Looks from Fendi’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Shutterstock)
Ciao Bella! Milan Fashion Week wrapped up after an exciting world-wind of beautifully crafted creations. The 6-day extravaganza (shows began on Tuesday, Feb 21st and ended on Monday, Feb 27th) was another fashion viral sensation that took over everyone’s social media feeds. But before we dive into Milan’s most viral moments, let’s take a look back in time of how it all began:
Milan Fashion Week, also known as Settimana della Moda, is one of the most important fashion events in the world. It is held twice a year in Milan, Italy, and showcases the latest collections from some of the most famous fashion designers in the world.
The history of Milan Fashion Week dates back to 1958, when the first Italian fashion show was held in the historic Palazzo Pitti in Florence. The show was organized by Giovanni Battista Giorgini, an Italian entrepreneur who wanted to promote Italian fashion on an international scale.
In 1979, the Italian Fashion Chamber (Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana) was founded, to coordinate and promote the country’s fashion industry. Milan was chosen as the location for the new organization’s headquarters and the city quickly became the center of Italian fashion.
The first official Milan Fashion Week was held in 1985, and has since become one of the most important events on the global fashion calendar. Milan Fashion Week showcases the latest trends in clothing, footwear, and accessories from top Italian designers, such as Versace, Gucci, Prada, and Armani.
Over the years, Milan Fashion Week has grown in size and scope, attracting fashion editors, buyers, and celebrities from all over the world. The event is now a major economic driver for the city of Milan, generating millions of euros in revenue each year.
Milan Fashion Week has also played an important role in promoting Italian fashion and design. The event has helped to establish Italy as a global fashion hub and has contributed to the country’s reputation for quality craftsmanship and innovation.
In February of 2020 Milan Fashion Week took place before the pandemic hit Europe, but the February 2021 edition was entirely digital due to the ongoing health crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on Milan Fashion Week, as it did on the fashion industry as a whole.
Backstage at Jil Sander’s Fall 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Acielle/StyleDuMonde)
Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Milan Fashion Week continued to be a platform for showcasing the latest trends in fashion and design. The resilience and creativity of the fashion industry was on display as designers adapted to the new reality and found innovative ways to connect with their audience.
Backstage at Moschino’s Fall 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Acielle/ StyleDuMonde)
Today, Milan Fashion Week is back in full force and to quote the 1991 Queen song…The Show Must Go On!
MILAN FASHION WEEK 2023 MAKES A SPLASH
A look from Gucci’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Complex)
Gucci’s Fall 2023 collection was entrusted to their in-house studio team and they did not disappoint. The team sent out looks inspired by several chapters of the brand’s history, with plenty of sexy Tom Ford-isms and a few of charming Alessandro Michele’s codes mixed in. The team also dug through the archives and re-created Tom Ford’s 2003 horsebit handbags, however this season the bag got an oversized update in bold colors.
Looks from Prada’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
A look from Prada’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)
Inspired by acts of kindness, Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons showed their softer side for their Fall 2023 Prada collection. Paying homage to nurses’ uniforms, the duo featured white skirts in duchesse, organza, satin, and velour, with wedding-inspired floral embellishments as part of every-day outfits. A passementerie bonanza!
Looks from Bottega Venetta’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)
This is Matthieu Blazy’s third outing for Bottega Veneta, proving he makes deeply desirable clothes that are sophisticated, chic, and yet oh so playful. For Fall 2023, Blazy looked to the streets for inspiration and the results were stellar.
A look from Avavav’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Avavav)
Beate Karlsson, the designer behind the label Avavav, used her fashion show as a commentary on fashion and its relationship with wealth, fakeness and failure. For her sophomore Milan runway presentation, the designer had the clothes literally tearing and coming apart from the model’s body. A study of fashion’s seriousness and ideas around bad quality and shame.
A look from Sunnei’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Sunnei)
Who doesn’t love a good fashion stunt. This season Loris Messina and Simone Rizzo, the design duo behind the label Sunnei, had their models walk on elevated platform runway, turn their back and drop into the audience as they crowd-surfed, concert style. Talk about audience participation!
