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Highlights From Milan Autumn/Winter 2024

29 February 2024

Diesel, Prada, Moschino, Gucci, Marni, Bottega Veneta

An intense period of change preceded the Fall/Winter season in Milan: creative directors, new and old, chose to look back and honour the roots of their houses and the founders of their houses. Designers revived bygone styles and even evoked ancient techniques. Grand Sandles shares her day-by-day highlights.


If I were making a high-fashion reboot of Monster High (bear with me here), I would be dressing the character Clawdeen Wolf exclusively in Diesel. Milan Day One was off roaring with Diesel’s bigger-is-better silhouettes, eerily coloured contacts, subtle plaids giving way to sheer panelling, floral and leopard print scrapping, distressing, and of course, plenty of leather and denim. Glenn Martens gave a deft last hurrah to ultra-cropped jackets, sweatsuits, nineties sensibilities and neon (can you tell I’m praying indie sleaze goes away soon?)  What did Martens welcome in, then? A broadcast of 700 global Diesel fans, demystifying, and maybe, if I can go so far as to say democratising, the runway experience.


Prada’s Fall/Winter collection was sleek, feminine and professional. The models seemed like love-children of the coquette and office siren trends; they had grown up, rejected the captain of the football team and fallen in love with the bad motorbike boy. The collection was complete with leather varsity jackets and pencil skirts, fuzzy pilot hats and feathered pillboxes, and reconfigured workwear. It was a bizarre but beautiful amalgamation of eras and occupations, tied neatly with ribbon and bows—heroes of some looks while artfully sewn into others. Somehow, this milieu of vastly disparate influences came together and fit seamlessly within the narrative of a single show, one that, in true Miuccia Prada fashion, looked to the past to translate a sense of the future.


Three weeks and two days before the Fall Winter show, Adrian Appiolaza ascended to the role of creative director of Moschino after the sudden death of his predecessor, Davide Renne. Stepping in at such a delicate time, Appiolaza faced and rose to the challenge of navigating tragedy and the pressure of making a good first impression. Dedicated to Moschino’s founder, Franco Moschino, Appiolaza’s first collection revived the 1980s cloud print, the smiley faces serialised by Jeremy Scott, and ‘peace and love’ slogans. Structured outerwear met Moschino playfulness with stacks of hats, ruffles, giant polka dots and lingerie. Here, camp was translated into an everyday offering.


On day three, Sabato De Sarno presented his sophomore collection for Gucci alongside music produced by Mark Ronson, now back on DJ duties. The theme for the show seemed to be 'subtly rebellious luxury, infused with Gucci DNA’. This was epitomised by the house’s signature horsebit loafers turned platform heels. Building on the not-so-subtle creative rerouting he ushered in in Spring/Summer 2024, De Sarno’s Fall/Winter collection carried a sense of wearability as it focused on form and function. While he’s certainly gone about paring back the drama of the house’s previous creative direction, Gucci’s fervent craftsmanship and hints of fantasy still remain.


Virginia Woolf once said, “If you find yourself in a paper cave, arrive undressed.” Taking this sentiment and flipping it on its head, Francesco Risso staged Marni’s Fall/Winter runway in a literal papier-mâché cavern, presenting a voluminous and textural suite of looks. When Risso’s guests entered, they were asked to free themselves of influence and pretension before witnessing the structured, simple, black tailoring give way to brown leather A-line dresses and form-fitting wool coats. Gradually, hair-covered garments and animal prints broke through. Jacquard-cum-Van Goghbrush strokes glittered against the icy white walls, distorting the models’ bodies into completely original, unusual shapes. In the absence of surrounding visual influences, Risso achieved something dreamily innate and instinctual.


“Reduction of the collection to the maximum function of clothes” feels like an oxymoron, but it rings true for the Bottega Veneta Fall/Winter collection. House signatures were strong, including the Intrecciato leather featured in bags and shoes. In a joyous nod to the DNA of the label, the classic Sardine bag was playfully reimagined in the shape of a fish. The collars were a notable feature: turtlenecks were styled under open and flipped-up button-down shirts; double-layered sweaters connected at the collar; and leather ties flipped intentionally over shoulders. Feathered textures, amplified proportions and pleats vaulted the casual into the avant-garde.

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SEE ISSUE #06 HERE. The theme for this issue, Revelations, delves into the unfiltered aspects of life. It’s an appreciation and exploration of raw beauty, where authenticity reigns supreme; the unconventional is not just accepted but celebrated. In a world of manufactured perfection, this issue chooses to validate our quirks and idiosyncrasies. After all, they are what make us inimitable.

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