Retailers Upbeat About New Propositions at Milan Fashion Week

MILAN — Retailers gave Milan Fashion Week’s spring collections a thumbs-up, as shows buzzed with new energy, strong statements, wearable yet highly embellished and masterfully created designs.

Eyes were on Sabato De Sarno’s debut collection at Gucci, and the designer did not disappoint retailers, who considered it a promising fresh start. Ditto for Peter Hawkings at Tom Ford. Prada was once again considered one of the best of the season, and The Attico’s first fashion show, with its daring designs, was also highlighted as an unexpected positive surprise.

“Milan was hitting a lot of reset buttons this week with multiple collections which were either courageously setting up new codes or were distilling clothing into its most essential forms, materials and uses,” said Linda Fargo, senior vice president of fashion at Bergdorf Goodman. “Fresh air seemed to literally blow in, with lighter, soothing palettes and airy sheer layering. Fashion gimmicks and provocation went on hiatus in favor of understatement and a more ‘at ease’ message… The showroom re-sees were more valuable than ever to appreciate the unique Italian fabrics, craftsmanship and detailing, which served well to elevate a more understated season.”

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Short shorts, pencil skirts, transparencies, tailored or fluid looks, fringes, crystal embellishments and embroideries and a focus on craft, as well as a range of strong accessories, were some of the main trends.

Jodi Kahn, vice president of luxury fashion at Neiman Marcus, said “the cohesive theme across the week was wearability, with a focus on respective house codes enhanced through development of fabric, silhouette and technique. While the attitude of easy dressing certainly resonates, we also appreciate it when designers use this opportunity to play, experiment and make us dream.”

Roopal Patel, senior vice president, fashion director at Saks, summed it up: “What a great moment of change this is for Italian fashion.”

Jodi Kahn, VP of luxury fashion at Neiman Marcus

Favorite collections: Prada provided some much-needed energy! The exploration of technique while focusing on clothes we all desire to wear proved extraordinarily dynamic. The rich layers of ideas, references and materiality felt original, modern, and quintessentially Prada. We were thrilled to see color at Versace! Their choice to revisit the iconic 1995 collection was a fun one filled with boxy jackets and short sets in soft pinks, blues and yellows. These new classics still had that irresistible Versace glamour, which will delight our customers next spring. 

Best presentation concept: Moschino made the clever decision to tap four of the most talented female stylists working today to create mini stories in their runway show. Each vignette energized the crowd in a different way, while staying true to the eccentric, fun-loving Moschino spirit. Tod’s, set at the Laboratori Scala Ansaldo, was a beautiful start to our day. The idea of craft was more about process and experimentation, with models walking amongst half-finished works of art made from different mediums. And of course, The Attico, the coolest girls in Milan and beyond, showed their first runway collection in the middle of the street with models strutting past guests who lounged on vintage sofas. 

Trendspotting: While there was still an abundance of neutrals in Milan, we were happy to see color folded into the mix. It is spring after all! The almost earthen palette was subdued but refreshing, especially pretty at Ferragamo. We loved the pops of sky blue and pistachio in accessories at Bottega Veneta, Fendi and Versace. The sense of lightness continues in both sheerness and artisanal details that creates movement such as fringe in various materiality or hand-placed feathers, as seen at Prada, Etro and Bottega Veneta. In tailoring, the shoulders extended to create a stronger silhouette, often paired with super short shorts, creating a very leggy look. In accessories, we saw lots of stamped and embossed leathers and flats as the go-to easy shoe. We particularly loved the woven techniques and whipstitching in handbags at Fendi and Etro.

Must-have item: The razor-sharp satin pumps at Prada were seen in impossible-to-choose-from colors like espresso, chartreuse and fuchsia. The slightly higher vamp creates a beautiful line on the leg, and the contrast between a sharp angular shape and soft supple fabrication is what makes Raf and Miuccia such a powerful design duo. 

Buying process: Our customers are seeking the latest and greatest, and they trust Neiman Marcus to consistently provide a highly curated product assortment season after season. Our talented merchant teams identify the best products direct from these runway shows and showroom appointments. We are always captivated by the possibilities that come from new talent at historic houses and seeing new iterations of classic house codes from the tentpole Italian brands. 

