Milan Fashion Week: graphic style at Missoni, Benetton, sexy-chic at Bally, MSGM
The most eclectic styles graced the Milan Fashion Week runways on Saturday, with Fall/Winter 2023-24 collections that were either highly visual and graphic, like Missoni and Benetton’s, or quite sensual and sexy, like those devised by Bally and MSGM.
Filippo Grazioli, who last season took over from Angela Missoni, has pulled out all the stops and created a lavish collection consistent with the long-standing Italian label’s established style, while vibrating with new energy. The style is fresh. Whether clad in tight-fitting briefs and a pretty, slinky cardigan, a Catwoman-style jumpsuit, a glittering dress or a transparent tunic, Missoni women feel at ease everywhere.
Grazioli’s starting points were knitwear and Missoni’s iconic zigzag pattern, to which he added a contemporary twist, both in terms of textures and graphic effects. The collection features a selection of coats, trousers, tight dresses and knitwear items in an array of stripes and zebra motifs. Striations collide, creating abstract graphic patterns that sometimes morph into lozenges. Missoni’s famous chevron motif also runs in multi-coloured vertical bands the length of variegated garments.
Missoni’s signature zigzag pattern is featured in all sizes, from small to maxi, and on all types of fabric, from slub knitwear to 3D effects, devoré velvet and even fur, where the pattern literally explodes. Adding to the sparkle, there are rows of lurex garlands that trim dresses, or spread across some of the coats with their meandering undulations. Another seasonal leitmotif are the large roses cropping up in patterns, embroidery and in prints decorating some of the outfits.
Benetton’s hypnotic collection
At Benetton, creative director Andrea Incontri has designed a hypnotic collection featuring prints, geometric patterns and graphic motifs that repeat endlessly, as in a kaleidoscope. The repetition effect was heightened by the mirrored walls of the runway’s set, which simulated twin metal lifts whose doors open and close at the beginning and end of the show, letting through the models, perched on colourful shoes with vinyl platform soles.
The collection’s strength lies in this idea of repetition and optical illusion. The items, which appear similar and yet are always different, can be combined at will to compose an endless series of looks. Just like the patterns that are constantly replicated on all kinds of garments. Rabbits, fruits and stylised flowers feature on suits, twin sets, skirts and gilets. Diagonal stripes come in all sizes, and horizontal hoops clash with vertical stripes. White circles on a black (or coloured) background and vice versa feature on jackets, shirts, mini-skirts and matching headscarves, for a guaranteed psychedelic vibe.
The whole collection is blended in a shaker filled with colours, generating a multiplicity of hues with a preference for vibrant colours like pink, orange, green, purple, sky blue, yellow and red. Two-tone garments are matched in total looks or in colour-block contrasts, like the top-and-skirt set with broad pink and green stripes. Incontri has tapped a plethora of fabrics for his looks (leather, cotton, viscose, vinyl, faux fur, suede leather and wool), with a focus on knitwear, Benetton’s signature material, for which he adopted a variety of techniques: cable-knit wool, bouclé effects, jacquard and crocheted wool. Worth noting are the cardigans and skimpy skirt suits made in chunky-knit crocheted wool in pastel shades, with matching baby hat.
Convincing new chapter at Bally
After a highly praised first collection last summer, Bally's new creative director Rhuigi Villaseñor, has produced a convincing second chapter, designing an uber-luxe jet setter wardrobe with an emphasis on rare materials, notably leather and reptile skin.
The Philippines-born Californian designer has used the skins of crocodiles, pythons and other types of snake to fashion superb coats in vermilion patent leather, safari jackets and sport tops, as well as ultra-chic rider boots, worn with slipped-in trousers, plus vertiginous thigh-high boots, also in suede, and of course a series of handbags.
The mood was energetic and sexy, but always very classy, the looks accented with silk scarves tied around the neck or twirling down the back, and gold chains worn as bracelets or belts. Bally women do not go unnoticed, whether wrapped in large furs or clad in a simple corset and straight skirt, a super-slinky micro dress or a knitted burgundy top-and-trousers set that emphasises the body’s natural curves. In the evening, they catch the eye with their body-hugging velvet sheath dresses, slitted to the top of the thighs.
Adolescents mature at MSGM
For next winter, MSGM’s wardrobe has evolved towards a more minimalist yet sophisticated style. The carefree adolescent of previous seasons has given way to an adult young woman, with a penchant for more understated attires featuring monochrome total looks. Starting with those in ultra-classic black, predominant in the first part of the show.
A man’s jacket, a pair of leggings, a t-shirt, a pair of trousers, a slitted skirt, a skin-tight little black dress. As well as a draped satin evening dress and a voluminous fur. The items are neatly cut, easy to combine and to enhance, by means for example of an original accessory, like the furry sandals and pumps, or a fluffy headdress midway between that of the King’s Guards and a wig. Not to mention a square fur-covered handbag, big enough to cover torso and bare chest when one opts for going out wearing a mini skirt and little else.
MSGM women may have matured, but they remain young at heart! Black gives way to the sparkle of a reflective mosaic micro dress and, of course, to a spate of colour, with ensembles in vibrant red, golden yellow, purple and green. The collection combines velvet cargo trousers with psychedelic-print and striped blouses, fastened by means of voluminous side knots. Loose sweaters and shaggy tops are worn over short dresses.
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