A look from GCDS’ Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Accessories were all the rage at CGDS’s show, as Guiliano Calza showed metallic chrome boots, bags with telephone-shaped handles, and cat-shaped crystal balls.“The collection relies on the face-off of the sweet and the darkly seductive, with accessories blowing the claws of domestic felines to human proportions, turning them into sensual weapons,” the show notes said of the shows. Meow!
Diesel’s Fall 2023 Runway. (Photo Credit: Diesel)
Sex sells. And no one knows that better than Diesel’s Glenn Martens as the designer’s runway set featured a giant pile of boxed condoms in the middle of the space — 200,000 Durex condoms to be exact. Even some of the Diesel’s looks also featured the Durex logos. Talks about product placement!
Backstage at Tomo Koizumi’s Fall 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: WWD)
Japanese wunderkind Tomo Koizumi made his Milan Fashion Week debut this season. Known for his exaggerated tulle confections, the designer showed off his knack for manipulating tulle into colorful, couture gowns. Koizumi is the latest emerging designer to show at Milan thanks to Dolce & Gabbana’s program.
Kim Kardashian at Dolce & Gabanna’s Fall 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Red Carpet Fashion Awards)
Speaking of Dolce & Gabbana, Kim Kardashian rocked the label’s sexy looks throughout Milan. This season, Kim became the latest spokesperson and model for the Italian luxury house.
Ferragamo’s golden shoe on the Fall 2023 Runway. (Photo Credit: Vogue)
For his second collection for Ferragamo, Maximilian Davis looked to the 1950s for inspiration. “It’s how Ferragamo started, making shoes for films in the 1930s, and that grew into building relationships with movie stars like Sophia Loren and Marilyn Monroe in the 1950s,” he explained to Vogue. But the archival style he brought back had a more obscure provenance; it was originally created for a private Australian customer in 1956 and was actually gilded in 18 carat gold. On the runway Davis recreated the shoe with his signature angled heel—and wearable materials.
Looks from Roberto Cavalli’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: WWD)
Fausto Puglisi, the designer behind Roberto Cavalli’s Fall 2023 collection, created a patchwork hippie denim collection that was a denim lover’s dream.
An image from Rodarte’s spring 2021 collection. (Photo Credit: Daria Kobayashi for Rodarte)
The Spring 2021 collections are in full swing as each of the major fashion cities adjust to the new norm. Many have opted for a hybrid model, in-person show and digital format. Earlier this year, the men’s collections, resort and couture, have all shown their collection digitally and the results were mostly considered a flop, at least on social media. According to an article published in BoF on July 27, 2020: “Of more than a dozen major luxury brands that released content tied to men’s fashion week in Milan and Paris, or to their resort collections, none came close to making the same splash on Instagram as the corresponding shows did last year, according to tracking firm Tribe Dynamics. On average, digital shows, videos and presentations generated less than one-third as much online engagement. The all-digital London Fashion Week, which mainly featured smaller brands, also saw a steep drop in buzz, with 55 percent less social media engagement than in January, according to Launchmetrics, another tracker of online activity.” Even the couture season, which offered fanciful films and digital shows did not gain the traction the industry was hoping for.
But before we delve into our coverage of NYFW, we once again ask ourselves, “who are these shows really for”? Traditionally, shows are for buyers, and editors. These industry insiders, attend to show their support for the brands, and to be inspired for the season to come. Of course, as an industry, the organizers of the events, as well as the cities that host them, have much to lose if a brand chooses a digital format. Before NY fashion week began, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the bi-annual event (which generated millions of dollars in revenue for the city pre-pandemic), would be permitted to take place, as long as participants were in “strict compliance” with New York health and safety guidelines. In a statement made in August, Cuomo stated that “New York City is the fashion capital of the world, and New York Fashion Week celebrates the ingenuity of this city, and our unmatched creative talent,” It’s not just talent (and entire business sectors like textile manufacturing and production) that New York Fashion Week supports. It was/is, also a major revenue source. According to past estimates, fashion shows pre-Covid generated nearly $900 million per year, with up to $500 million in tourist spending.
