If we learned one thing at LFW, it’s that skin is in for Spring ’22… and in Milan, we learned that when it comes it clothes, the season will be all about pastels, prints and the year 2000. From Versace, to Fendi, Prada, MM6 Maison Margiela, MSGM, Marni and the newly reinvigorated Blumarine, brands went all out after a few years of c0llective sadness, giving us all of the dreamy, fluffy, freaky and patterned ‘fits of our Paris Hilton-themed dreams. Oh… and did we even mention Fendace yet? Yeah.. Two of the world’s biggest Italian brands came together to give us one collection, filled with all of this season’s trends on Y2K steroids. And we loved it. Or, as our ultimate aughts icon and Oyster cover girl would say, “That’s hot.”
Read about our favourite collections, below.
Closing out Milan Fashion Week in a show of epic proportions — I mean, the catwalk featured everyone from Gigi Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski to Naomi Campbell, Kristen McMenamy and Kate Moss — was Fendace: the brainchild collab from Kim Jones and Silvia Venturini of Fendi and Donatella Versace of, well, Versace. An unlikely-seeming match at first, Fendi all fine lines and sophisticated glamour, and Versace, all sexy maximalism, the Fendace collection actually made perfect sense, and was a glittery snapshot of all of our favourite trends for the coming season: prints, pastels, sparkles, fur and the 2000s. Sign us up, please.
Building on the logomania trend of the last few seasons, Fendace took the iconic Versace and Fendi logos and brought them together in a way that actually felt accurate. No look felt too Versace, or too Fendi — and that’s a feat, especially with iconic Versace prints and Fendi-covered jackets cruising down the runway. But the brands really came together, fusing the over-the-top glamour of both brands to give us an over-the-top collection, and presentation. And we wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Before the Fendace debut, Donatella showed her latest Versace collection: a mix of neons, pastels and Versace’s classic black, topped off with a vinyl headscarf (yes, please, also proving that we — and Frank Ocean — were right when we said Babushkacore was not going anywhere). Each season, Versace proved that they have a unique ability to always channel the classic supermodel sex appeal of the brand’s ’80s and ’90s archive, while still keeping things fresh. For Spring ’22, that means the iconic Versace print in new and exciting colours, and their iconic metal mesh dress in trendy pastels that rival even Paris’ famous birthday dress.
At Fendi, Kim Jones and Silvia Venturini took things in a different direction than they did with Fendace, with lots of whites and muted pastels — more refined, but still super fun and sexy. And of course, there were still glimpses of the Y2k party girl that will be taking over this Spring, with knee-high patterned boots and the dreamiest pastel fur that we’re totally frothing over. But if the Fendace girl is partying in London or LA, the Fendi girl is in Aspen or St. Tropez this season. Instead of sparkly tube tops and patterned minis, she’s wearing structured suits and flowing skirts… But she is definitely still prepared for when things get hot: underneath those classy blazers and fluffy furs are plunging necklines and barely-there bikinis. Also, lots of sheer everything. So, don’t get it twisted: the Fendi girl is not uptight, she’s just a little more understated… that is, until she puts on her coat. Then she’s still the life of the party.
Blumarine has undergone a major reinvention the last few seasons, bringing back their ’90s and 2000s glory as the go-to label for Y2K cool girls like Devon Lee Carlson. This season, the brand did what they do best: 2000s glamour at its finest. Think: butterfly tops, denim on denim, faux-fur lined cropped cardis and mini everything. If you were thinking the aughts renaissance was just a passing phase, this collection proves that the millennium is having a major moment. So, think of this as an opportunity to try all the trends you missed back in 2002: heardscarves, low-rise jeans and matching cardigan/skirt sets. But don’t worry, you won’t look like a total time capsule: a mix of neons and pastels gives the collection a modern twist, as does the mix and matched textures — patterned silk, baggy denim, luxe faux fur, sheer mesh and sexy lace — proving this is not a throwback, it’s an update. And even though it’s covered in enough pink, butterflies and rhinestones to make Miss Piggy blush, it still has just the right amount of toughness… This isn’t Paris at the party; it’s Paris flipping off papparazzi. Do we even need to say it? We will. Loves it.
