Of the four main fashion weeks, Milan is not known for reinventing the wheel fashion-wise. Nor is it known for producing commercial ready-to-wear, a la New York. Rather, it's about luxury and craftsmanship, and — famously — glamour and sex appeal. This can make the clothes shown there feel a little unattainable for many of us, but this season, a few brands seemed set on changing Milan's reputation, whether by an infusion of new talent (new creative directors made their debuts at Iceberg, Emilio Pucci and Roberto Cavalli) or an unusually casual, real-girl approach, like Versace's utilitarian (but still sexy) collection and Jil Sander's more languid aesthetic for spring. There were a number of emerging designers who showed stellar collections as well.
In short, we liked a lot of what we saw — and actually wanted to wear a lot of it. Read on for the best of the best of what we haven't already covered.
Stella Jean's mixed prints
Mixing several prints that are inspired by entirely different cultures — from South America to West Africa to Salvador, Bahia (according to Vogue) — is risky business, but Stella Jean pulled it off with aplomb. The collection was filled with incongruous looks that shouldn't work, but do. With the right eye, tailoring and confidence, you can do anything, it seems.
No.21’s casual gowns
Dresses over shirts weren't just a trend on the streets of Milan — many designers are showing this look on the runway, too. We particularly loved the way it was done by Alessandro Dell'acqua at No. 21. Simple T-shirts gave his light, lacy, romantic dresses a much more casual — and therefore modern — feel.
Max Mara’s star print
We're not sure exactly how this star print, seen on sweaters, vests and outerwear, tied into the very clear nautical theme of Max Mara's spring 2016 show, but it stood out. And I think just enough time has passed since Hedi Slimane's Saint Laurent star cardigan came out that this could end up a street style trend next spring.
Iceberg’s reboot by Arthur Arbesser
What do you do when your fashion house is feeling a tad stale? Hire a buzzy young designer. This is what Iceberg found in Arthur Arbesser, who also runs his own namesake line, and follows in the footsteps of Marc Jacobs, Giambattista Valli and Dean and Dan Caten in taking the job. "I took it lighter," he told us backstage. "I'm a little more intellectual, conceptual with my thing; I decided with Iceberg there's more of a humor." It was light indeed: casual, graphic and colorful, but wearable, for a girl who doesn't take herself too seriously. For more on his namesake line, see here.
Jil Sander’s delicate dresses
There was a lot to love in Rodolfo Paglialunga's latest Jil Sander collection — his third for the brand — but we fell hardest for the languid silk dresses, worn in most looks with a low-heeled mule. This one in particular made an impact with its soft pink tones and elegant crisscross back, seen below.
LaDoubleJ x Mantero
Matchesfashion.com hosted a party with J.J. Martin, a fashion journalist and founder of LaDoubleJ.com, to celebrate her capsule collection of dresses made with reissued fabrics by Mantero, a famous Italian supplier. The printed T-shirt maxi dresses are street style bait at its finest, yet also easy to wear.
MSGM's non-girlie ruffles
The casualization (a non-word I'll continue using) of glamorous dresses continued at MSGM. Massimo Giorgetti took what might typically be seen as an ideal clubbing outfit — an orange one-shoulder dress with ruffles — and made it almost tomboyish by styling it over an oversized T-shirt, paired with sneakers. His collection featured a number of looks that made ruffles feel more wearable than they ever had before.
Ferragamo's sweetly tied straps
Like a number of brands in Milan, Salvatore Ferragamo took on a sweetness we weren't used to, but loved. This was chiefly accomplished by dresses with straps tied into bows at the shoulders. Along with off-the-shoulder looks, we think this will be very popular next summer.
Missoni's striped polos
Angela Missoni's Maasai tribespeople inspiration notwithstanding, we loved the way she used the brand's signature stripes on relaxed knit polo shirts.
Damir Doma's floating tops and dresses
Damir Doma, like many other designers this season, seemed to make a conscious decision not to use any conventional closures, like zippers or buttons. Instead, everything was gently tied on. At Damir Doma particularly, this decision lent the collection a floaty effect, as if dresses and blouses just took it upon themselves to wrap around the models in the perfect way.