With the new Covid restrictions, designers began asking themselves, whether it was worth investing all this time and money for a show, when an outdoor event is capped at 50 people and an indoor event capped at 50% of the venue’s capacity.” Well for some designers it was. Case in point, Jason Wu’s tropical paradise show on a NYC rooftop.
A look from Grey by Jason Wu. (Photo Credit: Dan Lecca for Jason Wu)
So, here’s the scoop. The official New York Fashion Week Schedule that was released by The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and was condensed to only 3 days this season, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic (dates were September 13-16). The CFDA supplemented NYFW with its Runway360 digital platform, this allowed designers to present their latest collections at a time that worked best for them, at any time throughout the year.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the global fashion industry and hit New York particularly hard,” said Steven Kolb, CEO of the CFDA. “Fashion week is a critical time when brands are able to connect with press, retailers and consumers, and I’m proud of how quickly the CFDA pivoted to support the needs of the industry by creating Runway360. We are excited to see 10 new American brands on the schedule – many for the first time – who might not have had the opportunity to share their collections to a global audience without access to Runway360. We’re also excited to highlight the incredible talent coming out of Harlem’s Fashion Row and announce the return of New York Men’s Day. In the face of unprecedented challenges and uncertainty within our industry, the American fashion community has once again come together to support each other and prove its resilience.”
The New York shows kicked off with Jason Wu’s IRL (in real life) intimate fashion show and ended with Tom Ford; but their where plenty of designers who opted out of this seasons fashion week including Marc Jacobs, The Row, Tory Burch, Proenza Schouler, and Michael Kors, to name a few.
Here are a few ways designers got creative when presenting their collections this season (Shows can be accessed at NYFW.com and through the CFDA’s Runway360)
Jason Wu officially opened NY Fashion Week with the first runway presentation for his contemporary label Grey by Jason Wu. The designer took his intimate audience away on a mental trip to Tulum. Wu created a tropical paradise on a NYC rooftop and it was spectacular. Wu’s joyful collection was filled with effortlessly chic pieces, perfect for today’s world, where woman want to look great and feel comfortable.
The show opened with a rust-colored maxi-dress with pockets and bold broderie anglaise detailing just above the hem, which set the mood for the entire collection. Wu showed pleated skirts with bra tops, easy dresses in bold prints, a striped tunic and matching trouser, and tailored Bermuda shorts and blazers. His collection was filled with happy and vibrant clothes, perfect to brighten the gloomy days of Covid that we are all facing.
Rebecca Minkoff’s Presentation featured fall looks that stayed true to her signature boho-rock aesthetic. (Photo Credit: Randy Brooke for Wire Image)
Rebecca Minkoff presented her fall 2020 collection during a two-hour presentation on the rooftop of Spring Studios. The event had a limited audience of fashion influencers and buyers. The social-media savvy designer livestreamed the event on Instagram and gave her followers a walk-through of her collection which was an ode to Manhattan and Motherhood, translated to effortless pieces with a cool twist. The collection was filled with pretty boho styled dresses, great knit sweaters, chic outerwear, and plenty of badass leather pieces.
HARLEM’S FASHION ROW STYLE AWARDS
A look from Rich Fresh. (Photo :Courtesy of Rich Fresh)
Harlem’s Fashion Row hosted its 13th annual Style Awards and a fashion show virtually on Sept. 13. The video will be made available to the public on Sept. 19.
The Style Awards honored British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful with the Maverick of the Year Award; Teen Vogue editor-in-chief Lindsay Peoples Wagner with the Editor of the Year Award; Pyer Moss designer Kerby Jean-Raymond with the Designer of the Year award; and Nate Hinton with the Publicist of the Year award.
