Milan’s Mix and London’s Lot – Spring 2018 Fashion Weeks Continue

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With so much unease in the world today, we can’t help but cover fashion weeks around the world with a different lens.

Sure, we will always have our eyes peeled for trends, cut and construction. But this season, the motivation behind designers’ offerings seems to take center stage. From resistance to nostalgia, ignorant bliss to clothes built for battle, designers in Milan have made their messages known.

For Spring 2018, fashion’s heavy hitters (read: well-known names, save a few like Emporio Armani and Tommy Hilfiger (who decided to show in London this season) landed in Milan, while lesser-known designers made London their home base. As we review fashion week in Milan, allow us to introduce you to London’s up-and-comers as well.

Nostalgia of Decades Past

When present day circumstances are just too much to fathom, we can certainly rely on the fashion world to whisk us off to another time.

Take Alessandro Michele’s latest offering for Gucci—inspired by the 70s and 80s, the designer took a tour of Elton John’s archive of early 70s glam rock stage clothes for reference. And while there’s no mistaking the glitz and glam of the 70s in this collection, Michele plays with the sleeves and shoulder pads of the 80s that we’ve seen pop up again and again on recent runways.


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London watch: If you are a fan of the glitz and glamour of the 70s, check out Michael Halpern.

And taking us straight back to the days when supermodels ruled the runways, Donatella closed the Versace show with the brightest stars of the 90s including Claudia, Cindy, Helena, Carla and Naomi. The show marked the 20th anniversary of Gianni Versace’s death as Donatella revisited his most known looks from the early 90s. Giving the entire affair a full-circle feel, Cindy Crawford’s daughter Kaia Gerber opened the show that her famous mom would then close.


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What the World Needs Now

While some Milan designers called on the past, others were inspired by the here and now.

Lucie Meier described her and partner Luke’s first collection for Jil Sander as being “about sensuality, a bit of softness and a sensitive approach; it’s what the world needs right now, I think.” In fact, feminine touches added to Sander’s strong androgynous lines and cut seemed to marry the two beautifully resulting in a collection true to Sander’s heritage, yet fitting for the modern day Jil Sander aficianado.


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London watch: If you are a fan of Jil Sander, check out Sharon Wauchob for a London spin on masculine meets feminine.

Miuccia Prada sent forth her own army of activists this season. She described her role in the current political climate as follows, “Just wanting to change the world. Especially for women, because there’s so much against us, still.” The slash marks and comic book like illustrations on garments gave the feeling that Prada women are not only prepared to do battle, but are the heroines in their own stories. They are ready to take on injustice, glass ceilings and get to work making change in the world.


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London watch: Also designing for a strong woman? Marques Almeida.

Blissful Escape

And then there were those designers who simply took us into their fantasy worlds, which seemed like far, far away blissful escapes from reality….

From flowers to fish to fresh vegetable motifs, Dolce and Gabbana offered refuge from all feels political. Color, print and kitch prevailed, from crowns to sunnies, bags to pea pod print shoes.


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And at Marni, Francesco Risso’s inspiration came from “two English gardens as seen by Tim Burton . . . with candies,” a reference to Willy Wonka’s imagination—and by the looks of the raw edges and playful loose threads on garments, some “candy recipes” were still in the works. Quirky and bright, and pattern on pattern, Marni’s playful romp was a lovely detour from the seriousness of the current political climate.


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London watch: Though not a newcomer to the London scene, Mary Katrantzou‘s Spring 2018 collection is packed with bright colors and the frivolity only a self proclaimed “80s baby” can produce.

As designers shifted from city to city this year to show their collections, the heavyweights that chose Milan have made it the fashion week to beat thus far. Will Paris top Milan? Only time will tell as we head into Paris for the fashion week ahead.


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Kara Laricks is a regular contributor to the University of Fashion. She’s also a New York based women's wear and accessories designer. As the first winner of NBC's Fashion Star, Kara has designed collections for H&M, Macy's and Saks Fifth Avenue. Her masculine meets feminine line, Kara Laricks, debuted at New York Fashion Week in 2012 and her S/S 2013 collection sold exclusively at Saks Fifth Avenue. Kara's designs have been featured on the Today Show and HBO's True Blood as well as covered in Women's Wear Daily and on Kara holds Master's degrees in both Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Kansas and in Fashion Design from the Academy of Art in San Francisco. An educator turned designer, Kara is dedicated to supporting emerging designers and inspiring others to follow where dreams lead.