Milan Fashion Week closed with the Armani show on Sunday afternoon, the finale of five days of catwalk action that gave us some surprisingly wearable looks.
Here are the 10 style takeaways you could easily adopt now. You may even have some of them in your wardrobe already…
Flats are in
There is a first time for everything. We’re now a decade into the you-can-wear-flat-shoes-anywhere movement, but this season they were given a seal of approval from the unlikeliest of places: Versace, a fashion house synonymous with vertiginous heels, opened for the first time with a look that was styled with flats, as Kendall Jenner strode the harlequin-patterned catwalk in silver Mary-Janes and a prim 1960s shift dress. Dolce & Gabbana, another brand better known for its sexy, elevating footwear, focussed on ultra-flat, pointed-toe, over-the-knee boots. Other labels, such as Jimmy Choo and Gianvito Rossi (one of the Princess of Wales’s go-to labels for stilettos), had as many flats in their collections as heels. Comfy shoes are here to stay.
The new rules? There are no rules
It’s all very well fashion editors critiquing clothing, but what about when they are given free rein to design a collection? This is what happened at Moschino’s show. The brand is yet to announce its new creative director, so instead enlisted four stylists to create four mini collections. From Katie Grand’s “Loud Luxury” sportswear (modelled by dancers performing a routine masterminded by Wayne McGregor) to Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele’s elegant casualwear dressed up with giant crystal jewels, it was much more fun than you might expect.
I especially loved Vogue contributing fashion editor Gabriella Karefa-Johnson’s joyfully eclectic mix of crocheted cardigans, double denim and tie-dye. “It was all about the joy of getting dressed and being free to have fun with what you put on your body,” Karefa-Johnson said after the show. “I wanted to stay true to Franco Moschino’s legacy of being rebellious against trends… there are no rules here.”
The velvet suit is here to stay
Tom Ford may have left his eponymous label, but his influence was still all over the brand’s first catwalk show under new creative director Peter Hawkings. Take the velvet suit, a style that Ford made famous in 1996 when he showed a red version on the Gucci catwalk, which was then worn by Gwyneth Paltrow. Twenty-five years later, in 2021, the Goop founder wore an updated take on the look. Cue a huge festive fashion trend that has stayed strong for the past two years.
If you have already invested, you’ll be delighted to hear that Hawking’s debut zoned in on velvet tailoring again, ensuring the look will stick around for some time yet. On the Tom Ford catwalk, the velvet suits came in teal, dusky pink and violet versions – true modern classics.
Everyone needs a joyful dress
JJ Martin invited attendees at her presentation to “embrace their inner child” and hop onto a carousel. If you’re short on fairground rides, then an uplifting frock is an excellent way to infuse your day with happiness. Martin’s are the epitome of joyful with their vibrant prints and bold colours. For a more muted but equally happy-making effect, see Philosophy by Lorenzo Serafini’s lovely wafty sundresses in crisp cottons and interesting neutrals.
Camel is the key to Milanese chic
If you had to choose a colour that sums up Milanese style, it would be camel. Or, in fact, any shade between cappuccino foam and toffee gelato. It’s hardly surprising that the Italians would go for something grown-up and universally flattering. The downside is that it shows the dirt most dreadfully – but that’s OK, because in Milan, everyone’s pristine. Usually, Max Mara virtually owns the colour, but this season, Fendi, Tod’s, Brunello Cucinelli, Herno and Ferragamo all got in on the act, too, and proved that it’s an instant shortcut to well-groomed sophistication.
Get a grown-up LBD – that you can wear with trainers
Nothing is easier to wear than a little black dress – that hardy perennial of every wardrobe – and this fashion week came up with an array of options. There’s no need to go bottom-skimmingly short and paired with trainers, as at Gucci, unless you really want to. Though if you can make it work for you, do. Bottega Veneta’s inventive, ideas-filled show offered a beautifully simple yet glamorous off-the-shoulder option that nodded to Sargent’s scandalous Madame X. At Ferragamo, it was strapless and sparkly. At Armani, simple and floaty. Nothing is easier to put on, or carry off.
The ultimate glamour is gossamer-light
Prada really ruled the runway with this trend. Its simple, knee-length shift came with a cobweb-fine overdress that looked like it would blow away in a breeze. Sheer and floaty fabrics will bring a springlike freshness to next season. You can take your pick from Prada’s 1960s-style simplicity, or Emporio Armani’s sporty, functional take. For ultimate glamour, and if the occasion deserves it, look to Giorgio Armani’s embellished evening cape for the sparkliest option.
Go big with your belt
A flattering, waist-defining wide belt made its appearance on a huge number of the Milanese catwalks. At Tod’s, it came with added practicality in the form of popper-fastened pockets and mini metal clips to carry your gloves and keys. The Prada version was hung with silver tassels and became practically a second skirt. At Ferragamo, it just sat on the hips and looked sexy. Whatever, the message is clear: if you buy only one new-season accessory for spring, make it a statement belt.
Put on a power prom skirt
Yes, there were bottom-skimming minis everywhere, but for those of us happy to leave the bum-cheek flashing to Kylie Jenner, there were other options. Hitchcockian pencils appeared in plenty of collections, but it was the fuller, prettier prom skirts that really caught my eye.
Loro Piana’s cherry-blossom-print skirt was an ode to Japan, the country that provided the starting point for its ultra-polished collection, while Bottega Veneta’s came with a tasselled hemline and was so wide that you might have to move sideways through doors.
Embrace the ladylike blouse
A silky, feminine blouse will be a favourite layering piece next season, a lovely alternative to the classic boyish shirt. There were day-to-night ideas for wearing them, too.
At Boss, scarf blouses were tucked into neat knee-length skirts and paired with trench coats, for an upscale workwear vibe, while Dolce & Gabbana’s blouses came with ruffles, frills and flyaway neckties for a more romantic, evening feel. These pieces are brilliantly versatile, working as well with jeans as a silky maxi skirt.