General comment on the season: We look forward to seeing how the new chapters at Gucci and Tom Ford continue to unfold. Star power came from surprise turns of Claudia Schiffer and Naomi Campbell on the runway at Versace and Dolce & Gabbana respectively — impeccably timed with the “Supermodel” docuseries release. 

Versace RTW Spring 2024

Versace RTW spring 2024

Giovanni Giannoni/WWD

Joseph Tang, fashion director at Holt Renfrew

Favorite collections: Sabato De Sarno’s debut collection for Gucci offered a renewed focus to the brand with a strong display of tailored classics, updated in a sophisticated Gucci way. Prada was a standout collection with a continued play on hard and soft silhouettes and textures. The emphasis on re-nylon in the handbags was a highlight. Maximilian Davis’ Ferragamo delivered a beautiful collection with a strong emphasis on tailoring and a clear focus on shoes and handbags. 

Best presentation concept: Walter Chiapponi’s final collection for Tod’s held at Laboratori Scala Ansaldo. The backdrop complemented the collection perfectly. 

Trendspotting: Mod minis seen in the form of super short miniskirts, shift dresses and shorts at Gucci, Tom Ford, Versace and Etro. The pencil skirt becomes the anchor of a woman’s wardrobe this fall seen at Fendi, Brunello Cucinelli, Gucci and Prada. Sheer dressing with a nod to boudoir and lingerie influences seen from Dolce & Gabbana, Prada and Tom Ford.  

Must-have item: The mythical figure clasp Prada re-nylon bag; oversized shirts from Etro and Jil Sander; ballet flats from Fendi; Tod’s slim leather belt bag; metallic skirt from Brunello Cucinelli; Loro Piana Japanese denim; Gucci Rosso Jackie bag.

Buying process: Overall we are energized by what we’ve seen in the market and continue to focus on perfectly outfitting our customers from head to toe. 

General comment on the season: It was a jam-packed schedule in Milan with new designer debuts and collections that immersed us into the environments of the brands. The quiet luxury theme was present at almost every collection, with designers paring back on ultra-whimsical and over-the-top designs. The collections we’ve seen offered pieces that customers will feel confident investing in for the spring season.

Rickie De Sole, women’s fashion director at Nordstrom

Favorite collections: Prada, Bottega Veneta, Tom Ford, Gucci, Brunello Cucinelli, Jil Sander.

Best presentation concept: The energy and immersive art of Prada and Bottega were transportive. From the creative invitations to the music to the sets — slime! Oceanic tilework — there was the feeling of being transported to an otherworldly place, enveloped in the moment. Gilda Ambrosio and Giorgia Tordini embraced the city by showing The Attico collection on the street. It was a way to appreciate Milan and see the clothes with a connection to how real women would wear them out and about.  

Trendspotting: Milan continues to embrace its sexier side. There was a lot of ‘90s meets ‘60s in attitude and allure most notably at Dolce & Gabbana with its sheer, lacy lingerie-inspired collection. Minimal silhouettes are elevated with bold embellishment details at Gucci, Jil Sander, Prada and Versace. The focus on the artisanal craftsmanship that is so key to Milan’s DNA, and there was plenty of master leather handwork on display at Bottega Veneta, Fendi and Tod’s. Power belts were the unexpected accessory of the week. The belt took center stage in looks at Ferragamo, Gucci, Tod’s, Tom Ford and Prada [with the] hand-cut metal fringed skirt overlay belt. A palette of pink and blue pastels, dusty tones, browns, grays, and an overall softness in color. There were a lot of interesting layering ideas offering new proportions and sparks individualism in styling and foundational dressing. And finally, short shorts were everywhere!

Must-have items: Gucci’s diamante encrusted Jackie bag, the new Prada belt bag and kitten heels, Tom Ford’s plush and glamorous velvet blazer and the workwear jacket styles at Max Mara and Prada.

General comment on the season: Milan was buzzing with the anticipated debuts of Sabato De Sarno and Peter Hawkings. Fresh starts and a trailhead moment left us feeling excited and emotionally invested in the journey. Both felt like solid foundational collections; we can’t wait to see how their expression flourishes. 

