Milan Fashion Week showcases Italian designers’ distinctive and desirable interpretations of the season’s key trends. We pick out the spring/summer 2019 highlights
Italian designers are famous for imagination, elegance and flair, and for spring/summer 2019, the labels on the Milan Fashion Week schedule incorporated the main trends of the season in some remarkable ways.
A preference for nude tones was a common thread shared by many brands at Milan Fashion Week. Max Mara has championed camel for decades, so it comes as no surprise that it was one of the key drivers of the tonal trend for this spring/summer: worn head to toe, the Max Mara palette spanned beige and camel through to deeper browns. At Fendi the nude tones were applied to safari trousers as well as to feminine dresses and skirts. Salvatore Ferragamo used nudes for utilitarian pieces such as dungarees and ponchos, as well as for tailoring.
While neutral nudes were a recurring catwalk colour scheme, that didn’t mean brands were shy about using colour. Some opted for a kaleidoscopic effect, including Versace, which juxtaposed a multitude of clashing prints and patterns in single pieces. Other brands opted for the slightly edgier tie-dye, seen on a T-shirt dress at No21, on one of this season’s most iconic bags at Prada and on denim at MSGM. But if you have to choose only one shade to invest in for spring/summer this year, make it yellow. A perfect hue for summer, it was presented in all shades: vibrant chartreuse at Versace, bumblebee at Max Mara, more muted ochres and mustards at Agnona, and the palest chiffon hues at Alberta Ferretti.
Fitness has been a driving theme for several seasons, and brands continued to incorporate activewear into high-fashion collections. Swimwear was a strong contender: Etro was inspired by the Pacific coast to the point of sending professional surfers down the catwalk, Sportmax also drew on surf in sequined rash guards and in crochet bikini tops and bottoms worn with tailoring, while Moschino’s swimsuits were defined by the brand’s signature tongue-in-cheek spirit.
Those who prefer to eschew beach and pool get-up might prefer cycling shorts. At Jil Sander shorts were part of an exploration of the concept of uniform and its ties to athletics and performance. At Roberto Cavalli, creative director Paul Surridge touched on notions of the power and energy of the body in a collection that also featured cycling shorts. Overall, designers channelled a sophisticated take on activewear, with references that felt like a celebration of the body.
In a push away from previously omnipresent streetwear, brands orchestrated a return to feminine dressing. Long dresses, elegant silhouettes and beautiful details were just some of the design elements adopted by brands for spring/summer 2019. Dresses formed the backbone of the Marni collection, from Grecian-style pieces to 1950s-inspired shapes. Moschino’s dresses were defined by a bold 80s aesthetic. Gucci left clients spoiled for choice with a wide range of finishes on dresses, from floral prints to metallic fabrics to fringing. The entire Max Mara collection was supremely elegant: the tonal colour scheme served to accentuate chic silhouettes. MSGM and Prada offered some playful options in the form of bow-adorned designs and dresses made from oversized sequins or feathers.
Over the past couple of seasons there has been a strong focus on sleeves, and this came into full force in spring/summer 2019’s beautiful dresses. Sleeves were based on asymmetric constructions, namely single sleeves or straps. Max Mara, Versace, and MSGM were just some of the names to present variations on single-sleeve designs.
A week or so before Paris Fashion Week made headlines for spelling out the end of the Phoebe Philo era at Celine, Milan Fashion Week laid the foundations for plenty of alternatives when it comes to chic, minimalist dressing. Luke and Lucie Meier, the creative duo at Jil Sander, opted for a pared-back aesthetic that centred on the idea of uniform in structured, boxy shapes. Agnona’s Simon Holloway, who was inspired by the wardrobe of artist Joan Jonas, played with volume in simple, elongated silhouettes: trenches, tunics, dresses, ponchos were worn layered, sometimes belted, other times loose in a collection defined by its poised nonchalance. Salvatore Ferragamo also verged on minimalist chic, with a strong focus on cut: simple tailoring as well as sleek leather two-piece outfits and dresses came together to form a collection that was mature as it was elegant.
Finish your spring/summer 2019 look with key accessories from Milan Fashion Week, including Fendi’s belt bags, Prada’s tie-dye bag or Sportmax’s bucket hats. Alternatively, opt for woven bags or shoes, an important trend for the season: Alberta Ferretti’s basket bag and Salvatore Ferragamo’s woven footwear, inspired by the house’s archive, are among the season’s highlights.
As Milan Fashion Week proves time and time again, Italian style continues to win us over, for its combination of sophistication and allure with unashamed pizzazz.