The organization selected three talented designers to present their collections— Kimberly Goldson, Rich Fresh and Kristian Loren.
A look from Kimberly Goldson. (Photo: Courtesy of Kimberly Goldson)
A look from Kristian Lorén. (Photo: Courtesy of Kristian Lorén)
A look from Khaite’s Spring 2021 Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Khaite)
It was just over a year ago that actress Katie Holmes wore a cashmere Khaite bra and cardigan look on the streets of New York City and the brand instantly became a must have label among the fashion set. The brand’s leather jackets for fall could hardly be kept in stock. For spring 2021, Khaite designer, Catherine Holstein, kept true to the brands cool girl appeal. Holstein offered plenty of sexy body-skimming knits and seductive ruched dresses, and romantic puff shoulder tops and airy evening frocks. The designer also featured a few of her signature cozy cashmere sweaters that have made her a fashion darling. These are keep-forever investment pieces that are timeless yet modern and youthful.
IMITATION OF CHRIST
A look from Imitation of Christ. (Photo: Courtesy of Imitation of Christ)
It’s been 20 years since Tara Subkoff first presented her theatrical show for her label Imitation of Christ. And after a long hiatus, Subkoff is officially back. For spring 2021, the designer put on simultaneous presentations, one in NYC the other in Los Angeles, but they were not be identical. Each presentation consisted of acapella singers and skateboarders in IOC looks. FYI- Imitation of Christ is known for its one-of-a-kind pieces. Resurrecting existing pieces is the ideology that Imitation of Christ was founded on. No two looks are ever the same.
For spring, Subkoff’s inspiration was skateboarders and created a collection of glamorous activewear. There were vintage slips attached to sports jerseys, and oversized tees with ruffled trimmings.
Subkoff sourced some of her pieces from the luxury consignment ecommerce site RealReal. The site will offer the spring collection for sale in see-now, buy-now fashion, with a portion of the proceeds being donated to Fridays for Future (environmentalist Greta Thunberg’s nonprofit organization).
Looks from Wolk Morais Spring 2021 collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Wolk Morais)
While some designers are just releasing lookbook style images, others like Brian Wolk and Claude Morais, the duo behind the label Wolk Morais, are creating attention grabbing short films. For 26 nights the duo drove around Los Angeles pulling up the homes of several friends in the industry, from models and actors to fashion consultants, handed them a bag of clothes, and then filmed them without ever leaving their car.
In an interview with Vogue, where you can also exclusively watch the video, Wolk explained, “we wanted to create a collection that was not only responsible and sustainable, but also content that tells a story about what’s going on right now.”
The duo stayed true to their specialty: fabulous tailoring. And the collection had plenty of it. Herringbone tweed suits, double-breasted waistcoats, cropped jackets and a slew of Liberty print shirts (all of fabrics were upcycled or sourced within a 12 mile radius of their studio). But among all the haberdashery, there were a few glamorous looks as well. Case in point, a 1930s inspired sequin bias-cut gown, a perfect look for any young starlet.
Tomo Koizumi is known for creating jaw-dropping fashion moments that are so breathtakingly beautiful that one cannot help but feel an emotional connection to. For his spring collection, the avant-garde designer produced a creative lookbook photographed in Japan. Koizumi’s work blends his frothy confections with aspects of traditional Japanese culture. The designer collaborated with a bridal company and was inspired by wedding traditions. There was an assortment of eccentric white gowns with explosions of tulle.
Koizumi also showed plenty of rainbow-hued party dresses, cropped tops and miniskirts – all created with a new ruffling technique which created a more flower or starburst affect. It was all so fun and creative, that one cannot help but smile when looking at his creations.
Living in such uncertain times, the pandemic has forced us all to search our souls and figure out who we want to be moving forward; many believe that the world should not go back to the way it was. It is during these times that we need uplifting, more and art and beauty to inspire us. This season, Ulla Johnson staged a full-on fashion show that was audience-less at Roosevelt Island’s Four Freedoms Park. The backdrop, Manhattan’s skyscrapers, provided a familiar backdrop, a reminder of the strength and resilience of the city, while we all may have lost a lot this year, we are, as Governor Cuomo says, “New York Strong.”