Prada RTW Spring 2024

Prada RTW spring 2024

Giovanni Giannoni/WWD

Simon Longland, director of buying at Harrods

Favorite collections: Matthieu Blazy did it again at Bottega this season, as he brilliantly showcased his exceptional talent as a designer and the craftsmanship of the house. Blazy has a unique vision where he stands apart: the collection feels utterly now but like every piece an investment to wear forever — this show was the standout for me this season, within a season of very strong collections! The varying contrasts we saw overall in Milan really came to life at Prada; a show formed of the spectrum between ethereal lightness and moody darkness. Prada brilliantly showcased a series of feather-light, fluttering dresses that appeared to float through down the runway juxtaposing a collection of almost entirely black. And finally, Peter Hawkings’ debut collection as creative director at Tom Ford, having spent 25 years working with Mr. Ford at Gucci and then with him at his namesake brand, was sharp, slinky and utterly glamorous. The collection was a celebration of Tom Ford’s most iconic design codes, from both his own house but also his reign at Gucci.

Best presentation concept: In an era of mega shows, the more intimate concepts such as Tom Ford, Jil Sander and The Attico really stand out and draw the focus on the collections themselves.

Trendspotting: Winter is coming! The collections we saw this week were not for high summer — a continuation of a development seen in the menswear season, a realization that these collections will deliver in February when much of the market is still in the depths of winter. Nearly every collection saw a large focus on outerwear, rich fabrics and dark color palette, which will be entirely attractive for our customers. Garments cut and constructed to give focus to bare arms, from simply jackets and outerwear without sleeves to items carefully constructed so that the arm comes out and the sleeve itself becomes a draped/cape detail on jackets and coats or tied in knitwear to give the illusion of two pieces. Monochromatic was key this week, with black and white absolutely dominating almost every collection. Red and green were the strongest color trends, in every hue, which we saw trickle through from the London designers. Tailoring was a crucial foundation to many collections, from sharp and neat to boxy and oversized. In the shows from Gucci to Prada, many jackets appeared styled with micro shorts, but in “real life” we will see this paired with tailored trousers, or an elegantly silhouetted skirt. And lastly, sheer, see-through, and barely silhouettes were everywhere this season, from Dolce & Gabbana’s iconic sheer dresses to The Attico’s daring designs. I expect this trend to continue to come through very strongly in the coming seasons, particularly in party dressing.

Must-have item: So many lust-worthy items on show this season, from the sherbet colored, fluttering chiffon Prada dress, complex to textured knitwear at Fendi, Jil Sander’s beautifully structured trenchcoat and of course Bottega’s huge, oversized woven basket!

General comment on the season: Every season, Milan is always a city of huge contrasts aesthetically and the week was one of the extremes, from ultra glamourous to extra sartorial and sleek — we saw something for every aesthetic. Overall, we saw some beautiful collections that our clients will love, with the strengths laying in our customer’s favor.

Linda Fargo, senior vice president of fashion at Bergdorf Goodman

Favorite collections: Prada sent out an iconic and ultimately memorable collection, already fused into our mind’s eye, in an equally remarkable space which let loose gooey glassy sheets of liquidity — a favorite presentation to match one of our favorite collections. Bottega Veneta continues on its meteoric path and to successfully distinguish itself in defining luxury through inimitable and signature craft married to a unique vision. The fantastical painted tiled map was another memorable set experience. Our up-close re-see at Gucci crystallized their new vision for us, and the foundational building blocks of an important brand reset came into focus. We loved the expanding range at Ferragamo, the modern purity at Jil Sander, the quieter approach and colors at Fendi, and the fresh styling and great energy at Cucinelli. 

