and Shanghai, compered at either end by, erm, Alica Keys, and Olivia Song, who introduced each designer’s collection in front a live audience. There were, in effect, 11 digital shows in one, with Zhang profferring bright and bulbous puffers on snow-capped asteroids, to Hyke’s trademark tech-legant outerwear, and Alyx pushing for sexy, skimpy skiwear.
Designer Andrea Pompilio sought to capture the frenetic vibe of Tokyo for SS22, having been inspired by films like Lost in Translation, as well as his own time spent living in the Japanese capital. Presented via video, Onitsuka Tiger shot its band of models between the city’s futuristic bridge systems and seemingly-abandoned high streets, capturing all the noise and chaos through tailored nylon pieces, fashioned in electric blues and amberous oranges – like hazy neon lights. Pushing the brand’s sportswear DNA, Pompilio offered crisp nylon short suits and layered skirts. Tiger stripes took over mini dresses and low slung tracksuit-trousers, or were otherwise panelled into windbreakers and jogging bottoms – styled with socks and sandals, as if to reflect back the eclecticism of Tokyo street style.