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MFW AW22 Milan Fashion Week
Illustration by Jethro Nepomuceno

Milan Fashion Week, these were your best bits

From Blumarine’s Y2K wet dream to Glenn Martens’ fashion hat-trick, this is your one-stop shop for the latest AW22 happenings

Two down, two to go – people, we’re at the halfway point! With New York a done deal and London Fashion Week blown out of town by Storm Franklin (Eunice who?), the fash pack has descended on Milano like a swarm of preening, designer-clad locusts for part three of the AW22 shows. Coming right up across the course of the next five days are shows from the Italian scene’s biggest players, including Versace, Fendi, and Prada c/o Raf and Mrs. P. Moschino is back on the schedule, so suspect some campy fun from Jeremy Scott, Glenn Martens’ finally gets his Diesel catwalk debut, and Blumarine will likely be serving up its special blend of Y2K, Euphoria-ready, glitter-strewn glam. As ever, we’ve got you covered with the latest happenings from the runway right here – and make sure to follow @dazedfashion for more breaking news.


If AW22 belonged to one designer and one designer only, surely it would have to be Glenn Martens. Not content with putting out a Y/Project collection that will surely go down in fashion lore, or even adding a seminal turn at the helm of Jean Paul Gaultier, where he debuted a heart-stoppingly beautiful guest couture offering, on the first day of Milan Fashion Week, the brilliant Belgian finally got the chance to take his vision of 90s denim stalwart Diesel to the runway. What did that entail? In a cavernous space dotted with huge, almost unnerving sculptures of ass-up, face-down, kneeling models that brought to mind Niki de Saint Phalle’s subversive works, Martens offered up all manner of twisted denim – from huge, hulking, pieced-together trenches to hacked-to-bits mini skirts, to classic jeans subverted through wiggly, wobbly seams and the addition of various adjustable zips and fastenings. Elsewhere, distressed hoodies bearing big, bolshy logos and curve-hugging moto jackets were matched with the kind of leather skirts your dad would insist was a belt – some studded with crystals or otherwise embossed with Diesel’s recognisable ‘D’ emblem – and more massive coats sliced and shredded in grotesquely garish shades of acid green, pink, and orange. Given he’s kept us so well fed this season, we hope Martens has a couple of weeks in the Maldives or somewhere similarly gorgeous booked post-AW22 – with three such strong collections under his belt, we can’t think of anyone in fashion who deserves a pina colada in the sun more.


After a few seasons spent keeping a low profile, Ms. Bella Hadid was back on the runway, as she opened the latest chapter of Kim JonesFendi odyssey – slinking through the show venue in a light-as-air peachy-pink chiffon slip, a bookish pair of glasses, and something that looked suspiciously like a fuzzy shrug (a 00s relic I’m surprised it’s taken this long to return, tbh). With the rest of Fendi’s model cohort wearing similarly sheer looks – from frilled chiffon trousers and tanks, to granny-pant flashing pencil skirts – substance came via hip-length leather trenches with cinched waists and tailored bustiers layered over neat shirts or otherwise under prim, boxy jackets. The inspiration for this season, Jones explained, came when Delfina Delettrez Fendi – daughter of Silvia – turned up to work in a shirt from the house’s 1986 collection, which in turn was referenced by Karl Lagerfeld back in the year 2000. Unsurprisingly, given the unfailing fervour for anything from this era, the whole thing felt very now, dragged further into the present day by various accoutrements littered throughout – from AirPod cases strung from belt-loops, to new, logo-emblazoned takes on everyone’s fave It-bag, the Baguette. 


Earlier this year Sunnei released a line of hulking, Murano glass sex toys and for AW22, the label leaned further into irreverance, forcing its audience members to stand on metal benches before a stark white buildng. It could have felt so punitive if it wasn’t for the bevy of models which came pounding down the pavement, running like that Miu Miu set from publication to publication. Though it was hard to catch a glimpse of the outfits, designers Simone Rizzo and Loris Messina encouraged guests to view the collection in slow motion through their iPhones – a comment on what everyone already does, anyway. Their approach to clothing was just as off-kilter, with balaclava-capes, neoprene tailoring, colour-blocked compression tops, and cloaking outerwear crafted with sloping, curvilinear zips. There was tons of weird, tactile knitwear, too, which looked as though it had been forged from a microfibre cleaning mitt or perhaps a tendrilous coral bed.


