There were a lot of exciting clothes in Milan — who couldn't get excited about Prada's stripes and bananas? — but two shows really took the cake.
Dolce & Gabbana's woman is always so very Italian (or, at least, in the way that people who aren't Italian imagine Italian women should be: big hair, eyeliner, tight clothes, hoop earrings). It's a Fellini-style fantasy, full of sex and sass and an unflinching relationship to the idea of being HOT. Typically this involves leopard print, see-through lace, and pointy, pointy bras. This season, Dolce & Gabbana kept all the sex appeal but managed to layer in a sweetness as well. The starting point was a wedding trousseau: the linens, the lace, the lingerie made into incredibly beautiful clothes. White lace dresses of various proportion, the occasional flower with touches of black silk straight from the boudoir. The inspiration may have been tablecloths, but the execution moved way forward, with chaste white granny panties peeking out of the broderie. Everything was so fresh and so light that just about every model basically looked like she was going to walk off the runway, out the door, and somehow miraculously land in Capri.
Raf Simons, who only began designing womenswear five years ago, recently outfitted Tilda Swinton for her role as a Russian-born Milanese Über-matron in I Am Love — the bright colors and stark shapes of her clothing were striking throughout the film, set against the city's often dour façades. Simon's colors were spectacular on great big skirts, within a printed maxi dress. The cuts were so precise, so minimalist (even as the proportion was big, big, big), and the pairings were simple and spectacular: a techno parka over an enormous dress, plain white T-shirts over drawstring shirts that swept the runway.
The two shows couldn't have been more different, but both made one think about the possibilities of dressing; the power of color; nostalgia; and the endless need to move a series of ideas forward.