Milan’s Women Fashion Week has just closed its doors on 24 February. An optimistic mood pervaded the city with various shows and events presenting much creativity, and an estimated +5% increase attendance. Despite the novelties, a change in terms of organization and events are expected for Milan – especially after the arrival of Italian Fashion Chamber’s new CEO Jane Reeve - Giorgio Armani has raised his discontent against the organization complaining about the fact he was left alone showing on the last day when many foreign buyers and press (including Anna Wintour) had already left the city.

Never missing creativity
Despite difficulties and polemics, creativity, innovation and ideas were not missing for this edition of fashion shows. Dresses and knitted tops mixed with skirts and fur coats will be the absolute musts for f/w 2014/2015 and – above all – great innovation in textiles with prints, new material mixes, coating and applications will characterise new collections. Parkas, bomber jackets and raglan-sleeve tops characterised many shows. Colours are pervading the scene – either mixed together and clashing or as single accents in the darkest contexts. Grey continues to be the new modern basic – Giorgio Armani reinvented his collection by simply adding lime and similar shades of yellow-green accents to a wide series of interpretations of the flannel material worn almost at every hour from head to toe – accessories included. Other must-haves include flesh-tones such as soft pink and beiges (Andrea Incontri, Gucci), bordeaux, bottle and sage green (Simonetta Ravizza, Ermanno Scervino, Kristina Ti) and flashing reds (Prada, Costume National, Angelo Marani, Alberta Ferretti, Rocco Barocco).

Dream, dream dream
Dreaming cannot do any harm – and in fashion it can only help! Fancy atmospheres pervaded Etro’s gipsy styles mixing colourful embroideries and micro-mirrors as well as silk embroidered and printed straight tunics, shirts and dresses. Dolce&Gabbana told their unique made in Italy fairy tale inhabited by a grown-up Little Red Riding Hood, fairies and princesses wearing embroidered, key and keyhole printed silk dresses, wool coats and jackets carrying decorations from popular tales. A whirlwind of colourful prints and multi-ethnic inspiration characterised Stella Jean’s show. All models of the show were produced by artisan women from Burkina Faso, as part of the Ethical Fashion project by ONU ITC agency.

Visionary-cultural fashion
A conceptual-chic inspiration characterised many shows – each one interpreted according to the designer’s unique sensitivity. Marni mixed sporty neoprene zipped jackets and long skirts in bright colours such as red or fuchsia with contrasting fluorescent fox shawls, as well as multi-colour or vertical striped fur coats. Lucid tracksuit materials were also employed for full outfits, while wool-cloth compact skirts and tops were decorated with panels or elements in raffia, feathers and fur. Stiff neoprene volants and ruffles decorated tunics and dresses expressing a new attitude. Prada, inspired by atmospheres à-la- Margareta Von Trotta, Eastern European attitudes, Brechtian theatre, Fassbinder, Bauhaus and Metropolis all mixed together presented extra-size men’s blazers worn with transparent dresses, conceptual ties worn over geometrical strap dresses and wide V-neck sweaters often mixed with bulky brightly coloured mutton jackets. Gucci showed its idea of androgynous fashion presenting men’s 70’s coats matched with jeans, short ‘60s dresses with front panels covered with crystals and leather sleeveless dresses completed by small collars. Andrea Incontri also played many flap pockets entirely covering some of his dresses. He also added a lacquered layer onto parts of his military-inspired dresses. Frankie Morello played with transparent strata – often carrying crystals added on pleated skirts reminding of chic aprons. Emporio Armani reinvented his masculine-meets-feminine designs with new elements and silhouettes. For instance, he ironically redesigned the bowler hat with larger size proportions. He also covered many of his dresses and accessories with pearl-like applications, finding a twist to the widespread use of sequins and crystals. Bottega Veneta decorated its silk tube dresses with unique op-art prints.

Sci-fi, manga and pop art
Another theme many designers focused on was the pop-manga reinterpretation of fashion many designers opted for. Iceberg presented beige neoprene coats, trousers and pleated miniskirts as well as slit skirts worn with white knitted tops often decorated by fluorescent plastic transparent panels or scraped off silver-coated knitted tops. Moschino, debuting for this season under the creative guidance of Jeremy Scott, played with the ideas of fast fashion and fast food – also because ten outfits seen on the catwalk, could be ordered and already worn about 24 hours after the show. He played with comic-book characters and fast food-inspiration. Modern Harlequin-like patchworks characterised Fausto Puglisi’s outfits, while geometric patterns and pop-art inspired the debuting Au Jour Le Jour, showing as hosts inside Armani Teatro. Other designers playing with trompe-l’oeil and colour geometries were Just Cavalli, Byblos and Angelo Marani.