As Russia invaded Ukraine, Jeremy Scott transformed models into grandfather clocks, rococo dressers, picture frames, Persian rugs, and gilded birdcages. It just so happened that Moschino – and Milan Fashion Week in general – coincided with a declaration of war, which couldn’t have felt more dissonant. How on earth will designers react to international conflict? Should they? Can they? After all, the power of brands like Moschino has always lied in their transportive potential, in their humour and imagination. For AW22, this came by way of candelabra fascinators, cuckoo clock shoulders, silver tray bustiers, and harp corsetry, as Scott trod lightly alongside the news of the day. Fashion’s role in a crisis is already being scrutinised but Moschino is evidence that perhaps the only thing it really can be is a balm – complete with cutlery buttons, toilet flush handbags, armoir-hipped LBDs, Chinese Coromandel slips, ice bucket clutches, and an astronaut designer.


Between Matthieu Blazy’s debut collection at Bottega Veneta, Ambush, Sunnei, and Jil Sander, the dominant texture this season is deep and tentacular, with blades of fabric swishing from the surface of a garment like deep sea grass. At Jil Sander, shaggy knitwear was met with fuzzy mohair coats, macramé caps, guipure lace column dresses, and creamy bouclé two pieces. It lent a certain surface appeal to Lucie and Luke Meier’s grown-up elegance, which called out for the touch while maintaining that same froideur which makes their cabal of customers so alluring. Had it not been for all the sculptured, hourglass silhouettes, off-beat neutrals, and uber-rich gallerist capes, AW22 could have veered a little twee, with all the flippy, 60s-style minidresses and flat, oblong bows which were tacked onto nipped-in waists and pointed collars. Perhaps that’s sacrilegious, though, given that the Jil Sander woman could probably eviscerate a 2014 Zooey Deschanel with one single glance.


At the close of Versace’s AW22 show, the walls began to recede into the ceiling, revealing Bella, Gigi, Precious, Anok, and Adut stood in a blaze of strobe lights, illuminated like some divine pantheon in skintight latex, sinuous LBDs, and hot pink, houndstooth mini skirts. It’s surprising that it took this long for Donatella to procure a corset collection – a look that feels as inherently Versace as metal mesh or safety pins – but this season was just that. Almost every outfit featured some iteration of the style, boned and covering the torso like a siren's shell. There were flesh-toned numbers worn like bustiers beneath square blazers, some were embedded in dresses, accentuating the season’s broadened shoulders, while others were built, quite inventively, into puffer jackets. Low slung denim, boyish outerwear, and dark, moody slashes of kohl presented a contemporary take on power dressing for a collection that felt like “an elastic band pulled tight and about to snap back with a build-up of energy,“ as Donatella herself put it.


In the bowels of a darkened warehouse, somewhere on the outskirts of Milan, hundreds of fashionistas were forced to stand in a man-made forest. With little fanfare, models began to trundle through the crowd, elbowing past the front row as they clambered over mossy boulders and gloomy, grassy knolls. If last season saw Francesco Risso dress his audience in custom Marni, then AW22 represented another blow to runway norms. The designer’s ragtag band of handicraft revellers made their way around the venue by torchlight, illuminating full-skirted silk dresses that looked as though they had been accidentally splashed with dye, bobo-patchworked jumpers, long-lined wool crombies, shredded bustiers, and mad-hatter suiting, all frayed and moth-eaten at the hems. Risso took to the “runway” for the second time this season, too – the first being his cameo with Collina Strada – in what felt like a grounding of fashion’s God-like designer trope, the sleeves of his raggedy mohair sweater trailing in the debris behind him.


