While London is often the spark of new ideas and New York is confidently commercial, the Milan shows usually sit somewhere in between. They may not be the pushing the limits of fashion in terms of new ideas, but they specialise in striking the right balance between commerce and creativity.
Many buyers and editors complained of an uncharacteristically inconsistent offering from Milan's usually focused designers last week. But we think there was a lot to be impressed by in Milan, especially from the some of the heavyweight brands who show there.
Take Burberry, for example. Christopher Bailey is on a clear winning streak, softening his approach this season with the perfect autumnal mood for the urban birds who walked down his catwalk of "optimistic melancholy." (Theurban birds term was cleverly coined by Tim Blanks; Bailey loved it. We think its perfect).
A TIME Magazine article recently pointed out that while Frida Giannini of Gucci hasn't managed to impress critics, her designs have continued to fuel a healthy sales growth. People seem to have given up on Gucci for new fashion ideas and have focused on the commercial viability of the collection instead. On this measure, the show was generally considered to be a knockout -- especially those all important bags.
Another fast-growing Gucci Group brand is Bottega Veneta, where Tomas Maier used the catchphrase When your own initials are enough as the backdrop for his collection. He continues to be a most inspirational designer, whose clothes manage to be both inventive and wearable at the same time. Combine this with luxurious artisanal detailing that evokes the core Bottega Veneta DNA, and you have another winner from Maier.
There was also an emerging powerhouse that had everyone buzzing this week. No less than 4 Vogue editors (and the most important ones at that) graced the front rows at 6267's runway show on Tuesday evening. Roberto Rimondi and Tomasso Aquilano's beautifully made clothes have a true feel for luxury -- in both design and fabrication. It's no wonder that they have the fashion establishment firmly behind them.
Weak week in Milan? We think not. And we haven't even got to Prada yet. That lace deserves a whole post unto itself.