Versace closed day three of Milan Fashion Week last night with considerable aplomb. Inspired by hard rock and executed to a Nine Inch Nails soundtrack, the show was grungier than previous Versace collections yet filled with all the sex appeal and insouciance that audiences have come to expect. When model Fei Fei Sun took to the catwalk in a T-shirt proclaiming the Versace 2013 world tour, every eye in the house acknowledged the birth of an iconic piece. The strong ‘I’m with the band’ aesthetic was interspersed with waves of refreshing romance, perhaps a word rarely associated with Donatella Versace. Bright floral prints, from the traditional to the abstract, delicate materials, flowing textures and pastels all added intrigue. Fans of the traditional Versace style need not worry, as tight-fitting dresses emerged towards the end, along with lashings of leather.
The genius of Versace’s collection highlights a key theme of this week: the success and talent of home-grown labels. Day four opened with a stalwart name in the form of Bottega Veneta. Designer Tomas Maier’s commitment in recent seasons to extravagant femininity and unashamed glamour has laughed in the face of those who see Bottega Veneta as an accessories house. Maier is master of the dress and these were the highlight of this season also, whether realised in dusty neutrals or deep greens and navy blues. The best pieces used cinched-in waists, mixed textures and intricate embellishments.
Cool, crisp, icy shades formed a large part of Roberto Cavalli’s spring/summer 2014 collection, which seemed to take a hundred different women and somehow make them all appear coherent. Stunning embroidery and beadwork felt as appropriate on 1920s-style cocktail dresses as on rolled-up jeans and leather jackets. Soft pinks, greys and blues made Cavalli’s signature prints seem subtle, while laid-back styling and something not quite tangible saw extravagantly detailed pieces exuding nonchalance. The Cavalli girl rolls out of bed looking incredible and she doesn’t even care.
In her third season back at the helm of her eponymous label, Jil Sander is undoubtedly back in the swing of things, feeling comfortable enough to move away from her traditional minimalism and infuse her collection with prints and texture. Not throughout, of course, because Sander’s simple, structural aesthetic has committed fans, and each season we’re still looking to her for everyday pieces to cherish. But the print was enough to let us know that Sander remains in the game, still ready to experiment and still able to do it well. As a German among the Italian greats, it can safely be said that she held her ground.