The streets and runways of Milan were abuzz with creative energy, not to mention much-needed feelings of positivity and empowerment. From the pink pussy hats worn and distributed at the Missoni show to Dolce & Gabbana’s digitally enhanced show and the power of the 65 million collective Instagram followers of its digital influencer cast, there was definitely a message of power to the people. “This season in Milan was about maximalism. From Prada feather pieces to Fendi colorful patchwork fur, more is more,” says Barneys Fashion Director Marina Larroudé. “Milanese designers are empowering women to be feminine and unique. A women can feel strong and empowered wearing something feminine—not only when she is wearing a power suit—and that’s what we saw all over the Milan runways.” Scroll on for all of our Milan Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2017 highlights.

1. PRADA’S FEMME FATALES

In Miuccia Prada‘s world, the seductress is a headstrong woman with the smarts and drive to beguile the world—not just the men drawn to her. Retro movie posters alluding to glamorous and dangerous women plastered the walls of the runway show, and even some of the clothes. Feathers on skirt hems were reminiscent of sultry sirens but were mixed with tailored wide-wale corduroy and menswear checks, summoning the style of ’70s feminists.

Photo: AP Images

 

2. PHILOSOPHY NAMES A MUSE

“Liz,” read the embroidery of a mohair sweater paired with a voluminous layered tulle skirt in the Fall/Winter ’17 Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini collection. In referring to the actress Elizabeth Taylor as simply Liz, the brand’s Creative Director Lorenzo Serafini displays his adoration for the late icon. “She didn’t have just one style to emulate,” says Serafini when explaining her relevance to his latest collection. “Instead, it’s tapping into how she used femininity as a powerful weapon.”

 

3. GIANVITO ROSSI’S CROWD-PLEASING BOOTS

When we posted the photo of a buttery gathered-leather boot from Gianvito Rossi‘s latest collection, we knew it was too good not to share—but we had no idea it would attract such a strong reaction. We shared the comments with the designer, including several that enthusiastically compared the boot to Harry Potter’s sorting hat. Mr. Rossi’s response to the offbeat wizardly resemblance? “Well, it is indeed magical, and meant for flying around in!”

 

4. FEMALE EMPOWERMENT AT MISSONI

The air at Milan Fashion Week was thick with notes of women’s empowerment and political chatter, but nothing hit the nail on the head quite as literally as the pink pussy hat-donning final walk at Missoni. After the models—which included Gigi Hadid, Romee Strijd, and Lineisy Montero—strutted around the room full of cheering onlookers while wearing the knit pink-eared hats symbolic of women’s marchers and activists around the world, Angela Missoni took to the runway to address the crowd: “I feel the need to recognize that in a time of uncertainty there is a bond that can keep us strong and safe, that unites those that respect all human rights. Let’s show the world that the fashion world is united and fearless,”

Photo: AP Images

 

6. GUCCI’S FASHION PARADE

As the kick-off show for Milan Fashion Week, Gucci felt like a celebratory parade ushering in the maximalist season of Italian fashion. Oodles of looks—120 to be exact—were sent down the runway, each one them a little jewel box of delight as imagined through the lens of Alessandro Michele. Not to be missed were the trend-forward shoes, which will soon be hitting the shelves at Barneys New York.

Photo: FirstView

 

7. THE INTRODUCTION OF WALTER DE SILVA

One of most exciting launches at Barneys this spring is the new shoe line, Walter de Silva. The designer, a former architect and engineer who was head of Volkswagen Group Design until recently, started the collection as a true passion project. The shoes are marked by timeless proportions with thoughtful engineering for a high heel that’s nearly weightless. No trends here—only great design. It’s fitting that he chose to show at the Museo Nazionale Scienza e Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci.

 

 

8. FONTANA MILANO AS THE ULTIMATE ARTISANAL BAG

It’s always a treat to visit the headquarters and factory of Fontana Milano 1915. Taking in the hand-production that goes into making the bags is a study in true artisanship and dedication to the finest Italian product.

 

9. DOLCE & GABBANA REACH MILLENNIAL HIEGHTS

Dolce & Gabbana‘s F/W17 show was dubbed ‘New Rinascimento,’ which we took as a romantic, Italian way of saying ‘millennials.’ Scores of emerging talent stormed the runway, including Thai actress and UN Ambassador Praya Lundberg, who did a social takeover for Barneys the day of the show. Her social platform of choice? Snapchat, of course!

Photo: AP Images

 

10. REFINED ON THE STREET

When it came to “models off duty,” the ripped jeans and sweats seemed to be left behind back in NYC. Instead, models were often spotted wearing smart coats, impeccable blazers, and shoes made of what we would imagine is the finest Italian leather.

Photographed by Melodie Jeng.

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