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Going deeper beyond cut, colour and silhouette, LUXUO explores the cultural references that add to the value of the collections at Milan Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2024. Be it the key pieces to add to your wardrobe or what to wear to your next boardroom meeting or country-side getaway, investing in the artistry of the collection is not simply buying pieces, but also buying into the cultural relevance of the collection. From the ironic to the iconic, which brands are keeping faithful to their Maison’s DNA and which are shifting toward a new direction.

Gucci

It was down to the essentials at Gucci with a collection that honed in on luxe outerwear and classic accessories. Craftsmanship, construction, and immaculate technique resulted in the impeccable way coats hung off the body. Each piece of outerwear from bombers and peacoats to leather jackets utilised embroidery or had a hidden detail only known to the wearer — like a covered placket, and hidden buttoning on the back. When it came to accessories, the new GG Milano top-handle bag and the Bamboo bucket bag are arguably the collection’s two most coveted pieces. A recurring theme this season was a nod to the world of equestrianism. Perhaps in preparation for the Olympics later this year or simply an elongated take on the metal Horsebit loafer. The equestrian-style boots are not new to Gucci, with former creative director Alessandro Michele mixing riding influences with a subversive “kinky” twist. While Gucci may have dipped into their House archives for references, creative director Sabato De Sarno is certainly taking the House into a refreshing new, paired back direction.

Fendi

At Fendi, Kim Jones focused on clothing that emphasised comfort over excess extravagance. The collection saw practical, playful and versatile pieces that were an extension of the wearer. While Kim Jones is typically referential albeit romantically so, there was a feminine sensibility to the tailoring while the collection’s use of knitwear channeled traditional British nonchalance. In short, the collection catered towards a woman who has her eye on sophisticated elegance. Leather riding boots dominated the collection and were the utilitarian counterpart to this stylish urban woman who is no stranger to the British countryside.

Bottega Veneta

This season saw Bottega put an emphasis on pragmatic pieces for the “woman on the go” which was reflected in transitional pieces that took the wearer from day to night. There was a nod to a multi-generational wardrobe particularly with the accessories that had a sense of inheritance to them — a grandmother’s croco, a mother’s clutch, a father’s Oxfords. This added to the “non-disposability” of the collection that is on-brand for Bottega. Creative director Matthieu Blazy returned to Bottega Veneta’s roots pre-Intrecciato weaving, opting instead for abstract flower prints, cascading handkerchief hemmed skirts, and leather-painted flame patterns that abstractly mimicked the look of flames.

Moschino

It was a transitional period for Moschino as after a successful 10-year tenure of Jeremy Scott, his successor Davide Renne passed away nine days after becoming the creative director of the House. Adrian Appiolaza was later appointed in January 2024 and his debut focused on tailoring and craft or “classics to be twisted” as he stated. It was ironic because even though the collection paid homage to the House of Moschino and its founder Franco Moschino, the collection lacked the whimsicality we have come to know and love of both Moschino’s founder and Jeremy Scott. What the collection lacked in whimsicality and conceptual allure, it more than made up for with its commercial appeal. While the word “commercial” was once a frowned-upon term in fashion, the wearability of clothes can’t be ignored. The collection was perhaps Appiolaza’s own commentary on elitism and snobbish values. He knew that his debut collection would draw comparisons to his predecessors and so his inclusion of question mark emblems were a response to the “insistent interrogation of meaning at the core of any work bearing his name”. What the collection presented as a trenchcoat, a foulard, a tailored suit, or lingerie draped in pearls were all crafted to be consciously subversive.

Prada

Prada’s Fall/Winter 2024 collection was steeped in historical context. Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons embedded fashion with different eras of history to deliver modern reinterpretations of classic wardrobe staples. “Rather than an intellectual examination, this collection is an emotional reaction, to ideals of beauty that still feel resonant.” Leather jackets took inspiration from 1940s aviation and post-war era voyage practices while Prada also elevated working uniforms and sportswear with the inclusion of varsity jackets. As Prada approached the collection with a historical eye on women throughout the decades, the clothes reflected a sense of “power dressing” or clothes that were meant to protect the wearer be it in the air or on the soccer field.

Emporio Armani

Emporio Armani took inspiration from a “luminous night sky”. The collection started off with intense black ensembles, before showcasing shades of violet, jade and grey. The clothing matched this “luminous” inspiration with billowing fabric and loose trousers that encouraged movement. This collection was about the details; a play on texture and metallic embroidery to create a three-dimensionality to textured jacquard pieces that reflected the moon and stars in the night sky. The masculinity of men’s tailoring with crocheted waistcoats and sharp suits juxtaposed the delicate embellishments and rhinestone chains, showcasing the different facets of femininity. There is no one way to approach women’s dress or style. Notions of gender and feminity are blurred into one.

Diesel

It is an open secret that there is a trend of Gen Z’s venturing into Y2K fashion. Diesel evoked the youthful nostalgia of the early 2000s with their Fall/Winter showcase. With artisanal denim coated and then cracked, matted knits in extreme shapes alongside trompe l’oeil-style prints and layered mesh to give off the impression of clothes that were fraying off the body. The collection tapped into the unhindered freedom of the new millennium, no doubt tugging at the heartstrings of millennials everywhere — ultra mini-skirts, mid-riff bearing tops, patent leather boots, and barely-their blouses. The denim, devoré jersey, and faux fur selections were key pieces for every Gen Z who aims to emulate early-2000s looks.

Max Mara

The Max Mara customer is, as the brand describes a “woman-in-control with a dash of Belle Époque elegance, a hint of demi-mondaine glamour, and a glimpse of sensuality”. One thing that Max Mara does succinctly is always have a modern approach to dressing their envisioned woman. Tall or short, silhouettes are punctuated by a broad knitted band at the waist, with a narrow strap of a belt. The oversized signature lightweight “Teddy Bear” coat is the perfect mix of urban glamour. Luxe cashmere cardigans and knitted obi-style belts draw on Japanese influences, particularly with the use of kimono sleeves and coats constructed with blousing at the back, taking the form of a bomber jacket. “Masculine” influences of authoritative officer coats, cabans and power jackets in jet black and smoky greys are a testament to the modern woman’s emancipation.

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