The Milan collections delivered radiant colour, clean lines and, of course, just a touch of the full-on glamour for which the city is famous. Carola Long highlights the key trends, quirkiest accessories and snappiest dressers

Pattern and print

Miuccia Prada offered the quirkiest designs. She showed deliberately garish prints featuring black and yellow bananas, and monkeys clambering among baroque curlicues.

Stripes, too, were a major motif in this collection, and they also appeared in two-tone navy or purple with white at Jil Sander, and in multicolours at Versace. Etro and Marni are known for pattern, and this season was no different as Etro delivered paisley scarf prints and Seventies florals, and Marni offered wallpaper and psychedelic florals, spots and stripes. At Versace, the Greek-key pattern which forms part of the brand's logo was reinvented as a colourful repeat print.


It would be a crying shame if there weren't a few labels living up to Milan's reputation for sexy, maximal glamour. Fortunately, Peter Dundas at Pucci and Roberto Cavalli in his mainline collection both offered a jet-set, rock 'n' roll, hippie-luxe vision for minimal-phobes. At Cavalli, spray-on, laced leather trousers were teamed with unhemmed, fringed leather tops, while chiffon maxis came in snake print or with typically revealing cutaway sections. At Pucci, Dundas showed peasant tops, skinny flares and laced, over-the-knee boots, as well as the famous house print on microscopic swimsuits, bikinis and long dresses. Both collections call for a model figure and a bohemian lifestyle. When these lovingly crafted collection are copied more cheaply, however, that's exactly how they are going to look.


Next season the Seventies trend is set to be bigger than the queue for Studio 54. After Marc Jacobs went to town on the decade in New York, many of the Milan shows reinforced the theme. There were flares (MaxMara), and maxidresses (snake-print chiffon at Cavalli, scarf-print at Etro, floral chiffon at D&G), while peasant blouses (Fendi, Moschino), jumpsuits and hippy influences all added to the revival. The spirit of YSL in his heyday informed numerous collections, from a laced-front, safari-style tunic and fawn suede trousers at Pucci to trouser suits at Salvatore Ferragamo and MaxMara.

Bright, block colour

At Jil Sander – widely pronounced to be the show of the week – there were felt-tip pen and highlighter brights such as shocking pink, purple, magenta, coral red, electric blue, grass green, yellow and orange. Raf Simons took the colours from nature, he said, and from such specific sources as "the heart of a flower's stamen", using specially engineered fabrics to enhance their impact. "But will people actually dare to wear such bright colours?" questioned one fashion director.

Of course. Paired with classics such as a white T-shirt or a grey cashmere sweater, hot-pink trousers become eminently wearable.

Miuccia Prada loves a bit of disinfectant green and biohazard orange, and along with cobalt blue these shades were blocked on simple jackets, tops and shirts with dropped shoulders, while striped dresses combined black with cobalt, hot pink and orange, yellow and green. At Gucci, Frida Giannini's jewel colours – including amethyst and emerald – were inspired by Guy Bourdin. MaxMara offered head-to-toe red, tangerine, buttercup, lemon and violet.


Another trend that first emerged in New York. It was Dolce & Gabbana who made the strongest commitment to this innocent shade, showing a collection based around the traditional wedding trousseau of a Sicilian bride, which featured all-white dresses, jackets and skirts in lace, crochet-knit, embroidered linen and macramé. At Versace, white figure-hugging dresses, and skirts and jackets with yellow or red patent trims, provided a contrast to brights, as did white dresses and separates at MaxMara.

The new simplicity

"I preferred that this season should be simple," said Miuccia Prada, and the clean outlines in her collection were taken from the menswear show. However, given that she is also "tired of minimalism" these came with a decorative twist that she dubbed "minimal baroque". Round-shouldered, boxy shirts and jackets, as well as fitted dresses – some with frilled skirts – all provided a canvas for bright colours and patterns. At Jil Sander, too, designer Raf Simons took our breath away with his purity of both line and colour. Plain white T-shirts came with couture-inspired skirts that looked like they belonged on ball gowns, while utilitarian parkas and trenches were teamed with tailored trousers in radiant brights.

Off the catwalk

The French Vogue look has been the gold standard of cool dressing for several seasons, but right now the Italian fashion pack, with their more creative and colourful look, are the ones to be inspired by. The latest fashion super-heroines are Giovanna Battaglia, fashion editor at L'Uomo Vogue, and Anna Dello Russo, fashion editor of Vogue Nippon, and her two matching assistants Aurora and Viviana. Meanwhile, mere mortals wore:

1. Ribbed boyfriend knits from Stella McCartney or Topshop, worn with jeans and heels or leather mini skirts.

2. Red accessories: red handbags (ideally Celine), red Isabel Marant Escarpin stilettos.

3. Marni sandals (after all, it was still hot).

4. Leopard print: on dresses, court shoes and wedges.

5. Socks and sandals.

6. Fluorescent accents.

7. Silk shirts.

8. Skinny belts and high-waisted trousers.


Plastic bags Handbags inside plastic bags at Missoni, supermarket-style carrier bags at Jil Sander.

Multicoloured shoes Brothel creepers and tango shoes at Prada, sandals fastened with zig-zag scarves at Missoni.

Hats Sombreros at Prada, leather skull caps at Marni, Lawrence of Arabia turbans at Giorgio Armani.

Goggle sunglasses Prada, Marni, Jil Sander.