The next generation of supermodels was out in force on the second day of Milan Fashion Week on Thursday.
Gigi Hadid, sister Bella Hadid and Kaia Gerber walked for Max Mara and Fendi as Milan designers came up with looks for the power woman – giving expression to a movement of women showing they mean business as they unite to put an end to harassment in all forms and define themselves as they wish to be seen.
Some highlights from previews of next autumn and winter, including shows by Max Mara, Fendi, Prada and Pucci.
Max Mara’s power woman
Gigi Hadid walked confidently for an early morning Max Mara call in a melange of leopard prints softened by woolly finishes.
A spotted sweater was tucked into a tight skirt and worn with a long Max Mara trench. The look was completed with leather gloves and suspenders, worn off the shoulders to show she is in charge.
The punk-inspired looks for a self-assured woman mixed leopard prints and plaids, the fashion house’s trademark neutrals and a dab of pink. The collection aimed to break down the barriers between the power suit and the punk world that thrived in rebellion of it.
“We use all those emblems of rebellion as emblems of power,” creative director Ian Griffiths said backstage. “This is a woman who is saying, ‘Don’t mess with me’.”
This silhouette veered from long, full blanket skirts belted for shape, to form-fitting ruched dresses worn over stretch pants or a pencil trouser. Max Mara’s stronghold, the overcoat, united the looks, many with fringe along the sleeves. The brand dubbed it the “they don’t mess with me coat”.
Fendi on point
And Gigi Hadid was back on the runway for Fendi a few hours later, donning a prim and pretty dress: a white shirt top that created a statuesque bust topping a long-sleeved pleated dress in a serious brown.
That sense of purity and cleanness was echoed in scalloped white blouses with lace panels and embroidered details.
Cinched waists and box shoulders gave definition to Karl Lagerfeld’s Fendi womenswear collection for next winter.
The stand-out accessories were mini-capes – Fendi also called them shoulder slips – that topped off looks, a hedge against cold or rain. They were square-shouldered with a vinyl effect, mini puffer capes or rich fur.
Pleats repeated themselves like a motif: pretty on silk dresses, hidden in the sides of overcoats, or forming a formal peplum under a belted suit jacket or atop a longer skirt.
The double-F logo made a cameo, on off-the-shoulder dresses, fur coats and sporty mink scarfs.
Miuccia Prada showed her latest collection against the backdrop of the Milan night through the windows of the Prada Foundation’s new high-rise. A chimp, an alien and a stegosaurus in neon lights hovered in the background through the pane glass windows.
With Bill Murray in the audience, it was hard not to conjure images of Tokyo in Lost in Translation. But the Prada story this season, and in general, isn’t about a young girl reflecting her loneliness in an older figure, but of a young woman asserting her own power.
For Miuccia Prada, the neon colours that illuminated the collection offered a sort of protection for women against the night.
“I imagined that the woman can go super sexy in the street at night without being bothered,” Prada said.
Bright colours punctuated the looks, with blurred prints on coats and dresses that had the effect of neon colours shown through rain-splattered glass. The women’s looks echoed the men’s collection with black vinyl dresses and neoprene anoraks and vests, but with the femininity underlined by pretty pink netting bows and underlays.
Prada said the collection was meant as a dialogue between strength and femininity, “the constant dialogue and struggle”.
“The whole problem of my job is how women can be powerful and still being feminine. It is not something that is not clear yet,” she said.
Sporty, seductive, Pucci
Emilio Pucci’s womenswear collection punctuated the brand’s trademark prints with blocks of colour, peacock blue with magenta, teal with royal blue, sea foam green with black.
The collection, created by a design team while the house seeks a new creative director, featured kaleidoscopic archival prints of tulips and clovers.
Sportier looks featured puffer jackets over printed skirts and quilted bra tops, or overcoats mixing quilting with leather.
Silky dresses with lace panels, and long jersey knits, clung to the figure. Looks were finished with turban-like quilted caps and puffy scarfs.