The level of workmanship and the philosophy involved in Ulla Johnson’s intricate collection was best stated by the designer herself. In an interview with Vogue, Johnson stated, “We’ve all been doing a lot of deep soul searching about the relevancy of what we do—the runway being one component, but also just clothing in general. For us we’re committed more than ever to creating this transportive beauty and continuing our commitment to craft.” Consider the collection’s look one and two, which were entirely hand-crafted outside the U.S., in countries heavily impacted by the pandemic and done so safely over a five-month period.
The collection was filled with Johnson’s signature bohemian inspired frocks, acid wash denim jumpsuits, billowing sleeved tops and ruffled waist trousers. The designer delivered a joyous, wearable collection even during the most difficult of times.
A look from Tom Ford’s Spring 2021 Collection. (Photo: Courtesy of Tom Ford)
The spring 2021 trend of joyful clothes continued as Tom Ford closed out New York Fashion Week. After months of isolation, Ford wanted his spring collection to bring hope. According to an interview with Vogue, Ford stated “The last thing I want to see are serious clothes. I think we need an escape. I think we want to smile. I know what’s going on in our world right now doesn’t make us want to smile. So that’s what I’ve done: hopeful clothes that make you smile.”
Ford’s collection was full of glamour and gusto as he found inspiration in a documentary about the fashion illustrator Antonio Lopez and the ’70s models Pat Cleveland and Donna Jordan, whom Lopez sketched. The Seventies inspired collection was a throwback to his days at Gucci, and it was oh so fabulous. The collection oozed sexiness with shirts that were unbuttoned to the navel and paired with pull-on logo waistband trousers, slinky dresses in colorful florals, spicy animal print jumpsuits and glamorous swimsuits and caftans. After all, isn’t over-the-top glam what Tom Ford does best?
Have you been watching the shows? Care to share your fav?
TOMMYXZENDAYA Fall 2019 block party at the Apollo Theater in Harlem (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)
The excitement and thrill of New York fashion week has come to an end, and while all the names we know and love have put on fabulous shows and parties, such as Prabal Gurung’s chic 10th Anniversary showing, Tommy Hilfiger and Zendaya’s block-party show at the Apollo Theater in Harlem (see image above), and Tom Ford’s subway tunnel show, we are finally getting to see some new ‘fashion blood’ getting attention.
Unlike any other city in the world, New York has always been a melting pot of diverse cultures and ideas, so fittingly, the city that kicks off fashion month has embraced a handful of CFDA-approved emerging designers that are about to take off.
Telfar Clemens, right, at Telfar’s Spring 2020 NYFW party (Photo courtesy of WWD)
Telfar Clemens, known for his non-gender collections, launched his namesake brandin 2005, however, he finally received recognition in 2017 when he became the winner of the coveted CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award. For Spring 2020 he will be showing in Paris on Sept. 24th, but Clemens did not forget about the city that launched his career and hosted two parties, one with the beloved retailer Opening Ceremony, and the second, a party that doubled as a screening of his film.
According to WWD, “Guests got their first glimpse of the designer’s new collection in a six-minute clip of a film scripted by “Slave Play” writer Jeremy O. Harris and artist Juliana Huxtable that will be shown in Paris as part of the show.”
“Are you a citizen of united communities?” was one of the questions posed in the dialogue as characters walked through airport security, or stood on buoys in open water with the Manhattan skyline behind them.
As for the clothes in the film, there were plenty of utility-inspired looks, thigh-hole track pants and Budweiser silk printed shirts alongside Telfar’s new jewelry range that plays on his initials “TC,” and popular logo-embossed tote bags.
