Designers at Milan Fashion Week fall under two classifications: those that stick to a sleek, high-powered mode of dress marked by pristine tailoring; and those that pile on the flash, often displaying ample amounts of flesh. And no matter what side of the coin you fall under, a number of brands for the Spring 2020 season offered up a high dose of both. Here are the five best.
MILAN, ITALY – SEPTEMBER 19: Models walk the runway at the Bottega Veneta show during the Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2020 on September 19, 2019 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)
It was a drop-the-mic moment. At the end of the Versace Spring 2020 show, actress, singer and all-round style icon Jennifer Lopez strutted down a circular runway, smirking as attendees rose to their feet with phones up, wearing an updated version of a dress that, as legend has it, initiated Google Images.
Back in 2000, before the behemoth internet platform had the picture-sourcing vertical, Lopez made jaws drop at the 42nd Grammy Awards in a long-sleeve green jungle print dress from Versace’s Spring 2000 show that left little to the imagination. She certainly wasn’t the first to don it in public, nor did she think it would cause such a stir. As she mentioned in a video for Vogue, it was a throwaway look picked by her then stylist Andrea Lieberman. But what ensued inevitably caused such a commotion that, if such a phrase existed then, could have broken the internet. In fact, it did one better—it enhanced it.
Designer Donatella Versace had to be aware of the swell that this stunt would prompt among the celebrity-focused fashion media, with many outlets flooding their social feeds and websites with everything JLo. According to the data analytics firm Launchmetrics, the media impact value of the show amounted to $118.4 million. So, in regards to visibility, the show was successful. Kudos to Versace. But even if Lopez didn’t take her turn on the runway, the collection still would have wowed.
For many seasons, Versace has rifled through the brand’s archives, bringing back styles that made it a buzzy label. Initially, she focused on the collections of late brother, founder Gianni Versace, and his penchant for leopard prints, bondage, and sequined catsuits. This time around, she displayed her significant contributions to the atelier: denim jackets, mini skirt suits in vibrant colors, and, of course, the jungle print. A sprinkling of Gianni’s glamorous flair was visible in a number of body-hugging black dresses, as were Claude Montana’s unmistakable linebacker shoulders in a set of jackets, but the overall sexy, edgy vibe was distinctly Donatella.
MILAN, ITALY – SEPTEMBER 20: Jennifer Lopez walks the runway at the Versace show during the Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2020 on September 20, 2019 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)
Kitsch and Jeremy Scott go hand in hand. The designer, who is—for all intents and purposes—the face of outré fashion presentations, is not one to back down from pushing the boundaries, imbuing his collections for both his namesake line and Italian label Moschino with concepts that normally go against the fashion industry’s standards of good taste. Just to name a few, he has made use of cleaning products, the symbols of fast food companies, and The Flintstones. For the Moschino Spring 2020 show, however, he went highbrow with his inspiration—still adding his signature quirk, of course.
Scott looked to Pablo Picasso, the famed Spanish artist whose oeuvre influenced countless fashion designers, including Raf Simons at Jil Sander, Oscar de la Renta, and Miuccia Prada at Miu Miu. But where they took a subtle approach, casting a number of pieces with prints taken from paintings, Scott effectively brought them to life. From Picasso’s Guitar series to his myriad depictions harlequins and matadors, the Moschino show was a virtual walking museum. There were even two dresses that were enclosed in frames, enforcing the paintings-on-parade theme even further.
What he displayed was reminiscent of Yves Saint Laurent’s 1979 collection, which prominently placed a number of motifs by Picasso’s contemporary, George Braque, on ball gowns. Wearabilty was of little concern, with many critics at the time applauding their bold, provocative, and imaginative qualities. It was kitsch at its finest—a sentiment that also applies to Scott’s presentation.
MILAN, ITALY – SEPTEMBER 19: A model walks the runway at the Moschino show during the Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2020 on September 19, 2019 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Jacopo Raule/Getty Images)
Simple silhouettes and a simple color palette are not characteristics that are attributed to great collections. But leave it to Miuccia Prada to prove otherwise. For Spring 2020, the Italian designer eschewed gimmicks, presenting pieces that were unfussy and quintessentially elegant. There was navy blazer over a grey shirt paired with brown trousers; silk dresses in black or white held up with ribbons on the shoulder; and slick skirt suits with pronounced collars. Though these looks may sound simple in description, the way they followed one another, forming a cohesive lineup of covetable daywear, made a powerful statement.
In a brief conference Prada held before the show with WWD, she explained how fashion has become “too much”; how the industry, in its need to turn a profit, puts forward new—perhaps unwarranted ideas—so as to feed the beast of consumerism. It’s a topic that many have posited, but Prada, being the needle-mover that she is, put it into action.
Of course, it would be great if the collection sells, but the message that she seemingly conveyed is that, often times, you don’t have to conform or purchase new styles just because they were on the latest runway show. This is perhaps why there were no overt references in the collection—just a blend of fashion stalwarts: sharp tailoring, flirty dresses, and spiffy coats.
There were a few pieces that featured distinct shimmering palm leaves, but they seemed to fall back into the overall look. Indeed, her Spring 2020 show was about great clothes that stand the test of time. And when it comes to fashion, simply put, that’s as good as it gets.
MILAN, ITALY – SEPTEMBER 18: A model walks the runway at the Prada show during the Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2020 on September 18, 2019 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Pietro D’Aprano/Getty Images)
Where others rely on theatrics to bring attention to their collections, Bottega Veneta puts an emphasis on craftsmanship, quality materials, and a kind of sleekness that, no matter how much time passes, will always be on trend. Classic is the best way to describe the brand, and Daniel Lee, its relatively new creative director, stuck to that ethos for Spring 2020.
Indeed, the work of his predecessor Tomas Maier, whose designs were just-right for the Kering-owned company, is a tough act to follow, but Lee has taken on the mantle with aplomb. He focused on what Bottega Veneta is best known for: tailored suits and dresses, and accessories in its signature woven leather. The series of slinky black dresses worn with large crossbody bags punctuated this point, along with the leather trench coats in hues of cream, eggplant, rust, and sky blue. He also brought a more laidback, younger feeling to the brand, with oversized anoraks, baggy trousers, and roomy leather shorts. It will be interesting to see how he evolves these styles further, but so far, it is gelling nicely with what consumers expect of the over-50-year-old label.
MILAN, ITALY – SEPTEMBER 19: Models walk the runway at the Bottega Veneta show during the Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2020 on September 19, 2019 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Daniele Venturelli/Daniele Venturelli/WireImage )
A new day has dawned for Fendi—a message that designer Silvia Venturini Fendi clearly visualized in her Spring 2020 collection. Quilted jackets in blush, knitted tops in amber, and plush fur coats and jackets in chestnut brown emerged from a rose pink backdrop, first appearing as silhouettes and gradually becoming fully formed looks at the end of the runway. Indeed, the lineup is one of the few to not have the oversight of Karl Largeld, who passed away earlier this year. For over 50 years, the fashion legend directed Fendi’s ready-to-wear, bringing his discerning eye to the Italian label. So, in this regard, the analogy to Fendi being the rising sun was apt.
She has long played a central role in her family’s company, spearheading the remunerative accessories category. But with this collection, she demonstrated that she has the chops for apparel, too. Of course, with a tutor like Lagerfeld guiding her for decades, it is no wonder why the Spring 2020 offering—with ’60s-style floral prints, gauzy gingham dresses, and beachy separates—blossomed.
MILAN, ITALY – SEPTEMBER 19: Models walking the runway at the Fendi show during the Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2020 on September 19, 2019 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Estrop/Getty Images)
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