Milan Fashion Week: Turning Up The Heat

The color palette permeating most spring/summer ’11 shows is the strongest it’s been in seasons. After the advertising-driven fashion week in New York and The International Herald Tribune‘s Suzy Menkes remarked last February that Milan’s five-day fashion week “deserves more from the fashion world than a cursory glance at the shows.” And indeed, with most front row seats featuring Dolce & Gabbana-clad editors from the world’s best blogs and newspapers, it’s easy to see why Milan’s designers were particularly on their toes—and perfectly on point—this season.

Dolce & Gabbana’s crisp white palette was accented with the kinds of patterns that the duo knows best. Doily lace pleated shorts, flowing dresses fit for an adult baptism and broderie anglaise were all present along with the label’s signature love of leopard print. It was a new direction for the brand, which is still basking in its 25th anniversary glow the industry, as it continues to innovate leading trends.

Prada’s Josephine Baker-style take on summer prints, meanwhile, incorporated Frida Kahlo box shaped Hawaiian shirts, banana prints and bold, bright stripes on skirts fit for a tribal dance. Although Miuccia Prada is known to demand changes that make an item “more ugly,” she is pushing aesthetic boundaries in the best way possible—Prada calls it “minimal baroque” but we call it a pure revolution.

Jil Sander’s Raf Simons used bold striping in an unrivaled collection set to perfectly play on the proportions of a woman’s body: layered suiting in bright purples and cobalt blues, tube skirts that featured a contrast tulip frill at the hip and long skirts pin tucked at the waist and printed in wide stripes. Simons’ bold choices were complemented by strong silhouettes coupled with electric colors and prints that almost seemed to revolt against all things minimal, while somehow remaining distinctly minimal.

Emilio Pucci‘s look back to the ’70s meant long layered ruffle dresses, tie-up thigh-high boots and delft blue printed kaftans that were enough to inspire an instant Bahamas getaway. The cut-out bikinis and lace-up trouser and blouse combination may have taken the decade’s Grecian vibe a tad too far, but laser cut fabrics and knitted dresses seemed suitable for a horse riding goddess on a deserted beach.

Moschino Cheap and Chic also worked broderie anglaise into its collection, which was splashed with turquoise shell details and Chanel-inspired suit jackets that were accessorized with taffeta handbags. Shell necklaces and belted knits were teamed with oversized printed t-shirts and polka dotted pants. The collection was fun and sassy—and, as always, chic.

Leopard print was the most obvious feature of the Blumarine collection, appearing on trousers, long dresses and kaftans in a variety of colors that proved to be somewhat overwhelming. Roberto Cavalli‘s similarly flowing silhouettes were captured in a beige and mauve color palette that provided to be a simmered down alternative to the brighter colors among the other collections. Versace, meanwhile, worked with cut-out asymmetrical dresses and sculptured Grecian armour-style pieces fit for a sexy but determined lady—someone much like Donatella Versace herself.

As s/s ’11 Milan Fashion Week comes to a close, so does the buzz of a city whose people live for looking good—especially in those hot summer months.

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