Including the six Indigenous Canadian designers who presented their collections.
Is fashion’s obsession with creating viral moments over? Given drag artist Alexi Stone’s buzzed-about impersonation of Jennifer Coolidge at the Diesel show, perhaps not yet. But, if Milan Fashion Week as a whole is any indication, the tide is turning. Much like New York Fashion Week, the most successful Italian collections showed restrained creativity: It wasn’t about making an elaborate ice cream sundae but instead focusing on certain beautiful flavours and letting them stand alone. Bottega Veneta and Prada were particularly outstanding examples, as the two houses concentrated on craft and chic wearability vs. over-the-top novelty.
We’re also starting to see some standout trends emerging for Fall 2023. Fifty shades of grey were presented on the runways, and shirt dresses are coming back with a vengeance. Slimming silhouettes, maxi hemlines and sheer materials will also likely continue from the spring into the cooler season.
Read on for more of what you might’ve missed at Milan Fashion Week Fall 2023.
Bottega Veneta: Third time’s the charm
It’s one thing to create a beautiful collection, but to have done it three times in a row is quite another. Bottega Veneta’s creative director Mathieu Blazy has once again proven he’s fashion’s golden child with a Fall 2023 collection that was simultaneously whimsical and wearable, blending the past seamlessly with the future. A particular favourite was a lilac men’s sweater dress that was effortlessly chic but rebellious in its non-gender-conforming attitude. If you want to invest in some key designer pieces this season, look no further.
Diesel: Will the real Jennifer Coolidge please stand up?
It’s said that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, so Jennifer Coolidge should be feeling extremely flattered after drag artist Alexi Stone impersonated her at the Diesel runway show. With the help of intense prosthetics and a clever photo opp between her and Coolidge’s The White Lotus co-star Haley Lu Richardson, no one seemed to realize she was but a lookalike. Stone’s real identity was eventually revealed, and the internet loved her even more for it.
Fendi: Work(wear) from home
By now, most of us have ditched the 24/7 loungewear we got accustomed to during lockdowns, but are still craving some comfort with a heavy dose of style. Fendi’s Fall 2023 collection, which presented a profound study of prep, utility and wearability, fits that bill. Beautiful blue knit dresses were accessorized with black combat boots. Flight suits were adorned with private school-esque pleated skirts. And menswear staples were paired with lingerie-inspired designs.
Gucci: A new (and somewhat tumultuous) beginning
The fashion world was shocked when news of Alessandro Michelle’s departure from Gucci was first announced in November. The former creative director had left such a loud legacy that the thought of someone stepping into his platform shoes was downright absurd. Enter Sabato De Sarno, formerly of Valentino, and his first collection for the brand. While it’s clear De Sarno was still working with some remnants from his predecessor, the Fall 2023 collection was undeniably different from what we’ve come to expect for seven years. Whether it’s different in a good way is yet to be determined, as the collection received mixed reviews, with The Telegraph going as far as to call it “sleazy and misogynistic.”
Prada: Working 9-5
For most of us, fashion is an escape from the mundane, but for Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons, “normal life” inspired Prada’s Fall 2023 collection. Backstage the two creative directors told The Guardian they were inspired by worker’s uniforms, which they described as “sartorial representations of the beauty of care, of love, of reality … of responsibility.” Cue the practical front pockets, collars, blazers and white nurse-inspired skirts that were both understated and timely.
White Milano: Indigenous pride
Is there anything Indigenous activist and designer Sage Paul can’t do? She’s a founding member of Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto. She won the Changemaker of the Year at the Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards in 2022. Now, she’s spearheading the Indigenous Fashion Arts Trade Project in collaboration with WHITE Milano, Italy’s largest concept tradeshow. From February 24 to 27, six Indigenous Canadian designers — Evan Ducharme, Lesley Hampton, Niio Perkins Designs Robyn McLeod, Section 35 (Justin Louis), and She Was a Free Spirit (Erica Donovan) — presented collections during Milan Fashion Week, marking the first Indigenous presence in the show’s history. The event was a glorious success (because, of course, it was!), and we love seeing such underrepresented talent finally being celebrated!