Milan fashion week, steeped in history with storied fashion houses, has long been the consistent arm of international fashion weeks. You always know what you’re going to get: craft and coherence, if not necessarily novelty or newness, the latter more often found on the catwalks of Paris or London.Milan fashion week, steeped in history with storied fashion houses, has long been the consistent arm of international fashion weeks. You always know what you’re going to get: craft and coherence, if not necessarily novelty or newness, the latter more often found on the catwalks of Paris or London.

Yet Milan fashion week hasn’t felt so relevant and compelling in a long while. Because consistency is not bad thing per se, sometimes a singular idea can be executed in countless, novel ways, like at Missoni, a house famed for its zigzag motif, and who season after season make it fresh, desirable and commercial. Nobody discards a Missoni knitted sweater, they are kept in wardrobes, even if not worn year on year. The same goes for a Prada nylon jacket, which this season came as parkas, padded and construction worker vests. Don’t these items form the basis of our wardrobe staples?

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Cross cultural newness

And where Missoni’s blanket dresses were contemporary and au courant, Prada looked forward too. There was tweed: contrast lined and trimmed with neon silks, and ruched dresses with iridescent prints, that felt futurist and new. Gucci, by now known for its mosaic of clashing geeky chicness, delivered a cross-cultural newness, with headscarves, balaclavas and folk dresses presented in a mishmash of fabrics from English tweed to metal chain mail. Of course if was logo-licious, but Alessandro Michele was clever, updating it with American baseball references and old computer games. “We are the Dr. Frankenstein of our lives,” Michele stated, when discussing the relevance of turning the runway into a laboratory. Fashion represents how we are forever evolving, but evolution doesn’t happen in the space of a six month calendar, nor should it.

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Versace brought surprise too. After last season’s homage to its founder Gianni Versace, Donatella chose plenty of primary colours, glamour and OTTness to keep her customer amused. To start, she proposed tartan, in rich plums and yellows, in saucy schoolgirl skirts worn with oversized blazers and accessorised with over-the-knee socks, berets and knitted scarves. 90s logo t-shirts, which incidentally Donatella has been living in if her Instagram account is anything to go by, were teamed with everything from pencil to evening skirts, under blazers and dresses, always tucked. The bling factor came from chunky leather belts with elaborate gold buckles. It was the right amount of ostentation and style, both coherent for the house and compelling enough for the press and its clients.

The Cavalli customer may have to acquire taste Paul Surridge continued his second outing for the house of Cavalli. Known as the Emperor of Glam, Cavalli has always been the leader of the more is more brigade. Surridge made his signature animal print chic and timeless. A beige leopard print coat with a side buckle, or a ruched dress with a tulipped hem. Or an asymmetric version worn with fur and white stiletto boots, for the high octane fetishist. Surridge has taste, something the Cavalli customer may have to get used to.

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Tommy Hilfiger chose Milan for his final collaboration with Gigi Hadid, a see-now-buy-now proposition that has been hugely successful for both designer and model muse. After London’s Roundhouse stage last season comes a racing car theme, with Formula One style leather trousers, flame print fonts and plenty of memorabilia to see at retail. These were not clothes that triggered the imagination of the avant-garde, but Hilfiger, like Milan Fashion Week, is still very much in the race, with no finish line in sight.

Photo credit: Tommy Hilfiger website, Gucci by Dan Lecca, Versace & Prada AW18/ Catwalkpictures