When you think of Italian fashion, your mind typically bounces from one end of the spectrum to the other. All out glamour, or sophisticated, quality staples. Unsurprisingly, this season in Milan, the needle moved rapidly as designers made their debuts, shared their swan songs, and established themselves as part of the new guard. But where the magic truly lies is when a collection connects the dot and shows you don’t have to pick just one or the other. “Quiet luxury” might be a trending term as of late, but it’s long been the Italian modus operandi—and this season, the best collections proved that everything from a button-down to a gown should be infused with beauty and evoke the same emotional response.
Chatter in the front rows reverberated a lot around point of view: who has it down pat, who is still finding their footing, and who’s borrowing too heavily from others. Ferragamo has certainly struck gold with Maximilian Davis at the hem. The British designer’s third collection cemented his status as a heavyweight talent with immaculate taste that is all the more impressive when you consider he’s just 27-years-old. Wisely moving away from the arresting red shade that quickly became his signature, Davis turned to a neat edit of shades—including emerald, cognac, chocolate, grey, pistachio, and sky blue—which gave equal spotlight to cut and quality. Standouts in a robust offering of 65 looks included perfectly-tailored cape sleeves, just-sheer-enough white blouses, his updated take on the gaberdine, color blocked funnel-neck silk trapeze dresses, mosaic-style wooden beading, and ultra-wearable dresses spiced up with fringe, belted neckties, Venus flytrap prints, or chunky gold hardware. It goes without saying that the accessories and leather goods are still the house’s MVP. From the bead-adorned ankle strap wedges to curved mules, wrap-around sandals, and pointed-toe second-skin boots, to the croc-embossed totes, oversized structural clutches, and low-slung waist belts, there’s no shortage of options to satiate growing global demand for a piece of the Ferragamo pie.
Eternally armed with a specific female powerhouse through which he channels the Max Mara story of the season, Ian Griffiths was thinking about the members of the Women’s Land Army who replaced male farm workers who’d been enlisted during World Wars I and II. Styled by Tonne Goodman, the collection opened with Rosie the Riveter blues and riffs on classic workwear pieces like utility jumpsuits, apron-style dresses, layered collared-shirts, and denim coats. As she went off to fulfill her duties, the color palette bloomed with pinks, teals, and marigolds. The offering was interspliced with escapism momentarily via a couple of floating floral gowns, before getting back to business in khaki-hued suede suits and tried-and-true black and white ensembles that played on proportions with XL cuffed shirts, teeny shorts, and skirts and dresses with large pockets. Hi ho hi ho…
What are we going to wear to work in the future? Everyone seems to be wondering this at the moment—but by future, we mean Q3 and Q4. Boss, however, was thinking of an unprecedented time when we’re actively working alongside robots, such as Hanson’s long-lashed brunette Sophia, aka the world’s smartest humanoid. Unsettling? Yes. But beyond the big-budget ‘Techtopia’ production at the brand’s Spring Summer ’24 show, the corporate-core inspired clothes, thankfully, felt very rooted in the now and within human reach. Gigi Hadid kicked things off in a take on the classic pinstripe pencil skirt suit—albeit quite *NSFW* in a bra-revealing silky brown blouse—before being followed by a troupe of male models in boardroom-approved tailoring and knitwear. All seemed relatively akin to what you’d see if you walked into any skyscraper office building, but on closer inspection, the devil was in the details. A tie that doubles as a pen holder, a belt with security code locks, croc ties, puffy duvet coats should you wish to sneak in a nap between meetings, detachable shirt sleeves worn incongruously with gowns, and separates that looked intentionally a little windswept, sitting askew off shoulders. Another tongue-in-cheek addition was the paper clips sitting in many models’ hair. At least we don’t need to wait ’til 2050, or sooner (gulp!), to get in on the memo.
