Milan Fashion Week kicked off to the most varied of starts. From masculine twists on traditional fabrics and a generous yet rather radical use of furs, to the downright camp and ridiculous - these first two days seemed to have it all.
Who'd have thought I'd be listening to a female orgasm soundtrack while looking at a Moschino outfit featuring SpongeBob SquarePants? Breathing wacky new life into the Italian brand was Jeremy Scott. His much awaited debut at Moschino was enlivened with, shall we say, uplifting music as well as the yellow cartoon character adorning camp voluminous outfits. This was just one chapter in Scott's youthful overture. Then there was the Moschino logo twisted to look like the McDonald's golden arches and lots of tongue-in-cheek high-street branding. Shapes and silhouettes mostly followed standard Moschino archives, with short and sexy skirt suits, nods to the '90s and voluminous finale gowns bearing tacky supermarket prints and garish fast food wrappings. It was a thoroughly entertaining debut, even if Katy Perry kept audiences waiting 50 minutes (she was booed by photographers upon arrival). No doubt the ironic outfits will make great headway in young and edgy fashion editorials, but how many will find their way into real wardrobes?
Not quite sex on legs but certainly sassy, Frida Giannini at Gucci kicked off Milan Fashion Week last week with a healthy dose of '60s glamour as models wore cat-eye flicks and little beehives. The hero pieces for autumn-winter 2014 were, of course, those fluffy, chubby coats in delicious pastels that had editors immediately instagramming. But these were worn over understated, slimming sleek lines on A-line leather skirts, shirts and dresses that were buttery to the touch. Mod-style, knee-high go-go boots topped the look off, our favourites being those in stunning yellow and pink snakeskin, which we see becoming a bit of sensation with the fashion set.
The Italians have long looked to their British counterparts for pointers on traditional style, but they always manage to loosen things up and add an element of much needed pizzazz. Here the waistcoat becomes a central figure in the collection that uses plenty of tweed, Prince of Wales check and herringbone, along with shearling trims and warm, stylish quilting. Lovely warm, earthy colours - mustard, rust, mossy greens and moody greys - made for a relatable and wearable urban collection. Pencil skirts (no trousers here) were chic, especially with tuxedo-style tops, and were worn with low heels, trainers and flats. The masculine utility was softened by super-luxe contrasting materials that were begging to be touched. More sensuality would have been welcome.
This family label has its roots in fur and, for autumn-winter 2014, Silvia Fendi and Karl Lagerfeld certainly haven't forgotten this. With "Made in Italy" emblazoned on walls at the venue and bizarre little camera drones buzzing overhead, Fendi launched into a wonderful feast of ideas. Model du jour Cara Delevingne headlined wearing a sleek black coat with a huge fluffy hood and with a Karl Lagerfeld fur figurine between her fingers. Then came white, thigh-high boots, sporty shapes and athletic mesh tops and panels. Stiff horse mane-like fur fringes decorated shoulders, and sculptural tufts livened up fabulous outerwear. Prints of painted colour blocks were beautiful, daring and bold. It was another inspired collection - the latest in a great few seasons for the label.
Muiccia Prada manages to find the beauty in awkwardness and synergy in ideas that seem worlds apart. For autumn-winter, she kept the aggressive colour combinations that made an appearance in spring but this time in blocked and trimmed formulations. The shaggy, fire-engine-red fur coat was exciting, as were the fur or metallic leather-trimmed jackets; the fur-trimmed, diaphanous dresses; and the long, slouchy V-neck knits. Add some sweet Mary Jane wedges and severely centre parted hair - an interesting, visually jarring but altogether enchanting look - and you have another Prada accomplishment.