Milan wanted to show its best art, craftsmanship and modernity within the recently closed September 2013 edition and it succeeded. The atmosphere appears to be slowly recovering with a gradual increase of sales and optimism pervading the air. Energetic colours, strong graphics and a trend toward sportswear characterised many collections. A whirlwind of events, parties and shows took place between 18 - 23 September, bringing to light inspiring ideas and trendsetting styles and lifestyle previews for S/S 2013.

A modern athlete a major theme on the catwalks was a trend toward sportswear reinvented for contemporary sexy and bold women. Sporty overalls, and mesh tops worn over triangle bras mixed with Erté decorated skirts characterised Gucci. Marni also mixed sporty visors and platforms with Japonism, fabric flower applications, and sporty perforated jackets. Iceberg presented its totally redesigned collection by Alexis Martial and showed neoprene white and fluorescent yellow tops and sweatshirts mixed with Manga-inspired designs. More neoprene featured in Aquilano-Rimondi and Pucci’s collections, either carrying prints a-la-Gaugin (Aquilano-Rimondi) or decorated with rich applications to be worn with visible bras (Pucci). Bras and bustiers were everywhere and well exposed. Ermanno Scervino presented small essential strapless bustiers in denim, yellow satin, light blue and white silks to be worn day and night. Versace redesigned some basic casual items by adding into them a new femininity. For instance they transformed a western style jacket into a feminine body-hugging dress.

Art is inside us Prada previewed sleeveless dresses inspired by South American murals, decorated with artistic women’s faces, brightly coloured beads and sequins. Antonio Marras showed evening dresses decorated with artistic line drawings of faces. Paying Homage to Italian landscapes, Marras also decorated his dresses with prints inspired by typical Italian gardens from the 1700s. Dolce&Gabbana focused again on Sicily and Magna Grecia's ruins of temples, ancient coin prints, and almond flowers applied to dresses.

Decoration and craftsmanship Outstanding decorations characterised many collections. Some of Scervino's dresses were made with lightweight PVC carrying small pied-de-poule embroidered motifs. Roberto Cavalli's dresses were richly decorated with beads and metallic elements. Colangelo's models were decorated with techniques similar to Japanese shibori (used for fabrics), and raku (used for ceramic). Stella Jean, showing inside Giorgio Armani Theatre, presented designs inspired by African techniques and decorations. MSGM, presenting its first catwalk show mixed bold colours and ethnic prints to create vibrant and lively modern fashion. Great craftsmanship was displayed at Agnona who showed their Zero project collection by Stefano Pilati. The collection reinvents the brands 60 year heritage and uses the brand’s iconic traditional double-faced checked Palaka Motif, a chequered pattern that references the first Japanese fabric imported to Hawaii, used originally for surfer’s shorts and shirts. Iceberg created semi-transparent ribbed and pleated nylon jersey tops and short dresses to be worn in layers. He also opted for semitransparent nylon ribbed jersey tops and dresses. Deconstructed and asymmetric dresses and silhouettes characterised Costume National who were showing again in Milan after years of presenting in Paris.

Bright colour invasion Yellow continues to be an energetic hue almost every designer likes to interpret. Cavalli betted on bold clashing prints, Aigner on degraded bright effects, and MSGM preferred bright orange in many of its styles, and Giorgio Armani's collections were punctuated with bright pink and electric blue details.

Soft shades Etro focused on its typical paisley patterns for ankle-length gypsy skirts and wrap-around dresses, all in soft pastel shades – often enriched by silver coatings. Emporio Armani opted for soft metallic pinks and light blues for knee-length slip dresses. Giorgio Armani opted for dresses decorated with soft-hue blurred prints. No 21 played with masculine and feminine elements and presented men's oxford shirts embellished with jet beads. They also focused on oversize pyjama shirts in leather and silk with cropped sleeves and transparent richly decorated pencil skirts.

Among the various events was “Hatology, Anna Piaggi and her hats”, an exhibition dedicated to Anna Piaggi's eccentric collections of hats, at Palazzo Morando, open until 30 November 2013, and a photo exhibition/event which presented photographs of Chiara Boni's styles, shot by Giovanni Gastel.