Milan Fashion Week fall/winter 2020: Our first impressions, and the best moments of the Max Mara, Prada, Fendi runways
MAX MARA: HARD TO STARBOARD
First impression: The show notes read: "The ocean is a potent metaphor for the human condition, hazard and hope, love and longing, valour and vaingloriousness. Tales of ships and sailors are universal," preparing us for a collection full of nods to the nautical. Quoted too was Michael Foucault; his philosophy, "in civilizations without boats, dreams dry up", hit us particularly hard for a sunny Thursday morning. Maybe because at some point in our lives, we've all felt a little lost, in need of direction. Well, Max Mara, for fall/winter 2020 at least, is headed for a sea full of possibilities. Creative Director Ian Griffith's woman is less sexed up and more androgynous here than we've known, sailing away from the femme fatales of Mara's past. Her compass points away from her body, towards full sleeves, even fuller trousers, and the vast journey ahead.
Favourite looks: Almost everyone we know have fantasies of sailing off into the sunset, regardless of what the sunset serves as metaphor to. Max Mara's is literal, and that's okay. So she intends on riding the waves like a sailor; as fashion a sailor as one can be anyway. Note the tassels for toggles on her duffel coat (looks 16, 17, 19); the romantic ruffles gracing her sleeves and hems (looks 36, 41, 44, 46); and the deftly designed windbreakers sure to keep her ever toasty (looks 27, 31).
Favourite accessory: Practicality becomes her during her voyages out at sea. See Max Mara's aptly named Marine bag — it's copious, malleable, complete with survival essentials such as water cans and miniature pouches for lip balms. Hydration, like adventure, is key to a life well-lived.
PRADA: I'M EVERY WOMAN
First impression: If Prada spring/summer 2020 was the palette cleanser, then fall/winter 2020 is a buffet. Miuccia Prada's work is multi-generational, her pieces beloved by women of all vocation, from every corner of the globe, in every age bracket. This collection is a reflection of them — there are corporate separates for the CEOs; glimmering minis for the party animal; cosy sweaters for the homebody; knit bras and tights for the active girl. There isn't a personality Prada didn't think of and design for, yet the looks are so coherent as a single body of work, they could very well sit in the closet of one dynamic woman who rules her world.
Favourite looks: If we're going to secure an IPO for our company, it's look 3, 7, and 18 we'll count on to make an impression. The wide lapels on the blazer, the skinny tie, and pops of colour indicate bold business in the making. To celebrate its success, the party dresses from looks 23 and 24 will bring out the bubbly in the champagne in our hands. Or is it the other way around? The chunky fringe skirts (looks 50 and 51) have potential too, while the puffer jackets (looks 32, 34, 41), though cartoon-y are sartorial as hell.
Favourite accessories: This is a fluid collection in every way — it moves with its wearer, and none more so than the fringed pumps and stiletto sandals.
FENDI: SOFT POWER
First impression: We know structure is supreme, but can softness dominate? Is gentle power an oxymoron, or an eventual future once all the tough love burns out? In the age of Sheryl Sandberg's 'lean in', are women more, or less, feminist if we employ an affable as opposed to a more aggressive approach? Such are the complex ideals clashing in Silvia Venturini Fendi's mind, serving as existential backdrops to her fall/winter 2020 collection. None of us may have the answers, but there's no denying this: even if we take the idiosyncrasies out of the equation and let clothes be (just) clothes, they won't lose a bit of their beauty here. That's how confident we are in the femininity Fendi doled out — at once potent with ladylike charm, and heady in its sensuality.
Favourite looks: It's not lazy to say we adore all of the looks in blush, should it be true. And it is. From the pregnant leg of mutton sleeves on look 2, to the silk satin blouse in look 42, and the careful, clever proportions of look 43's jumpsuit, we'd be silly not to fall in love. Let's not forget look 51's mixed media concoction — it's what we image rosé would look like if she were a frock. There too, is a case to be made for the exemplary tailoring in look 32 nor the manipulation of hide in look 20.
Favourite accessories: Any and all of the gilded belt accessories. Sure, the utilitarian belt may not be a new concept for Fendi (like structure, versatility is high on Fendi's priorities), but we sure have never seen it razzle and dazzle, ever. Also, look out for the XXL Fendi shopper and a mini drawstring pouch (not unlike those housing your Fendi jewellery), both rendered as actual handbags in leather. S'cute.