It's that time again, fashion month is upon us once more. Next up is Milan. It's safe to say fashion has been in somewhat of a slight turmoil over the past couple of months (if not, year), continually having to adapt and readapt to new changes that no one could have foreseen. Truth be told, the fashion calendar has been yo-yo-ing ever since COVID-19 found itself front row last year. The industry's biggest names are dropping off the fashion schedules like flies (with Versace being the latest to announce it won't be showing as part of this season's MFW schedule), NYFW launched their alternate American Collections Calendar, London's gone co-ed, and the fashion press have adopted the buzzword 'phygital'.
Considering fashion has been pulled through the mud this year, it's kept itself in pretty good check. Fashion films have become the favoured way of presenting collections amongst established fashion designers as well as the newbies in town, something SHOWstudio unanimously supports (you know, being the leading fashion film platform and all). After all, one could argue fashion films are much more sustainable compared to hosting a runway show, so maybe the future of fashion really is changing for the better. The air miles can wait while fashion film has its moment.
Despite a few Italian classics not on the Milan schedule next week (goodbye, for now, Gucci, Marni and Versace), no one does escapism quite like the Italians. We don't know about you, but after we've been cooped up inside for what's felt like an eternity, fantasy and escapism have quite literally become essential to functioning as a normal human being and thank god fashion does that best. Yes our slippers are still our prized possession, but no, we don't want this lifestyle forever. Despite The New York Times referring to Milan Men's Week as 'Onesies, Long Johns and Uniform Suits For a Working From Home Age' in their round-up report last month, we hope for anything but a slew of onesies and long johns from the womenswear shows this season (unless they're Prada). Alice Cavanagh exclaimed in last weekend's Financial Times' How To Spend It 'I just want to feel sexy again' and quite frankly, we couldn't agree more. Until we can go out again, we'll let the fashion powerhouses of Milan whisk you away to a land where feeling sexy is the norm and not the exception. Read on for your guide to the week ahead.
Emilio Pucci, Sunday 28 February, 16:00 GMT
Let's talk about Pucci. The house's colourful and often psychedelic patterns have helped women worldwide embrace the lighter side of fashion for generations. Known for their signature vividly printed silk jersey dresses and blouses, the unimaginable mash of exuberant colours never fail to impress, nor do the patterns cease to delight. In recent years the Pucci design team have toned down the 70s palette and turned the dial up on neutral tones for their signature prints. S/S 21's fashion film was an ode to being young and carefree (oh how the other half live) that saw a group of young girls lose themselves in a beautiful villa set in the Italian countryside, also unveiling a collaboration with the Japanese designer Tomo Koizumi. If the clothes weren't bright enough to jazz up our wardrobes, the film was a pure delight, transporting you to the Italian countryside there and then. So Pucci, if you're reading, please can you do the same again to plunge us into a world of fantasy where COVID-19 ceases to exist; let us be hypnotised once more!
Fun fact: Emilio Pucci is the longest standing Italian fashion label to show on the Milan schedule! This year will see the house celebrate its 70th anniversary since they made their debut as part of Giovanni Battista Giorgini's show at his Villa Torrigiani - one of 10 Italian fashion houses to show at the historic event. We certainly haven't forgotten this monumental anniversary for the house so we hope they haven't either!
Giorgio Armani, Saturday 27 February, 11:00 GMT
Ahh, yes, the king of fashion himself, Signor Giorgio Armani. Armani - for want of a better term - exudes understated elegance. Otherwise known as the godfather of Italian fashion, he designs with minimalism in mind for the women that understand maximalism as a concept. After a year of choosing to only dress our top half (at best) for that classic, and now universal, 'WFH look', the elegance that Armani offers couldn't be needed more amongst the fashion crowd. Wearing a blazer over your pyjamas is all well and good for a short amount of time (not to mention the comfort of your own sweater worn five days a week, if not seven, can sometimes just feel too good to take off), but let's face it; we're done with feeling too comfortable. By bridging the gap between comfort and elegance, Armani speaks to not just one but many generations of women that revel in the simple but oh so chic Italian look that has the rest of us Europeans ogling at the sheer beauty of it. Believe it or not, Mr Armani is a trendsetter for more reasons than you may think. As COVID-19 has swept through the Western world, fashion has been left with no option other than to adopt the fashion film format or showcase a live runway show with no audience present. Armani was the first designer to take on the latter approach, choosing to host an audience free runway when the pandemic first hit for his A/W 20 collection. Will the designer stick to the same format? Only time will tell.
Prada, Thursday 25 February, 13:00 GMT
As many of you will already know (unless you've been living under a rock for the past year), we're now coming up to the one year mark since Raf Simons was announced as the co-creative director of Prada menswear and womenswear last February. Both Simons and Miuccia Prada have well-known fan bases that almost verge towards cult-like status. Their debut co-designed show took place last summer for Prada's S/S 21 womenswear collection and saw a bunch of androgynous, slim-line silhouettes, peppered with classic Raf-isms such as the graphic screen prints. Following their first menswear collection last month, fans will be expecting a more solid consolidation of whats to come. Whatever the pair come up with, the worlds of Prada and Raf Simons colliding is undoubtedly proving not to be a bad thing at all.
Fendi, Wednesday 24 February, 13:00 GMT
If we're sure about one thing and one thing only, this list isn't complete without Kim Jones' name. Writing a list of shows we're looking forward to and not including Jones' womenswear debut for Fendi would be a great offence. The designer's couture debut for the Italian house came out last month, and although some weren't afraid to admit they were a bit disappointed (many of the famous faces on the runway did distract from the clothes themselves), the collection was still everything a Fendi fantasy should be as Jones rooted into his own fascination with the Bloomsbury group, presenting what was a very Italian affair. What's most intriguing about Jones' design process is that he maps out an idea to the ninth degree, creating a world within each of his collections for fashion fans to delve into. If that isn't escapism, then what is?