Milano Day 3: The Strength of the DNA

Daniel Lee’s debut at Bottega Veneta was one of the most awaited events of this season. The need to regain another authoritative voice in the Milanese fashion week is stronger than ever, and this show reassured the Italian institutions. 

Bottega Veneta Fall/Winter 2019 show in Milan. Photo by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION.


The creative director of the house from Vicenza perfectly did his job for two reasons. On one hand, he didn’t replicate word-for-word Phoebe Philo’s beloved Céline style, the house which was the last stage of the designer’s notorious background. This marks a very important step for Lee, who exited the awaited (and surely welcomed) Celine-esque comfort zone to explore a new territory, yet all the while keeping his language. On the other hand, a buzzed-about show like Bottega Veneta added an important player that amped up the international interest in Milano Moda Donna. The result was good: a boost of modernity in the traditional techniques of leather manufacturing, a simplicity, both feminine and tough, made with biker jackets, pants and boots together with catchy glittered outfits or light layered tulle dresses. The men’s part (it was a co-ed show) was as rigorous and futuristic as Matrix’s Neo with sharp silhouettes, structured coats and jackets, and knitwear galore. Leather was the protagonist (of course) at Tod’s, a brand that seems to always be upgrading its style season by season. This is a big step toward reaching that luxury heaven: the brand is already a master of quality, but style-wise this collection is definitely upscaled. It’s a parade of women for every occasion, from the more sophisticated to the relaxed, but always elegant. Etro’s change of location – from Palazzo del Ghiaccio to the Conservatorio di Milano – gave a brain revitalization to Veronica Etro that reloaded the house code with a completely different touch: the aristocratic allure was poisoned by punk anarchist blood that gave a sense of newness, while still keeping their strong codes.

Versace Fall/Winter 2019 show in Milan. Photo by Alessandro Garofalo for NOWFASHION.


This kind of house DNA is also very important at Blumarine. Miss Anna Molinari designed this collection by herself (avoiding all the consultants) and going back to the real origins of the brand. The influence of those Helmut Newton campaigns starring the long-legged Nadja Auermann was immediately apparent, and it made sense in this context. The last collections were lacking this touch, going nowhere. Even if not surprising, it’s very Blumarine; and at least it’s the perfect starting point to rebuild the brand’s lost coolness. There was a back-to-the-roots feeling also for Marco De Vincenzo, who finally went back to his own language of putting on show his favourite things. This collection was finally 100% him and the signature lurex and fringes are back in full power. Donatella Versace walked a similar path of rediscovery, while also revisiting the idea of grunge: slipdresses with distressed leather jackets, herringbone coats and fake fur coats over t-shirts with the iconic Versace Blonde fragrance campaign with Donatella and shot by Richard Avedon. Harnesses, exposed underwear and thighs reminded us of the iconic Courtney Love style. It’s an attempt to rediscover the DNA of the brand, but maybe it’s not a good idea to put all the heritage of the Maison in one collection because the result is confusing. 


Backstage at the Marni Fall/Winter 2019 show in Milan. Photos by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION.


In reverse, Marni, with this collection, is entering a territory that is far away from the brand we know. Risso had already slightly changed the Castiglioni codes, but this time pushed it even more with the fetish slash erotic slash bondage inspiration of a sci-fi sexy game where the final goal is to map new pleasure areas of the body. For this purpose, the clothes shatter and get a new shape: destroyed and layered skirts, chain jewelry, Frankenstein dresses. Massimo Giorgetti at MSGM virtually directed a movie entitled “Spezza cuori” (“Heart breaker”) that takes place in an idealistic Milano in the 80s and 90s and that aggregates all the cool things happening in town. The concept is interesting, but the film would have probably held our attention more than the collection did. Unfortunately, the designer’s offering this season was a little bit too disconnected with all this. Giorgetti made a big step forward, excluding almost all the streetwear from the catwalk and concentrating on puffy printed evening dresses, long coats, and oversized tailored jackets. The only prints were the “flash art” magazine covers that recently celebrated the brand’s 50th anniversary. This new world would be a nice challenge for MSGM but it needs to be tuned a little bit.

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