Pyer Moss’ Spring 2020 runway look (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)
Another CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winner is Kerby Jean-Raymond, the designer behind the label Pyer Moss. The young designer has become a storyteller. Season after season he creates a collection based on the history and popular culture within the African American community. For spring 2020 he did not disappoint and his show was one of the most buzzed about shows of the week.
The show took place at the King Theater in Brooklyn, titled: Sister, the third and final chapter in the Pyer Moss trilogy, inspired by Sister Rosetta Tharpe. A singer-songwriter who rose to popularity in the 1930s and ’40s, Tharpe is considered to be the godmother of rock and roll, though her legacy has been diminished. “I think relatively few people know that the sound of rock and roll was invented by a queer black woman in a church,” said Jean-Raymond backstage during a Vogue interview, moments after the show. “I wanted to explore what that aesthetic might have looked like if her story would have been told.”
The show opened with a powerful sermon delivered by writer Casey Gerald, who is known for his incisive social commentary, it was both uplifting and unapologetically political, referencing the anniversary of slavery in America. Then a choir of about 70 voices broke into song and the show began. The musical references were loud and clear with a guitar motif that was threaded through curvy lapels of satin overcoats, and the most literal reference was a novelty guitar-shaped handbag, as well as the keyboard print trim on a puff-sleeve blouse. Jean-Raymond also gave a shout-out to the hip-hop era, which is not surprising considering his new role as artistic director at Reebok.
Tomo Koizumi’s Spring 2020 creation (Photo courtesy of designer)
Last winter, Tomo Koizumi’s frothy confections caught the attention of stylist extraordinaire Katie Grand. She quickly contacted the avant-garde designer and had him flown to NY to debut his creations during the Fall 2020 shows. For his sophomore collection, Marc Jacobs has once again graciously lent his atelier for Tomo Koizumi to use, as well as his Madison Avenue boutique for Koizumi to present his latest innovative pieces. It’s so refreshing to see designers who have made it, help and embrace the newcomers.
Tomo Koizumi’s clothes are far from the ready-to-wear looks that NY fashion week showcases; his pieces are costume pieces that provoke and inspire the audience. Koizumi casted 18-year-old trans model Ariel Nicholson for his one-woman show. The presentation showcased Nicholson dressing and undressing in seven garments as she twirled around center stage. Each frothy look was made of hundreds of meters of ruffled Japanese polyester organza that utilize only one zipper. The construction is spectacular, as ruffles and bows cascade over each other like cupcake frosting.
In an interview with Vogue the designer said, he chose the bow motif because he wanted the collection to represent his gift back to the people who made him. “I just want to bring joy,” he said simply. Mission accomplished.
Khaite’s Spring 2020 runway look (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)
There are very few young designers who can balance retail success with being an editorial favorite, but Catherine Holstein, the designer behind the coveted Khaite (pronounced Kate) label has managed to do both. The core of her business, or as Holstein refers to them as “cherished items,” are in her jeans, shirtings and knits. And yes, Holstein in responsible for the internet frenzy of Katie Holmes’ $520 cashmere bra and cardigan; both items which immediately sold out on Khaite’s website.
For her spring show, Holstein showed a few of Khaite’s cult favorite lux basics, but, rather than playing it safe, Holstein opted for experimental pieces that were charming and at times, flashy.
Holstein’s collection was inspired by her childhood summers at her grandmother’s house in Woodstock, Vermont; so fittingly there were plenty of plaids and florals that were reminiscent of the home’s late 60’s furnishings, but with a modern and cool twist. Key looks included a suede fringe jacket, peplum tops over denim, a deconstructed suit, and a corset top over a satin sarong.
Let’s give the fashion industry and the CFDA a round of applause for finally stepping up to the plate to support emerging designers. Not only have the shows included a full range of diverse models on the runway (ethnic, size, and gender diversity) but they are demonstrating an ‘all inclusive’ range of designers into their ‘club.’ A nice message especially in such divisive times. Let’s see how responsive brands across the pond respond in kind.
So tell us, who’s your favorite up-and-coming designer and why?