As guests arrived at Serhat Isik and Benjamin Huseby’s Trussardi debut, so too did a throng of protestors, who had congregated outside the venue to demonstrate against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Fashion, for Isik and Huseby, has always been in concert with sociopolitical quandaries, having used their brand, GmbH, to speak on Palestine, immigration, race, and religion since its inception in 2016. Naturally, there was a whiff of that Berlin label within their new vision of Trussardi, which emerged via revenge-dress necklines, bulwark-shouldered and body-conscious tailoring, squared-off shoes, and coat-gown hybrids. But for their inaugural offering, they also travelled back through Trussardi’s heritage, twisting Italian staples, like down jackets, by slashing them at the navel. The designers proposed a look that was at once austere and sensual, crafted in (almost always) black as to emphasise their daring approach to silhouette. For AW22, consider nimble-waisted and floor-skimming monastic coats, 3D-pocketed cigarette pants, saucy, utilitarian minidresses, and shearling jackets, redolent of a bodybuilder’s torso.


Guests at Cormio’s first ever runway sat through a live rendition of “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”, with the model choralists squeezed into a bevy of shrunken cardigans, plaid skirts, crocheted dresses, childlike tees, and boy scout ties. Did Euphoria’s Lexi produce the show? Because it practically huffed with angst and pent-up hormones – from the hefty buckles on purple, low-rise jeans, down to the devilish, Soo Catwoman cowlicks, and cleavage-baring, mesh inserts. Though it alluded to sex, Cormio is endearing more than it is evocative, with clashing colourways, handrawn motifs, and homespun knitwear forming the building blocks of a bashful and refreshingly funny little universe. Milanese labels have long lent into the gaudy but there now seems a new wave of designers rejecting the full-throttle glamour of their forefathers, refusing to take fashion seriously.


Guiliano Calza showed a darker, though no less hyperactive, side to GCDS this season. Drawing inspiration from Dracula and Wolford tights alike, the designer sent out creepy, head-to-toe body stockings, overblown vinyl gowns, nude illusion string dresses, and looming, marabou-feather veils. Models were either completely swallowed in bristling fronds – like enormous, hot pink Komondor dogs – or barely covered in flimsy knitted dresses, suggestively laddered and frayed. The collection was a smorgasbord of different ideas, presenting Hello Kitty balaclavas and satin utatali-tailoring, court jester shirting and nipple-brandishing LBDs (as worn by Euphoria’s Chloe Cherry). But perhaps it was all the better for it, skewing narrative for turbo-charged randomness.


Onitsuka Tiger’s first outing at Milan Fashion Week saw its designer Andrea Pompilio rescind all the bolshy colourways, graphic lines, and brash prints synonymous with sportswear, making way for an entirely black offering indebted to Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto, as the show notes explain. Titled Shadow, the collection felt appropriately emo, all ruffle dresses and layered skirts, boxy tees, bermuda shorts, and moody balaclavas. Pleated skirts were worn over baggy tracksuit bottoms, sleeveless knitwear distended into raw-hemmed capes, and t-shirts grazed the knees, creating a silhouette that felt like it could have suddenly, and without warning, melted into the ground.


Over the course of the past few months we’ve been told to brace ourselves for the ongoing Y2K redux, an Indie Sleaze comeback, the return of Twee, and now… Boho? At DSquared2’s AW22 show there was more than a whiff of 00s Sienna Miller, Kate Moss, and the Olsen twins as Dean and Dan Caten presented a collection indebted to spiritual travellers and nomadic souls with Wanderlust tattoos. Delicate, embroidered skirts were worn over light wash denim, blankets were worn as coats, sequined amulets dangled at from the neck, as disc belts were worn over a-line hippy skirts. The mood wasn’t quite as prissy as it was in 2003, though, it felt reckless, chaotic, and a bit all over the place, with pieces piled into a multi-layered, multi-patterned, multi-embellished collage.


While there was no sign of Machine Gun Kelly hunched over a keyboard, or whipping his jacket off to hand to front row beau Megan Fox this season, the musician’s spectre loomed large over Dolce & Gabbana's AW22 show through its bolshy graphics and unmistakable soundtrack. Coming down the runway was a vibrant mish-mash of eclectic influences, as the Italian label jumped through the decades – gold MC Hammer-style harem pants matched with cut-off cropped tees screamed 1993, while slinky, sparkly minis matched with baby handbags and towering platforms tapped into the turn of the millennium. Also on show were huge, hulking faux fur coats that wholly enveloped the models, as well as a new take on the trouser which rendered a classic style asymmetric and one-legged.