Trendspotting: Barely there hues, like pale sky blue, wheat yellow, mint, ivory, stone and white, all supporting a more serene direction. Jolts of flame orange were the pop trend of the week. Transparency was used importantly across numerous collections to convey airiness versus sexiness. The length pendulum swung from fall’s maxi upwards towards much much shorter lengths, and could be seen in ’60s inspired mini shifts and ultimately, in micro-dose shorts, frequently peeking out from under the all-important jacket. Tailoring, especially jackets, an Italian forte, remain high on our “get” list, whether strong and broad like at Prada, trim and shaped — think Tom Ford — or oversize, unisex and collapsed at MM6. Slim skirts are feeling like a fresh option to pants. Fringe give collections movement. Must-have accessory trends include a range of flat and mid heels — ballerinas, mary janes, cool mid-heel mules, can’t-miss gold neck and ear bijoux, and the classic proportioned semi-structured shoulder strap bag. 

Must-have items: It’s a tossup for us in terms of a must-have item, either one of the floating “haze” dresses or the tuckable Big Bad Guy jacket shirt at Prada.

General comment on the season: In the rear view, it was a remarkable short week in Milan, with some brands performing at the pinnacle of their abilities, others resetting, and others offering an oasis in an antidote to a chaotic world perhaps. 

Backstage at Ferragamo RTW Spring 2024

Backstage at Ferragamo RTW spring 2024.

Vanni Bassetti /WWD

Arielle Siboni, women’s fashion director at Bloomingdale’s

Favorite collections Prada, Bottega Veneta, Ferragamo, Gucci

Best presentation concept: Moncler’s introduction to the Pharrell collaboration inside the courtyard of the Portrait Hotel.

Trendspotting: Milan cemented the short as the bottom of choice — we are seeing everything from micro shorts to Bermudas. Nineties’ minimalism inspired many of the collections we loved. There was a lot of strong tailoring, leather and fringe. Sheer dressing and oversized bags continue. Designers were loving shades of red and green. 

Must-have item: Gucci’s platform loafers, lace dresses and fringe coats. So many of Bottega’s bags — the leather beach bag was a personal favorite, Prada’s organza shift dresses & fringe belts.

General comment on the season: An energizing and exquisite season led by designer debuts. Italy’s new guard prevailed — Matthieu Blazy, Maximillian Davis, and Sabato De Sarno all showed exhilarating collections which were a much-needed breath of fresh air.  We’d be remiss not to mention Miuccia Prada & Raf Simons’ knockout show at the beginning of the week. Milan is back.

Tiffany Hsu, chief buying officer at Mytheresa

Favorite collections: My favorite collections were Prada, Gucci, Bottega Veneta and The Attico. New names on the radar are ATXV and Avavav.

Must-have item: Key trends out of Milan were micro mini shorts, ballet flats, maxi bags, ‘90s minimal looks and tassels and fringes.

General comment on the season: Milan was great! We saw big houses giving out big energy!

Roopal Patel, SVP, fashion director at Saks 

Favorite collections: The synergy and dialogue between Mrs. Prada and Raf Simons just get stronger every season. This collection pushed the creative boundaries and expression even more. The focus on craft and artisanal detail was found in every piece. The light and airy haze organza and gazar dresses, the abstract floral fringe pieces, the silver metal fringe belts and the delicate embroideries on ’20s Art Deco-inspired dresses. Each piece standing on its own was breathtaking! Matthieu Blazy for Bottega Veneta took us on a delightful journey around the world, with a lineup of intricate woven leathers, handcrafted fringe, woven raffia pom-pom dresses and stellar hand-woven accessories and shoes. He continues to explore the codes of the house and how to push them forward in a unique way. This collection is extraordinary! Sabato De Sarno’s debut collection for Gucci was sophisticated, polished and chic. We will see this collection on the streets in different cities around the world come spring — making way for a new generation of clients to experience Gucci. It was a fantastic start for this promising talent. Other favorites include Etro, Brunello Cucinelli and Giorgia Tordini and Gilda Ambrosio’s debut runway presentation for The Attico.

Best presentation concept: Matthieu Blazy’s set for Bottega Veneta with a hand-painted map with fish, birds, crabs, penguins and the sound of the ocean in the air was a welcome oasis to take us on a journey around the world. J.J. Martin‘s Pure Joy carnival for La Double J brought “pure joy” on a rainy day with a cast of real women who flew from all around the globe to be there. The Attico’s block party setup that lined the street of Via Guerrazzi with plush leather sofas felt fresh and cool for Giorgia Tordini and Gilda Ambrosio’s runway debut.

