by Jeremy Danté

MILAN – more is more in the fashion capital of milan. over indulgent, maximal and gold gilded- nothing is too lavish in the world of italian style. while headlining designers like prada and dolce & gabbana are the ones to look out for, this season, subtlety was what stood out most for me. collections strolled the runway with imagination, some with humor and some pushed the limits of what we know now as style. as the fashion calendar draws near it’s close, these collections are the most interesting and captivating five out of milan.

GUCCI – while other labels helped further push the trend of print, gucci took a back seat. instead of opting for bold color, as they have for the past few seasons, they decided to cast a spellbound palette of pastels for the FW14 season. in milan, gucci is a crowned jewel. a leader of forward style, in a way that blends italian heritage with europan polish, this collection played up the loves of creative director frida giannini. seventies glam was the name of the game, as has been many seasons before at the house of gucci. there was a polished functionality that i loved about this collection. the clothes were well styled, and from look to look there was a cohesion that blended the collections palette beautifully. the collection felt soft and feminine from start to finish. the palette almost whispered and the outerwear was done in textiles that didn’t feel heavy. there was a certain avoidance of anything typically fall in this collection, that i really, really loved. this approach was useful for milan, since most labels in the region are over the top, capitalize on gimmicks and take things a little too far, stylistically speaking. nearly every model walked the runway with matching eyewear, accentuating another avenue of successful revenue generation at gucci, in the form of accessories sales. except for the print standard of leopard, the collection was kept streamlined. crystal encrusted necklines were presented which brought the collection to a close, but weren’t necessarily needed in conveying a message of strong suited style. a standout in the world of italian style for the season, this was one of my favorite collections, for it’s poised approach to style and polished level of execution. a simple and striking message of style.

DSQUARED² – conceptually ambitious, every season, dean and dan have again presented another stella collection for the FW14 show season. as one of my favorite menswear collections earlier this year, the DSQUARED² womenswear collections similarly serves in the same lane, but with a feminine twist. unsurprisingly, the collection was beautifully executed, with supermodel on the rise, malaika firth opening the show backed by two models draped in white. inspiration seemed to have been sourced from valley of the dolls and the film, girl, interrupted. up-do’s, mod styled dresses and model pairings that resembled nurses were all seen in the collection. the theatricality of DSQUARED² is so reliable at this point that it almost has spinned into a wheel of redundancy. small glimpses of  changes are seen from season to season, from menswear to womenswear; but what has really created a shift with this collection? there are signatures that work, signatures that bring about a feel of familiarity. this collection seems dulled in brining anything new to the table, but does not completely sacrifice the feel of inspiring style. DSQUARED² brings a show to the forefront of milan, and almost in a camp type of way. it almost pokes fun at fashion, while representing such cultural nuances, or media happenings. commercial where needed an imaginative where unexpected, the collection was fair and presented pretty options of women, but some aspects of design and style were left unattended.

SPORTMAX – there is a certain element of commercial appeal that i think with, just naturally, when reviewing collections. my selections from each fashion capital aren’t necessarily the best, but the most interesting. so is the case with sportmax. each season, there is a poise to the clothes. outside of that poise, this season, sportmax seemed to raise the bar. a punctuation was shown in this collection this season, an exclamation. the minimal design aspects were easily rivals of calvin klein in new york, while the use of leopard was easily a competitor of what we seen at gucci with a likely friendly slash in the price tag. the fur and use of reptile were enough to make fendi’s furrier do a double take and the reptile was a nod to what tom ford did. fashion is about competition, and this season, sportmax did just that- compete. a strong model casting, as well as inclusion of print in a streamlined way- it was all very chic. what i love of sportmax is the way that they escape the typicality of milan, that overdone, that more is more approach- you don’t feel that with their clothes. and when you do- it’s controlled in a thoughtful way. it’s smart, it’s commercial. commercial can seem like a daunting adjective for many high end labels in narrow minds, but that to me equates to sales. sale-ability is of acute importance in the competitive world of high fashion. and what sportmax proved this season, is that the race to the finish is definitely on. sportmax is a strong contender with a viable vision.

FENDI – perhaps the most innovative part of all show season were the fendi drones that captured the show, flying above the runway. a glimpse into the future, fendi’s website supported a greater thrust into the world of social media and provided a larger dialogue for where fashion could conquer on the digitial scene. this, all without a single look yet presented on the runway. when the clothes began to stroll the catwalk, on the bodies of the models, and the drones took flight- you seen an elegance presented through a layer of cool. the heritage of the label was evident with use of fur, and range was the ultimate theme of the collection. long coats, short shorts, knee high boots and mesh. there was a true ‘fuck it’ sensibility to the aesthetics and choices in design elements this season. it was arrogant in all the right ways, to put a model on the catwalk with her thighs out and then to expose her skin in looks of mesh for the fall. it was young, and vivid. fendi as a label has really graduated from this stifled of style. with a label as entrenched in history as themselves, it’s often a struggle to create a new sense of beauty in this rapidly transforming industry of high fashion. there is this beautiful modernization that has happened with the iconic italian label, and at the hand of karl lagerfeld, this family heirloom of a label will continue to see more growth, and greater thrusts into the future. i loved this collection for it’s forward portrayal of femininity, embracing of diversity and strength of female character.

MOSCHINO – jeremy scott has quickly made his mark at the house of moschino. his humorous approach to fashion is no laughing matter, but is it so bad that it’s good? mcdonald’s, spongebob, and gold lamé. that’s what was presented. unbelievably so, it kind of worked. instantly, like true PR magic, pieces from the collection were seen already being worn. the collection felt very 90’s chanel to me. it was camp, it was playful and all of those things that jeremy scott has become known for, through his own namesake label’s work, as well as his licensed work with brands like adidas. one major mark of criticism was that; this was not moschino. this was very much jeremy scott, but it made no attempt at differentiation between how he has been mindful of the label’s own DNA. it referenced fast food, cartoons and took elements like nutrition facts and exaggerated everything. while this is a sure shot conversation piece, will scott be able to move past gimmicks and really sell? fashion on the runway is very about showmanship, commercialization and press. while this may cause a ruckus for the moment, when will the jokes subside and a serious take on fashion be lined up. it’s cute for the time being to see sponge bob splashed onto an italian catwalk, but come on- is this a punchline or an insult to the seriousness of what large an impact style and dress have on us as a human race? when all is said and done, gimmicks hold no real worth of taste level. gimmicks do little to move culture or art forward. content was served, perspective was allowed a platform; but in what ways was fashion really changed by this collection? milan brought out it’s share of glamour, and laughable attempts all the same. paris awaits, the proper finale of show season, where style leaders produce ideas of the future in the present.

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