Prada, Max Mara returns to pre-pandemic Milan

The pre-pandemic fashion frenzy is back.

After several Covid-induced quiet seasons, Milan Fashion Week has returned to its pre-pandemic splendor: crowded seating, gridlocked streets and sidewalks as fashion fans crave a glimpse of stars and influencers.

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After so many epistemic discussions about how the fashion system needs to change – that is, slowly – few have been able to resist returning to the world as they knew it, no matter how congested and rushed it is.

This week’s runway shows will close with the return of another Milan tradition: the Green Carpet Awards to recognize sustainability progress.

Here are some highlights from Thursday’s womenswear preview for next spring and summer on the second day of Milan Fashion Week:

PRADA explores raw silk

Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons’ latest collection explores the space between minimalism and decor with clean silhouettes and transparent materials.

The collection begins with form-fitting, slightly cropped bodysuits made from poplin shirting in industrial colors like gray and ivory. They are worn under boxy jackets and long opera coats, then, a loose-fitting dress of raw silk and pretty lace details, suggestive of a night dress.

‘Clothes are about simplicity, no unnecessary complications,’ Prada said in show notes. “Politically, theoretically, aesthetically, we are repeatedly drawn to these ideas. Concept of directness.”

A model wears part of the Prada women’s spring summer 2023 collection presented in Milan, Italy (AP Photo/Antonio Callani)

The silhouette was simple. Dresses naturally wrap around the body like a towel after a shower. The transparent, tissue-y overcoat gave a sense of lightness. Simple appliqué flowers adorn handbags and jackets, sometimes trailing the fabric.

Even with feminine touches, androgyny underlined the collection, especially in the Prada uniform looks: jumpsuits, slim trousers and jackets. Shoes were snub-toed Mary Janes or loafers. Bags of the season include the Prada inverted triangle handbag and the large tote in contrasting pink or lime.

“More than any other collection, this collection is filled with different perspectives. The collection is a mirror of cinema, witnessing fragments of a larger whole,” Simons said.

MAX MARA is lost in thought

Max Mara silhouettes for next season evoke feminine modernity, with voluminous mariner trousers and skirts that emanate from snug at the hips in a cascading stream of fluttering movement. Volumes – also evident in boxy jackets and oversized coats – are balanced by shoulder-baring halters and crop tops.

Creative director Ian Griffiths says he took cues from Renée Perle, photographer Jacques-Henri Lartigue’s muse and lover, and architect Eileen Gray from the 1930s female intellectuals of the French Riviera. The collection has a purposeful androgyny, with David Bowie appearing on Griffith’s mood board in 1980s trousers.

These are looks that invite contemplation, while offering free movement for a woman in intellectual pursuits.

Max Mara presents a neutral color for next season, in raw linen that can range from gray to khaki, set off by soothing, sun-faded shades of yellow, green and blue, creating a harmonious trio in a baggy overcoat in a swimwear combo. Finished with a knitted shower cap.

The bags are big enough for a weekend getaway. Shoes are platform sandals. And the hat features oversized brims.

A model wears a creation as part of the Max Mara women’s Spring Summer 2023 collection presented in Milan (AP Photo/Antonio Calani)

MOSCHINO is inflated

Jeremy Scott wanted to inject euphoria into global discourse. And he couldn’t have been more literal with a Moschino spring-summer 2023 collection that incorporated blow-up swimming pool floaties into looks with more than a touch of whimsical flair.

Plastic ring floaties gave structure to hemlines, while a pool raft was a tongue-in-cheek stole. Blow-up references were everywhere: from necklines to bra cups, shoes and even bags. Often floaties were part of the costume, like the puffed lapel of a black pant suit. Lifebuoys also got their due as headpieces and inflatable peplums.

Beneath this was a collection that took summer seriously, with a plethora of warm-weather suits in blue or yellow, trimmed in neat white; Funky striped short dresses that recall beach umbrellas, accented with drink floaties as bracelets; And the often neglected bathing suit, here in a bright cartoon print with a blow-up plastic jacket, hat and bag to match.

Scott said in the show notes that the references are a direct twist on the word “inflation”.

But beneath the inflatable hijinks, there were more slinkier numbers.

A long black dress featured a sexy criss-cross halter anchored by large red hearts, and a bright pink wrap cocktail dress was paired with heels with curved flamingos. An elaborate mermaid dress in sea blue shows two hips swaying with inflatable dolphins above the waves, while an inflatable swan adds drama to a white Grecian dress.

“Ultimately, it’s about shutting out the negativity … even when the rest of the water is in shades of gray. That’s where the joy can be found,” says Moschino in the note

The free spirit of Emporio Armani

For his more youthful Emporio Armani collection, Giorgio Armani created a look that travels beautifully with the title of the new collection: “In Transit”. A shadow cast on a Japanese torii gate in the background of the show suggested a destination.

The collection was rooted in neutral and soothing colors, resulting in soothing movement in pleats, beading, sequins and prints. Soft jackets provided a simple definition of summer dressing, along with loose trousers, often gathered at the ankles. Diaphanous shears create layers over trousers, or dresses or even as flowing, elegant jumpsuits. Elegant wrap trousers cut a modern silhouette with a sheer knit waistcoat

Armani, 88, received a long, appreciative ovation at the end of the show.

Models wear creations as part of Max Mara’s women’s Spring Summer 2023 collection (AP/PTI)


Dsquared2 Designing Canadian twins Dean and Dan Catten revealed their clashing, proud beach-meets-urban cool collection inside an elegant Milanese palazzo.

“It’s a contradiction. Never be predictable. So it is unexpected for us. And the collection is unpredictable, so two wrongs make a right,” Dan Catten said backstage after the show.

Designers chose the most transparent textiles to create their summer layers: blue lace jackets over a sheer yellow printed skirt, worn with beachy plaid tops. Orange plaids from the 1970s clashed cheerfully with green and brown florals, while orange and green stripes invited contrast with diagonal stripes of blue, down with a sheer green jacket.

The twins redefined the teenage bikini, pairing a top with oversized swim trunks over white trousers, the ultimate surf look.

Makeup was restrained and calm, a blue lip or a green eye lid.

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