Trendspotting: Proportions have shifted in Milan with super short shorts paired back with broad shoulder jackets at Prada and Gucci. The focus on craft and technique was strong at Bottega Veneta and Prada with innovative techniques and textures. Fringe was everywhere in novel ways. Sheer and transparency, lingerie-inspired details. Wispy and light organza and gazar dresses. Elevated minimalism is the new essential at Jil Sander and Ferragamo. Crystal embroideries and embellishments. Denim separates. Red continues to be the accent color, with soft yellows and icy blues against white, black, gray and khaki neutrals. 

Must have items: Prada’s haze dress in icy blue paired with the red satin pump, the fringe silver metal belt, and the hand-carved mythical figure that is a replica from Mrs. Prada’s grandfather in 1913 — that is a collector’s item. A handcrafted piece from Bottega Veneta. The red fringe skirt and one of the Jackie bags from Gucci.

General comment on the season: This was one of the most exciting Milan fashion weeks in quite some time. So many new names, so many runway debuts and new creative visions unfolding at the major houses. It had us at the edge of our seats with anticipation. It is exciting to see such a shift with the new talents and creatives taking the reins of these mega establishments. Sabato De Sarno at Gucci, Matthieu Blazy at Bottega Veneta, Peter Hawkings at Tom Ford, Maximilian Davis at Ferragamo, Marco De Vincenzo at Etro. What a great moment of change this is for Italian fashion. 

Maud Pupato, buying director for luxury womenswear, accessories and footwear at Printemps

Favorite collections: Prada is definitely one of my favorite, unexpected dark poesy with key silhouettes like the belted tailoring and the liquid/fluid dresses. Ferragamo was one of the best shows of the week; minimalist, quiet and energetic through shapes, colors and attitude. Bottega Veneta was exquisite, every single look was right. Definitely one of the best editions of Matthieu Blazy.

Best presentation concept: Show formats and layouts were quite creative and artistic like Prada and Bottega Veneta, always expressing a concept and not just a collection. Sportmax was beautiful with the organic plants showcasing. And for sure the unexpected, The Attico on the street, via Guerrazzi, making the public part of the show.

Trendspotting: Lingerie, with micro shorts and/or panties are everywhere (Gucci, Blumarine, Versace, Prada…). Then Dolce & Gabbana’s corsetry-inspired show, closing with Naomi [Campbell], was a blast! Utility and workwear, as in the pocket details and revisited cargos, but the attitude has changed from the past season, from survivor to practicality (Prada, Max Mara). Feminine empowered office looks and attires, like the belted tailoring (Prada), hourglass jackets (Versace, Dolce & Gabbana) and pencil skirts (Tom Ford, Gucci). Fluidity and transparency were the main trends, enhanced by almost liquid and invisible fabrics (Prada), suggestive femininity (Ferragamo) and sensuality (Tom Ford). Leather in many textures — from the embossed crocodile motifs at Tom Ford, to the colorful renditions at Bottega Veneta and Ferragamo — is definitely the material to invest in, offering a very empowered silhouette.

Must-have item: A pencil skirt in embossed crocodile; an hourglass jacket; lady bag; statement shoes; anything pistachio; lingerie under a suit.

Budgets: Budgets are growing.

Buying process: Our buying process is definitely a teamwork. We build the vision together, based on shows and presentations. There is an important part dedicated to talents scouting as Printemps has an amazing awareness for new talents. Then when we have the main messages we want to express across trends, brands, concept, adjacencies; we do our buys based of performance analyses and intuition. Of course, as we build closer partnership with our brands, we always ask and listen to brands’ recommendations, and we find our way to stick to it while keeping our footprint.

General comment on the season: This Milan Fashion Week was really interesting and positive. The new artistic directors’ premieres aroused a lot of curiosity and excitement while the more established brands were on top of their game. Collections were absolutely stunning, unveiling new trends and showcasing very strong statements.

