There is no city quite so maximalist as Milan when it comes to fashion, but when the preeminent trend of the runways is minimalism, what do you get? You get minimalist maximalism — or is it maximalist minimalism? I think I prefer the ring of the latter. So you get maximalist minimalism! A hodgepodge of canvases that are worthy discussion points on their own (see: well-tailored trousers and confident coats) made absolutely impossible to ignore when stimulated in that classically Milanese way that seems always to pursue joy in its wears. That’s my overall takeaway from the week of shows that retires today and can be found distilled in a string of one sentence reviews below.
If you are flexible enough to consider that minimalism can still occur within the context of a masquerade, I invite you to explore the Gucci show at greater length; it boasted a cool 87 looks, many of which were decorated by a facial mask purposely planted to draw a parallel between what is concealed and what is revealed and how that can be directly applied to the clothes that you wear, which, by the way, for the upcoming season deviated from the mille-feuille of layers Alessandro Michele regularly contributes, not as a step away from his signature eccentricity but perhaps as one even closer. I know this is technically a second sentence, but hey! Why don’t you wrap elastic waistbands around your ankles to create a simultaneous puddle and parachute effect?
Do you have a vintage-looking suitcase that you can reimagine as a bag? Good! In it, store an old Persian-inspired rug and take it with you as you set out to have someone cut and sew it into a mini dress, just make sure that what you’re wearing on this quest includes a long sleeve rugby shirt as paired with checkered trousers and a string of turquoise for a surprising pop of delight that harkens back to an essential mantra: love summer, hate everything else.
The basics of a wardrobe are commonly tangled within the web of a trench coat, a black suit, a white shirt and the requisite little red dress; for a crash course in the tearing down and subsequent resurrection of these sartorial tenets, No. 21 will show you that the weight of these colors can lift in a class far heavier than the allotted ounces of a basic; I’d like to emphasize the case for wearing something sheer as hell — figure a slip skirt or dress or I don’t know, fishing net, to pair under an oversize jacket.
A few styling tips to take to heart from the sewing machine of Donatella Versace: your tank top is only as functional as the layers you place under it; individual colors are nice, but when they’re bound together, they rise together — kind of like a group meditation! — and finally, what is old is new again and if you’re going to take this to heart, do it with a boob cup.
You’ve got to hand it to a designer who designs a complete collection with nary a single pair of pants to show for it save for the lonesome pair styled under a matching tea-length skirt, but in irrelevant styling news: there are several great cases for sheer tights to wear under thick socks to then pair with sandals; incidentally, the cure for bad winter shoes is good summer shoes, but with layers.
Red and hot pink go together like peanut butter and jelly, but what are peanut butter or jelly without the bread — and therein lies the missing ingredient! A third color to offset your clash; Attico suggests green, for shoes in one look and a blazer in another, styled over a feather mini dress, which is great, but the real styling takeaway there is to pair something ridiculous and unexpected under your anything-but-ridiculous and very much expected garments.
You already know this, but turtlenecks are a great wardrobe staple and like wine, they only become better after you’ve had one too many and have all but forgotten where your neck is; for next winter, don’t shy away from Uniqlo’s merino collection but do challenge yourself to add a headband for dramatic effect and possibly match said headband to an ankle bracelet (or monitor, whatever!) you’ll wear over your trousers.
The king of minimalism hath spoken and guess what? Navy and black really do match, especially when you explore a constellation of fabrications — velvet, taffeta, silk, wool; with that in mind, wear your pants on your legs, your peplums by your hip and definitely don’t worry about shoving your legs into skinny jeans because you know what they say, horseback riders have more fun and jodhpurs are their currency.
Tod’s is the Italian Hermès, which makes a pair of patent leather Bermuda shorts feel like the perfect attire for which to host a quality conference (there is no such thing yet to my knowledge, so you’re welcome for the free idea), but I’m taking the trench coat-as-dress paired with refined-yet-clunky knee-high boots and belt over puffer coat (specifically designed sans hood) over pencil skirt as tips to take home.
It’s tough to whittle Prada down to merely a styling tip or two when the collection historically, but particularly today, concerns itself so viscerally not just with clothes, but with the state of the world as it stands in real time: caught between a genuine hankering to find beauty where it wants to expose itself, but remains tuned into the frequency of trouble where it keeps knocking us down — but then again, this tension might well make for the number one tip to take home as it lands on a pencil skirt decorated by satin, 3D tulips and boots so utilitarian, you don’t need any pockets or a bag: wear the spectrum of your inner conflict, both beautiful and grim, on your sleeve because when you have nothing to lose, you have almost everything to win.
Feature image by Pietro D’Aprano/Getty Images for Gucci. Photos via Vogue Runway.