If the big four fashion week are a family, Milan and Paris are the parents, while New York and London are the children (the obedient straight-A student and the fun, rebellious free spirit, respectively.) Milan is the stable parent, Paris the more unpredictable, in the throes of a mid-life crisis. Some argue that Italy's fashion industry is complacent compared to the others with its Fashion Week calendar being dominated by the same lineup of established mega-brands, with virtually the same designers at the helms, for decades now. But compared to Paris, where major shakeups have become about as regular as the fashion weeks themselves, the sameness of Milan is kind of comforting.
Sure, the excitement of a new era at a big design house makes for headlines and a buzzy show, but as a shopper it can get frustrating spending so much money on a luxury brand when it goes through too many remixes. Frida Giannini has been at Gucci for 8 years now and she kicked off the week with the kind of polished, commercial collection that only a seasoned pro of her caliber can. It wasn't a groundbreaking show, but it was directional, nudging the trends towards the Sixties with her Mod opening look, an A-line leather skirt, frilly blouse and tall, flat boots. Everything that followed (shaggy coats in pink and blue, mint coloured shift dresses and leopard print skirt suits) was equally retro, but it didn't feel vintage. Clothing from that era usually had at least a small amount of humor and quirk. This collection, on the other hand, was a Sixties version of Frida's trademark glamour, engineered to an almost untouchable perfection, like a Kardashian, forehead crease-free and laughline-less on the cover of a September issue. Similarly, Alberta Ferretti did what she does best: soft romantic dresses. This time she used earth tones and tactile surfaces to give her collection a warm, autumnal feeling. It was a pretty show, with pretty dresses that should make her fan base happy.