The Attico RTW Spring 2024

The Attico RTW spring 2024

Giovanni Giannoni/WWD

Kate Benson, buying director at Net-a-porter

Favorite collections: There were so many amazing collections to choose from this season — making it tough to whittle down, but I would say my favorites were Ferragamo, Bottega Veneta and the much-anticipated new era at Gucci. We were really excited about the Milan shows this season and came back feeling super inspired. 

Trendspotting: The mid ’90s was a recurrent theme in the Milan shows, though it has evolved from a minimalist aesthetic into a sexier, higher octane feel. From Tom Ford’s ’90s era at Gucci — to Versace which took direct inspiration from their fall 1995 collection and presented something that felt fresh and modern whilst staying very true to their brand DNA. I am also really gravitating to strong color this season. The green leather suit by Ferragamo is an absolute must-have, alongside the dusty pink velvet short suit at Tom Ford and the neon lace dress at Jil Sander. In terms of key trend items micro-minis will be everywhere for summer ’24 — in the form of skirts, shorts and dresses. And not forgetting the supersized bags. 

Must-have item: The Gucci platforms and Versace headbands will be the items everyone is adding to their wishlists next season. 

General comment on the season: I am always blown away by the energy of the shows at Milan Fashion Week, the entire city gets involved. Milan was a week of debuts this season with Sabato De Sarno for Gucci and Peter Hawkings for Tom Ford, so this felt even more evident than usual. 

April Hennig, chief merchant at Moda Operandi 

Favorite collections: Prada’s inimitable elegance and innovation took technique to a new level with a standout collection. The duo is unmatched in their harmonious juxtaposition of dreamy fluidity and austere punctuation. Matthieu Blazy’s clear and concise vision for Bottega Veneta made for an extraordinary collection that took us on a nomadic odyssey filled with dimension, craft and sublime creativity. Jil Sander’s artful collection delighted with intellectual experimentation on shapes. I also loved Ferragamo’s strong and sleek modern minimalism. The pared-back sexiness of Peter Hawkings’ debut for Tom Ford was welcomed with open arms — as was Sabato De Sarno’s new era for Gucci.  

Best presentation concept: The Attico’s residential street takeover, where guests sat on plush leather couches along the street while listening to a moody soundtrack as the sun went down. It was a perfectly fitting ambience for fashion darlings Gilda Ambrosio and Giorgia Tordini’s debut show — and undoubtedly the most comfortable one to attend! 

Trendspotting: Shorts in micro-mini lengths at Gucci and Prada — with longer, more fluid takes at Jil Sander. Skins and embossed leather at Gucci, Prada and Jil Sander. Knee-length pencil skirts at Gucci, Versace, Prada and Tom Ford. Airy transparencies at Prada and Alberta Ferretti. Safari neutrals at Jil Sander, Ferragamo, Versace and Max Mara. Fringes, capes, oversized bags, double-belt styling at both Prada and Jil Sander. Color makes its way back to footwear. Prada leads the charge with silk-satin flats and pointed-toe pumps in juicy citrus and shimmering jewel tones. Sorbet colors at Versace and Missoni. 

Must-have item: Prada’s liquid organza gazar dresses, utilitarian short sets, and jewelry-like fringed belts. Their mythological figure clutches. Platform loafers and low-slung, slouchy denim from Gucci. Checkerboard sorbet sets from Versace. Wooden, printed, and woven-top Sardine bags at Bottega. Jil Sander’s mix-media knit dresses. 

General comment on the season: Milan did not disappoint. There is a clear focus on artisanship and defining house codes. Craftsmanship is at the forefront, with investment pieces that will remain as wardrobe staples for years to come.  

Gucci RTW Spring 2024

Gucci RTW spring 2024

Giovanni Giannoni/WWD

Bosse Myhr, director of womenswear and menswear, Selfridges 

Favorite collections: The Prada collection was an amazing example of a big fashion brand being highly successful in executing a brilliant collection that had it all. Sharp coats and jackets, eveningwear that is new but equally elegant and advanced, making every look a winner and Prada’s collection a highlight in Milan.  

Best presentation format: Versace created a fashion moment with the return of Claudia Schiffer to the runway. Paired with a collection that was playful, full of life and color made for a standout show. Music, casting and styling made the Versace show a highlight. Moschino, celebrating their 40th anniversary, showcased four collections by four different stylists honoring the legacy of Franco Moschino. Katie Grand’s creations celebrating “loud luxury” with a superb dance performance. 

