Fendi, Diesel open Milan Fashion Week with sense of renewal

MILAN — Milan Fashion Week opened on Wednesday with a sense of renewal.

Milan’s five-day calendar almost returned to pre-COVID-19 levels, with 68 catwalk shows, 104 presentations and 30 events. A bevy of new designers showed up, many of them colored, for perhaps the most diverse Milan fashion show week ever.

Among the highlights of the week: Haitian-Italian designer Stella Jean returns after a two-year hiatus; Bally makes his runway debut in Milan with Filipino-American designer Rhuigi Villasenor; and Maximilian Davis debuts as Salvatore Ferragamo’s new creative director.

Here are snaps from Wednesday’s shows including Fendi and Diesel.

Fendi womenswear designer Kim Jones has pared the normally luxurious Fendi showroom to polished concrete floors and painted steel beams and bleachers to show his next warm-weather collection.

He saved the luxury for the runway looks. The spring-summer 2023 collection was a thoughtful balance of construction, texture and color.

Slanted satin-tied aprons formed a flowing layer over trousers, while perforated leather versions were like sweaters over sheer dresses.

Layering was key to the styling. Jones played with texture, slipping an asymmetric nubbed wool coat over a sheer top, both in neutral tones, saving the pop of color for the platform boots. Silk dresses were draped and tied to the form, and carefully constructed satin cloaks had peep slits and were tied elegantly in the back like an elaborate Japanese bow.

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The silhouette has ranged from body-hugging rib-knit dresses with restrained slits to flowing asymmetric silk gowns. Ribbed cardigans with square necklines gave a scholastic accent to skirts with deep, sexy slits down each side, or silk pants with utility pockets with trailing pocket clasps.

Neutrals of sage, copper and white anchored the color palette, which exploded with accent pieces in off-white versions of seafoam green, cornflower blue, tangerine and flamingo pink.

The final look underscored the understated elegance of Jones’ proposals: a racing-back tank top tucked into white pants softened by this season’s pinafore half-skirt—all in the silkiest white.

“What I’m particularly interested in about Fendi is exploring the notion of functional utility alongside femininity __ because Fendi women are strong women with full, busy lives,” Jones said in the show notes.

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Fendi’s smallest bag to date was worn on a chain around the neck. Logos have been subtle: knit into the inseams of sweaters and only visible when turned up, or with the double F logo on the lining, or like initials on the back of Jones’ new bow-tie obi belt.

Shoes included colorful platform boots or sliders. Jones moves the brand away from its traditional fur and instead focuses on the Silvia Venturini Fendi handbags, which use glossy leather, canvas and shearling.


At a rare Open Door Fashion Week event, Diesel made way for the general public to take to the upper tiers of the runway show, which centered around inflatable dolls entwined in a luscious threesome.

On the ground floor, models walked under a crouching female figure, past a man lying on his stomach, head turned cautiously.

Glenn Martin’s cohesive women’s and men’s collection expanded the meaning of denim.

He’s nailed the low-rise, high-waist debate, his first look giving the impression of a low-rise silhouette rising into high-waist panties – the illusion of having it both ways . The look was completed with a matching bra top.

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For him, the pants seemed to sag and a distressed denim wash sleeveless sweatshirt was tucked in.

Denim effects were inked into sheer vest tops worn open over Daisy Duke style shorts with matching denim stilettos. The male counterpart was significantly more covered, in a double hooded trench coat paired with worn trousers and denim boots.

Denim itself has been well-crafted in innovative washes reminiscent of the desert, and could be accompanied by a bright palette of separates in orange, green or pink.

The collection evolved into increasingly dystopian looks that appear to be inspired by the sci-fi classic Dune, in sandy and tattered styles as a soundtrack hinted at the giant sandworm’s call. These included layered and flowy halters and skirts fastened with multi-notched belts, or a gray hoodie over a tattered skirt. New iterations of jeans featured big fluttering leg panels, as if they were flying.

Adding to the sci-fi vibe: A model with green-tinted makeup wore a shimmering reptile-style mini dress.

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