Over the last few years, Milan has cultivated a beguiling mix of storied tradition and craftsmanship with a buzzing vitality that proves it’s not a town resting on its laurels. This season, that striking combination was in full force, bringing a refreshing sense of excitement to the collections. We especially anticipated Jil Sander and Bottega Veneta. Both houses have entered new lead by creatives who aren’t afraid to think outside of the box. Their bold yet understated offerings were a refreshing change of pace from some of the louder collections of the moment.

Meanwhile, the ‘90s grunge influence was felt even in Milan—especially at Prada and Versace—but interpreted in playful, elevated ways that felt very Italian and very in line with their respective DNA. Accessories were also in full force—sleek, leather bags of all sizes at Tod’s, sneakers to cover at Gucci, and still new interpretations of the logo at Fendi. Scroll on for our highlights from a sunny, optimistic week of fashion in Italy.

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A NEW ERA AT BOTTEGA VENETA
There has been much anticipation for Céline alum Daniel Lee’s first runway collection as Creative Director of Bottega Veneta—and it didn’t disappoint. He wasn’t afraid to be bold and forward thinking, but in a controlled, sophisticated way. We loved the mix of leathers and knits, the contrast of heavy and light fabrications, and the overall confidence the collection conjured.

 

JIL SANDER’S MODERN WARDROBE
Husband-and-wife duo Lucie and Luke Meier continue to inject bold, new energy into Jil Sander, while keeping with its core codes of minimalism. We were smitten with the silhouettes: sculptural wool felt coats, oversized tunics that skimmed over trousers, and relaxed leather pants in chocolate tones. The collection read as a smart, edited fall wardrobe—one we (and you) will want to wear.

 

ROMANTIC GRUNGE AT PRADA
Nobody mixes references with as much irreverence and wit as Miuccia. Her FW19 vision was grunge, perhaps even pseudo goth (some of the hairstyles had a Wednesday Addams feel) meets romance, with florals aplenty. But they were Prada florals, of course—graphic, three-dimensional, and far from boring. There were pink glittery heels. And there were combat boots. It was pretty perfect.

 

FASHION’S GREATEST LOVE STORY
Fendi and Karl Lagerfeld’s love story began 54 years ago, when he first started at the iconic house and Silvia Venturini Fendi was only 4 years old. FW19 is his final collection and proof that his dedication to creating beauty through design never waned. From the beautiful silhouettes to next season’s must-have bags, it was truly special to see on the runway, just as it will be special to wear come fall.

 

LEATHER LOVE AT TOD’S BAGS
Bags of all sizes punctuated every single look at the Tod’s FW19 runway show—sometimes two at a time. Even passing quickly down the runway, the beauty of the craftsmanship was hard to miss. We also loved the shoes—modern, cool takes on classic footwear the brand is known for.

 

WOW-FACTOR AT MONCLER
This season was the second Moncler Genius design series, and the brand unveiled collections with designers like Simone Rocha, Francesco Ragazzi, and Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli. For his collection, Piccioli partnered with model/designer Liya Kebede on 12 gowns that literally made our jaws drop (us, and the entire Internet). The couture-esque puffer dresses had prints designed by Ethiopian artists and were brought to life in a stunning campaign.

 

NEW LABEL TO LOVE: PLAN C
The name Plan C plays on both Creative Director Carolina Castiglioni’s first and last name, a name that gives the line buzz right off the bat. And while she comes from a well-established fashion dynasty, Castiglioni’s bright colors, bold patterns, and feminine silhouettes express a POV all her own. Read more about the exciting launch on The Window, and shop the debut collection now.

 

THE GUCCI EXPERIENCE
Gucci knows how to put on a show. The experience began with the invite: a papier-mâché Greek statue mask that arrived in a giant wooden box. Understated Gucci is not. The set, at the Gucci Hub, was kaleidoscopic and mirrored, intensifying the theatrics of the collection. And nobody does extravagance like Alessandro Michele, who even makes sneakers into game changers. Next season, expect Gucci’s sneakers to edge in on the loafer as a fashion-girl wardrobe stable.

 

VERSACE, VERSACE, VERSACE
Donatella’s take on the ‘90s was more glamour than grunge. It felt sexy as ever, but a bit undone. There were oversized safety pins, lace tights, bondage harnesses, and slip dresses, plus some fun T-shirts made in collaboration with the Richard Avedon Foundation. This sparkly orange gown with pink and blue lace peeking from underneath came to life on Adut Akech and captured the spirit of the show.

 

PHILOSOPHY JUST WANTS TO HAVE FUN
Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini’s collection was a parade of modern, flirty party outfits. Some slinkier than others, some shinier than others—all sexy. Serafini shifted from his usual ‘70s and ‘80s references to embrace a ‘90s vibe, again through his own lens. When we visited his showroom a few days later we saw images of Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell in slinky slips on his mood board, and he managed to capture that energy in a totally of-the-moment way.

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