Quiet Luxury Out, Statement Pieces In: Milan Designers Face Buyer Demand for Wow Factor

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Global retailers hoped to place orders for bold, eye-catching styles at Milan Fashion Week — which opens Tuesday — that could spark consumer spending. The clothing trade show, which follows New York Fashion Week, opens a new tab, and London Fashion Week will feature 161 physical and online fashion shows, presentations, and events this month.

The fall 2024 season is critical for many brands to attract consumers and establish their new creative direction. This year’s Milan runway shows reflected a shift toward sartorial pragmatism. Designers focused on reinterpreting classic cuts and leaned into practical styles that are both functional and luxurious.

Fashion Week buyers scoured the Milan shows for items that appeal to a broad range of shoppers. There was a definite trend toward subtle points of interest in the designs, with brooches, feathers, and lace appearing across the collections. These details helped designers stand out from their competitors and entice buyers to buy into their vision for the future.

Valentina Nervi, who designs beachwear, underwear, and eveningwear for Ermanno Scervino, Roberto Cavalli, and Redemption before launching her label last year, inspired her grandmother to design her spring 2024 collection. This muse translated into a maximalist lineup of draped silk gowns and sequined frocks with asymmetric flared hems. Nervi also introduced eye-catching separates to mix with basics for a party look.

Similarly, Dolce & Gabbana’s creative director, Silvia Venturini Fendi, focused on the world around us to inspire her spring collection. She cited movies, travel, and “intellectuals” as sources of inspiration. The collection incorporated nautical elements such as sailor collars, striped sweaters, and floral-print dresses. Dolce & Gabbana also introduced a series of bags shaped like boats, including an oversized leather bucket bag with a hinged top.

The sea-inspired mood was a common theme at several shows. British designer Steven Stokey Daley (whose shoes are a favorite of Harry Styles) included a bright yellow fisherman jacket in his collection. Emporio Armani echoed the theme with sailor collars and nautical-motif knitwear. The maritime mood was also present at Jimmy Choo, where the accessories were displayed as objets d’art and served as conversation starters.

At MSGM, designer Massimo Giorgetti shrunk the red handlebars designed by Franco Albini for the Milan Metro into pins pinned to the lapels of updated tuxedos. Similar details were seen at other Milan brands, including Magliano, Dolce & Gabbana, and Dolce.

Milan’s fashion week runs through Feb. 26, with many more prominent names, including Max Mara, Tod’s, and Prada, staging runway shows. Moschino’s new creative director, Alessandra Appiolaza, is kicking off her tenure at the Italian house by presenting a show in a venue that holds significance in the brand’s history.

The other major runway shows scheduled to take place are from Luisa Beccaria, GCDS, and Marc Jacobs. Other labels opting for the presentation format include Brunello Cucinelli, Loro Piana, and Ferragamo. Those brands will be joined by several emerging names, such as Cosy Sunday, Jarlzhang, Raisa Vanessa, and Khrisjoy.

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Nicole Kenny is a freelance writer and content creator with a passion for storytelling. Her work has been published in various online and print publications, covering topics ranging from travel and culture to ersonal finance and entrepreneurship. When she's not writing, you can find her hiking in the mountains or curled up with a good book. Nicole is also an avid traveler and amateur photographer.

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