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Milan fashion week celebrates upbeat glamour

The spring-summer 2024 collections were largely about refined evening dressing and unapologetic sexiness

Gigi Hadid wears a creation as part of the Versace women's Spring Summer 2024 collection presented in Milan, Italy, on 22 September(AP)

By Manish Mishra

LAST PUBLISHED 25.09.2023  |  12:05 PM IST

Nineties and Y2K had a major moment this season in Milan. Donatella Versace recreated one of 90s big moments by bringing back OG supermodel and house muse, Claudia Schiffer on the runway. The German model sparkled in a Versace bias-cut Contrasto Checkerboard (the checkerboard debuted in Versace Spring-Summer 1982) metal mesh gown with crystal, bead, and a Barocco thread embroidery border.

Kendall Jenner opened the show in a duchesse mini dress with an embroidered necklace and Gigi Hadid was a vision in a metal mesh column dress with draped neckline and high slit. Boxy trouser suits, bodycon numbers with pronounced bustier detailing, sparkly mesh separates and micro shorts set the tone of unbridled sexiness.

Also read: It's a Barbie world at Versace

A model wears a creation as part of the Bally women's Spring Summer 2024 collection presented on 23 September (AP)

"I love the contrast between boxy suits and the transparency of an evening dress; matte sorbet tweeds and shiny metal mesh," shared Donatella in the show notes. Another highpoint this season was the Bally show by creative director Simone Belloti, which included lightweight knits, red leather coats, and roomy tailored three-button coats. The whole idea was to mix and match and make it your own. What's more, Boss fall/winter 2023 featured three, “see-now, buy-now" outerwear styles crafted in cutting-edge HeiQ AeoniQ fabric that form the limited-edition capsule collection of the brand’s “The Change" initiative. The more sustainable fibre was engineered to substitute oil-based filament yarns, such as polyester and nylon. The pieces were made available for purchase online and in selected Boss stores just after the runway show.

Here are the key trends that emerged during the Milan Fashion Week:

Sustainable chic
For Boss menswear, the singular styles included a double-breasted trench coat with a removable belt that can be used to cinch the generous silhouette. This piece was crafted from a three-layer textile comprised of HeiQ AeoniQ fabric bonded with a bio-based, waterproof membrane, while the third, inner layer was a Swiss pima cotton.

Its construction included flap pockets, shoulder tabs, a breast flap, and back vent, making it timeless and modern at the same time. The womenswear selection featured an impressive double- breasted trench made in a regular fit with a removable belt and an outer shell constructed from HeiQ AeoniQ fabric, laminated with the same bio-based membrane.

The third and final style was a sleek, gender-neutral bomber jacket designed with a relaxed silhouette and dropped- shoulder construction that boasts classic Boss tailoring elements. Crafted from HeiQ AeoniQ fabric and further embellished with trimmings made from environmentally conscious materials, it features light padding derived mostly from recycled silk, welt pockets, cuff and hem adjusters, as well as a concealed, two-way zipper that closes down the front.


Models present creations at the Gucci Spring/Summer 2024 fashion show on 22 September. (REUTERS)

Micro shorts galore
It’s been raining short shorts at Milan Fashion Week, from Bally and Versace to Gucci. Designers proposed the idea of teaming a pair of micro shorts with a knee-length car coat or a duster. This contrast in the hemlines creates dramatic tension as the ensemble moves. Versace showcased a litany of dangerously high silk duchesse shorts. A cashmere twinset with pearl and bead embroidery, with matching micro shorts, was easily one of the noteworthy looks.

Executive chic gets a playful twist
Both Boss and Bally took a quirky approach to formal wear, underscoring the idea of subversive layering. At Boss, men's formal shirts were layered with off-kilter knits, which had boat-shaped necklines and women's draped metallic tops were presented on chunky ribbed knits which had cowl-shaped necklines. Bally showcase saw crisp white shirts worn with knee-length skirts and styled with sporty baseball caps and Mary Jane shoes. The Swiss luxury brand's creative director Simone Belloti sent out an array of options with unexpected layering; there was a black leather jacket and shorts combo worn over a chambray blue shirt and a leather overcoat worn over a blue dress with rosette detailing peeking out.

Shine and more shine
Versace brought back their slinky, sparkly chainmail dresses that glittered as models swished past the runway. Gucci’s show had a litany of sensual slip dresses, which combined lace with leather like a potent cocktail. It looks like the minimal 90s are back with the bang and Gen Z are ready to embrace them with great gusto.

Emblematic bags
Versace reintroduced their key insignia bags with au courant touches, be it the Greca Goddess tote bag or the Athena tote. The transparent recycled PVC La Medusa and a crocodile embossed leather Medusa 95 were easily the chicest accessories in this outing. The newly unveiled Gucci’s Jackie notte is a sexy take on the archival icon. The new Gucci comes with an equestrian-inspired closure buckle and in an array of exotic skins. The design house also unveiled newer iterations of the bamboo bags.

Make way for red leather
Spring-summer 24 is definitely going to be a hot girl summer with designers proposing summer leather coats, dresses, trouser suits and skirts. There was plenty of red leather at Bally, Versace and Gucci. Versace's show saw a few ensembles fully crafted out of leather and Gucci showcased logoed leather skirts and slips in a unique hue of oxblood introduced by the brand's new creative director Sabato De Sarno. Bally’s show featured some stunning red leather coats and dresses radiating a buttery glistening sheen.


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A model walks the runway of the Hugo Boss fashion show during the Milan Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2024 on 22 September (AFP)

Shine on

At Versace, beaded twin sets worn with bikini briefs and denims embellished with pearls and crystals stood out. Gucci presented some crystallised separates, knits and tanks evoking Tom Ford’s era of refined glamour.

Summer knits
Bally’s and Boss' cozy knitwear evoked instant desirability, from the ribbed cropped sweater vests to red turtlenecks to slashed ribbed knits in neutral tones. Gucci, too, showcased some covetable knitwear separates that can be effortlessly worn in both formal and formal settings.

It’s been a season of tactile fringes, from Prada’s silver tassels flying over micro shorts to Gucci’s neon fringed top coats. They injected theatricality on the runway.

Manish Mishra is a Delhi-based journalist and content creator.

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