MSGM has a firm grasp on maximalism. As a brand, they’ve found that elusive sweet spot, somehow making sure that clashing prints, neon colors and different textures all come together to create a look that’s not just a cool, but subtle. Subtle maximalism? I know… I definitely don’t know her… But MSGM sure does.
Part of that trick is the way they pair maximalist prints with minimalist silhouettes, and this season was no different. That combo makes a zany power clashing moment go from kooky school teacher who got dressed in the dark to a high fashion cool girl in an instant. As someone who prefers all black, all the time, it says a lot when a brand makes me want to try wearing neon, pastel and florals. This season, the brand went all in on all three (was there something in the Italian drinking water? We’re not complaining — we want to bottle some!). But this collection felt decidedly less Y2k than so many of the other MFW moments. There were definitely nods to the era (just that mix of neon pastel pink and green reminds me of 7th grade homeroom), but the silhouettes were all modern, especially the low slung denim with a straight leg, and high waisted, slightly flared knit bottoms. While so many of the other other brands went for hyperbole this season, MSGM channeled all the same trends, but in a way that felt more understated.
Speaking of understated… Prada has become synonymous with simple elegance. Over the years, Miuccia has mastered effortlessness and subtlety, making collections that are somehow cool, sweet, sophisticated and sexy all the same time. Seriously, we don’t know how she does it.
This season was the first-ever in-person presentation of the ongoing collaboration between Miuccia and Raf Simons. Shown in Milan and Shanghai at the same time (leave it to Prada to figure out how to dominate the fashion calendar with just one collection, right?), the collection was about “our engagement with technology, the use of technology to mediate between humanity,” said Miuccia, as well as sex through the lens of contemporary society. Thinking about traditional markers of sex appeal, like “trains, corsets, evening gowns — these things that are historically beautiful,” said Simons, the duo wanted to actively subvert them, offering their take on modern sensuality without over-the-top sex appeal. The result was a decidedly minimalist offering that was feminine and delicate with a menswear twist: mini skirts and dresses in the brand’s signature nylon style paired with classic leather motorcycle jackets and trenches, structured knits with silky skirts, and simple blush-colored dresses paired with heavy leather arm bands. It was sexy in a way that was totally un-obvious; and for a collection so focused on modernity, it did feel futuristic, but also timeless.
In that way, Prada didn’t go for the seasons big Y2K trend, but they did channel one of the season’s biggest moments in the form of the palette. Still, Prada has a way of knowing what’s now and what’s next, and still doing something totally different. I mean, they’re Prada… They could do anything at this point, and we’d all still gush over it.
MM6 Maison Margiela
Another brand that always goes their own way: MM6 Maison Margiela. This season, the brand went for their own kind of maximalism, with all-over black and white checkered prints and Victorian ruffle collars. In between, there were some metallic looks and deconstructed blazers.
I know what I just described seems all over the place, but the collection was actually classic and cohesive. Inspired by surrealists André Breton, Leonora Carrington and Claude Cahun, the collection was just the kind of surrealist daydream we’ve all been craving after almost two years that have been surreal AF… and not in a good way.
At Marni, Creative Director Francesco Risso took this season’s printed maximalism to new heights… Literally. Models cast by New York’s Midland Agency, including Oyster faves Paloma Elsesser and baker Lexie Smith, walked the runway with blue and yellow dyed sky-high mohawks. Wearing clashing stripes, floral prints and graphic patterns, Marni Spring ’22 was a punky ode to IRL fun and freedom — something we’ve all been missing.
Next the models, performers and guests of the show were also given upcycled one-of-a-kind garments to wear, partly inspired by Risso’s distaste for the digital-only encounters we’ve been having for the last nearly two years. The idea, and the collection, “was about going back to the practice of what we do, which is making clothes for people, one to one,” he said. And that ethos embodied the whole collection, which had a handmade feel, thanks to the purposefully crooked graphic lines, undone hems and mixed proportions. The texture too, channeled the IRL, with knits, jersey and floral appliqués — things you want to literally touch, especially after all this time with no contact.
Though it was over-the-top (in every sense of the word!), those details gave the collection an ease — one we don’t often see, especially on the high fashion runways of Milan and Paris — that was refreshing. But let’s be real… Only Marni could make handmade knits, graphic stripes, mohawks and floral appliqués feel effortless.
Images: courtesy of the brands