The autumn-winter collections presented at the recently concluded Milan Fashion Week have been a mixed bag of contrasting ideas and energies. An Insta-youthquake of sorts, colliding Gen Z and Y2K aesthetics. Donatella Versace even set the dominatrix memo by putting the look-at-me corset darts under the scanner, styling them with bodycon tailoring and unapologetically kinky latex tights. Prada, always the bellwether of the Milanese calendar, paired basic logo-ed tanks with mesh skirts, which had a play of knitted opacity and appliqued textures. Bella Hadid opened the Fendi show in a soft, sensual slip worn layered with a fur jacket in matching tones.
Mixology was clearly everyone’s favourite. Gucci’s Alessandro Michele, for instance, sent out tailored tracksuits, crystal encrusted ties and reimagined heritage beloved bags like Diana and Bamboo,with a sportified AdidasxGucci spin. It was also hard to overlook a delightful clash of animal and paisley prints at Etro and Roberto Cavalli. Missoni, on the other hand, layered a black leather biker jacket under a pinstriped masculine blazer.
Is mixology the going to rule fashion for long? Stylist Edward Larempuia says, in the pandemic world, people want push boundaries more.
“Nowadays there’s no one or five particular trends. For instance, Gucci has always stayed true to its core values. All in all, every brand wants to be individualistic and not a trend follower, which is the beauty of present-day fashion. Versace had an undercurrent of S&M and corsetry, which was amazing. You can pick and choose your outfit, depending on how you feel that day,” he says.
Today, style is all about exploring your identity and being who you are, he adds. “When you look at the Adidas x Gucci collab, it was rock ‘n roll yet sporty. It was cool to see sportswear translated into high glamour.”
The autumn-winter collection at Milan had a fair share of showcases, where designers had blend sportswear silhouettes with sartorial tradition. They redefined the power of suit with a rebellious attitude, pushing the idea of multiplicity, evolution and diversity.
For instance, the AdidasxGucci collection bride opted for a glam-leisure outfit with elements of Adidas sweats having corset detailing.
According to stylist Akshay Tyagi, we are living in an era of mixing high street and luxury, and highlighting everyone’s individuality.
“Nothing is uniformed like the all-black dressing, which was common earlier. It’s about finding your own voice and making your look unique. Milan always leads the way, encouraging people to find their own voice in the way they dress.”
Fashion content creator Masoom Minawala, who walked the Milan runway for Vaishali S., notes that during the pandemic the world realised the value of searching for comfort in fashion, resulting in a new wave of statement silhouettes.
“Whether it’s the statement biker chic look by Roberto Cavalli or Fendi’s soft slips, there has been a shift towards androgynous clothing in terms of relaxed fits as well as silhouettes. From merging the lines between comfort and fashion, mixology is the newest trend that is emerging with an elevated sense of personal style,” she says.
Vaishali S. believes post pandemic everyone has been a bit puzzled by the various new normals. People are feeling a bit lost, she says. Known for blending traditional weaves and techniques with dramatic silhouettes, she presented a collection titled, Srauta, her first ready to wear.
“Some brands like to ride the wave and exacerbate, some others, like me, prefer to transmit certainty and a vision of the future. I strongly believe in heritage, slow fashion and sustainability,” she says. “For me, the new normal has only shown the way ahead and how technology and innovation can help leverage the strong fundamentals.” For her collection, she presented clothes that are put on blockchain, allowing anyone to see the location of the garment and track the whole process. Each garment has a QR card via which you can access information regarding the journey of the product.
Meanwhile, a catsuit in black patent leather, with a built-in bustier, was seen at Blumarine. What’s more, Sportmax saw a body-con dominatrix variation in red patent leather. While corset darts, bustiers and harnesses aren’t new, their new iterations for autumn-winter 2022-23 makes them for a fun, modular accessory, which helps you create multiple looks. Moreover, faux fur shrugs, sporty berets, lace slips and mesh fabric party numbers add to the maximalist euphoria.
The overall message being, be your own stylist—one day channel your inner eccentric punk and the next day be a cerebral chic librarian.