Designers Had California on the Brain on Day 1 of Milan Fashion Week

The whole industry is coming down with Cali fever.
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L to R: Fay, No.21, Fausto Puglisi, Roberto Cavalli. Photos: Imaxtree

L to R: Fay, No.21, Fausto Puglisi, Roberto Cavalli. Photos: Imaxtree

The unofficial kickoff to fall 2016 Fashion Month was on Feb. 10, when Hedi Slimane staged a Saint Laurent runway show-slash-concert at the Palladium in Hollywood — a storied theater in the designer's adopted hometown of Los Angeles. Slimane is heading back to Europe to present part two of his collection during Paris Fashion Week, but he's not alone in thinking that the West Coast is the best coast: A number of the labels that showed in Milan on Wednesday were heavily inspired by California in their collections, from the palm trees to the music festivals to the general rock 'n' roll attitude of the state.

At Fay, designers Tommaso Aquilano and Roberto Rimondi ran with the Western theme, with luxe cowboy boots, easy floral dresses, tribal patterned knits and fringes galore that would look right at home on the polo fields at Coachella. Alessandro Dell'Acqua's collection for No.21 played up '90s grunge — silk slip dresses, oversized grandpa cardigans, buffalo plaids — but mixed in elements of glam rock, including sparkly shoes that recalled Doc Martens, leopard print furs and a series of looks printed with palm trees against a multicolored sunset backdrop. (The latter brought to mind Saint Laurent's men's spring 2016 collection.) 

A palm motif appeared again at Fausto Puglisi, popping up on everything from full skirts to varsity jackets to high-slit evening gowns, with a number of pieces emblazoned with the word "California" in script. Finally, Peter Dundas showed a typically rocking collection for Roberto Cavalli, name-checking Janis Joplin and early 1900s Hollywood sex symbol Theda Bara as points of inspiration. This brought some high-octane glamour — intarsia furs, shiny silk scarves, velvet suiting, gilded gowns — that harkened back to the glory days of the Sunset Strip. But if a jaunt to Joshua Tree is more your speed, there was plenty of laid-back, festival-ready denim offered, too. 

Sure, Milan Fashion Week has only just begun, but designers really seem to have California girls on the brain. Here's hoping you want to dress like one come fall. 

Coachella or bust! A look from the Fay fall 2016 collection. Photo: Imaxtree

Coachella or bust! A look from the Fay fall 2016 collection. Photo: Imaxtree