Who is set to replace Walter Chiapponi at Tod’s, we don’t yet know, but what we are sure of is that his final collection for the brand was a high note sign off. Since his debut for Fall 2020, the designer, who boasts a background at brands like Gucci and Bottega Veneta, set out to instill the house’s ready to wear category with a clear fashion-forward mission in order to capture a market share beyond bags and shoes. Where Chiapponi really excels is outerwear and layerable pieces, and that was evident in the Laboratori Scala Ansaldo as influencers and VIPs flooded the show space in scrumptious head-to-Tod’s loafers looks, not least Sharon Stone who sat front row in a cognac leather vest and matching trousers. The venue was specifically chosen for the collection reveal as it is synonymous with meticulous craftsmanship—it’s where scenographers, sculptors, and carpenters create the scenography for the Teatro alla Scala opera house. (Upon arrival, guests witnessed Tod’s artisans hard at work on hand-stitching leather pieces, further driving the point home.) For his final collection at the brand, Chiapponi went back to the drawing board to dream up a Nineties-esque minimalist capsule of daywear, juxtaposing soft fabrics and effortless silhouettes with sharp tailoring and bold monochrome shades. Bags such as the iconic Di and the T Timeless took center stage, while the new T-Box in polished leather with a metal T fastening was also introduced. As for the clothing, the offering was an ultra desirable edit of waistcoats, pleated skirts, wear-anywhere dresses, and easy trouser suits—particularly with the styling choices of Brian Molloy, whose work at brands like The Row, Tory Burch, and Proenza Schouler is undeniably shaping how women want to present themselves in their day-to-day wardrobe. For now, a design team will spearhead collections until a replacement is announced. Chiapponi’s are big loafers to fill!
Another luxury brand that grapples with how to take the product it’s most known for and parlay that same quality into quantifiable wardrobe heroes is Ferrari. This season, creative director Rocco Iannone started with a mood that’s familiar to those who yearn for a $200K+ automobile: desire. That heart rate-increasing reaction was felt the most in some new ideas Iannone has been working on. For his fifth collection, he hit his mark with white-hot white quilted napa leather separates such as cargo pants, cropped shirts, and pleated skirts. In a turn that felt totally new, shimmering sequin outfits hugged the body with curved patterns that brought to mind the mane of the famous Prancing Horse logo. Speaking of said symbol, it was barely evident, and beyond the use of tell-tale fire-engine red patent leather and the abundance of racing jumpsuits, one’s mind wouldn’t jump to the carmaker. The overall impact was softer and refined, with ballet slipper pink hues, sheer slips, experimental denim, and suiting in navy, cobalt, and amber. In short: clothes that’ll take you where you need to be.
If we can rely on one brand and one brand only to consistently deliver divine dresses, it’s the doyenne of Italian fashion Alberta Ferretti. Her Spring Summer ’24 lineup was presented against the backdrop of the historic Castello Sforzesco,
a suitably regal setting for a fully-fledged assortment of everything from red carpet worthy stunners to shirt dresses and striped separates you could roll up in your weekender bag and bring anywhere in the world with you. The opening look set the tone of what to expect, with a perfect iteration of a timeless white shirt gown. If that one wasn’t immediately on your shopping list, perhaps one of the ensuing pleated or pocketed numbered were. Tailoring then took over, with trendy details like oversized collars on cropped sleeveless shirts, cut-out waistbands, or utility-style pockets. And just before the heavens opened with rainfall, the goddess gowns came floating past. Thanks to the addition of gusts of wind, the fringe dangling from latticework numbers and their matching clutch bags caught flight, making for beautiful motion shots. Indeed, fringe that sashays is proving to be a monumental trend this season—maybe signaling how we want to move gracefully and elegantly, yet memorably, through the world.
Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini
Fellow Aeffe label Philosophy similarly offered hit after hit when it came to ‘realist’ pieces that transcended dress codes or time constraints altogether. Magpie moments came thanks to crystal minis and midis which had editors and influencers eagerly whipping their phones out to capture them as they caught the mid-morning light, making us question why we save our sparkles for when the sun goes down. Three and four-piece suits (are ‘suit bras’ becoming a thing?!) were fluid and languid while being impeccably cut, and sensual bodysuits, tulle tops, and light and airy dresses prompted nodding heads from the front row too. The collection was called Instincts, which seems fitting given that these are reliable, versatile clothes one would instinctively reach for day in, day out, year after year. Ensuring she has everything she needs to go with her wear-anywhere, wear-everywhere new favorites, the label also released a new retro-inspired soft clutch bag as well as a footwear collaboration with London-based shoe label Malone Souliers.