Trendspotting: It feels like glamour and dressing up is mandatory for an Italian show and rightly so. It elevates the looks, the collections and the way that fashion manifested itself this season. 

Must-have item: Versace’s colorful ‘60s A-line dress, Tom Ford cocktail dress, and the Bottega Veneta bags are all must-have items for us next season from the shows in Milan. 

General comment on the season: Milan Fashion Week really showed up this season with a great mix of big brands coming out with new exciting talents, collections that are forward thinking as well as leading in aesthetics and craftsmanship. The street fashion scene in Milan was also back in full force — in some instances shutting down entire streets. A sure sign that fashion is hugely popular in the city and catches the imagination of the people of the city. The fact that the torrential rain did not deter thousands of people to attend the great Diesel show was a sure sign of the passion for fashion and we are already excited for the next season for sure. 

Federica Montelli, head of fashion at Rinascente 

Favorite collections: Prada, Jil Sander, Bottega Veneta. A consistent showing from Ferragamo and Dolce & Gabbana, and interesting debuts by Peter Hawkings at Tom Ford, Simone Bellotti at Bally and The Attico showing for the first time on a runway. 

Best presentation concept: The best concept goes to Sunnei, involving the crowd to literally join the show by voting every single look presented. I also really enjoyed The Attico’s show, with the girls walking outside in the very Milanese Arco Della Pace neighborhood. 

Trendspotting: Given the widespread quiet luxury theme, the eye was on details: fringes (from Prada to Gucci), draping, transparencies on ready-to-wear like organza/mesh or plexi on shoes and bags. Sorbet colors accompanied a largely white and black palette; green is shaping up once again to be a hit, in shades ranging from acid chartreuse to a cold pastel. 

Must-have items: Mini A-line dresses, blazers with bold shoulders, Bermuda shorts, pencil skirts. Shoe-wise this is surely shaping up to be the ballerina flat season, followed by mules, slingbacks and moccasins of all sorts. My personal favorites: Prada’s mules and Gucci’s wedge moccasin. 

General comment on the season: The quiet luxury mood and an ode to tailoring carried on from previous seasons: in general designers focused on the purity of shapes. Everything was elegant and classy, meeting exactly customers’ expectations. However, with a few exceptions, this week could have used a bit more of a wow factor: what is fashion for, if not for dreaming? 

Liane Wiggins, head of womenswear at Matches

Best presentation concept: Jil Sander’s white sculptural ceiling installation. The Attico’s debut runway show in Via Guerrazzi; we sat on sofas whilst the residents from the street watched from the balconies above. The abstract map at Bottega Veneta, inspired by a ‘90s cornflakes packet.

Trendspotting: Hemlines continue to rise, from Prada to Gucci, Versace and Max Mara, whether it’s shorts layered with a shirt or tunic or mini lengths on skirts and dresses. High craftmanship and fringing at its best from Prada, Bottega Veneta, Gucci and Jil Sander. High shine and crystals from Prada, Jil Sander and The Attico. New tonal dressing but with a move towards slightly saturated palettes, the Max Mara pink, blue and khaki and soft Bordeaux from Bottega Veneta.

Must-have item: For the customers who have been craving luxury newness in handbags Bottega Veneta will be the collection to invest in — the off-white basket (look 1), the chain handle play on the Sardine (look 57) and the oversized XL tote (look 51) are all must-have handbags for the season. I also loved the gray off-the-shoulder sculpted wool suit from Armarium and Prada’s jacket with the built-in chiffon scarf.

General comment on the season: Some hotly anticipated new creative directors but the mood in Milan felt like most were getting established with the houses this first season rather than complete newness so there is definitely more to come. Tailoring is still a focus, but high craft and some high shine and shimmer started to really feature adding some surface texture into all of the real clothing feeling we have been seeing this season so far.

Backstage at Jil Sander RTW Spring 2024

Backstage at Jil Sander RTW Spring 2024

Vanni Bassetti/WWD

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