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October 27, 2011

This season Milan presented the strongest collections as a group which presented a big challenge in picking my top 5. The best of Milan is usually dominated by the glamazon brands such as Gucci, Versace, and Pucci with sexy leather dresses, fur trimmed jackets, and metallic shimmers. But this season, with the whole industry’s vibe being young, optimistic, and bright, it was Prada, Jil Sander, Antonio Marras, Versus, and Marni that stood out amongst the pack.

Prada was fresh and sweet with accordion pleats aplenty and played with 50s silhouettes and pin-up motifs; Raf Simons completed his “Couture Trilogy” at Jil Sander with clean lines, lean silhouettes, all done in a soft and sophisticated palette; Antonio Marras presented an outstanding collection being one of the few to shy away from the sport theme. Versus, on the other hand, struck gold with a collection inspired by basketball players and cheerleader uniforms while Marni had one of the strongest collections preserving the naiveté of the brand’s core ethos but injecting wearable and desirable feminine shapes.

1. Prada

Prada Spring/Summer 2012 Collection

Prada Spring/Summer 2012 Collection

Miuccia Prada used the word “sweet” to summarize her new Prada collection and it was indeed sweet and fresh. You can always count of Prada to change it up every season and for Spring the look is retro and revisits the optimistic youthful energy of the 50s. The reference was evident by fit and flare looks, accordion pleats and pin-up style one-piece looks. Flame and car-themed doodle prints drive home the 50s motif and top off this retro ladylike look.

View the complete collection here.

2. Jil Sander

Jil Sander Spring/Summer 2012 Collection

Jil Sander Spring/Summer 2012 Collection

Raf Simons continues to dazzle the fashion critics with his fascination of the intersection of couture disciplines and Jil Sander’s minimalistic DNA. The two narratives marry so well with each other creating modern and sophisticated shapes. The overall look comes off strictly clinical and professional and tightly controlled. It was also intriguing to see Simons presenting the Jil Sander bride at the end of the show. I think Tilda Swinton might’ve just found her dream wedding gown (that’s if Haider Ackermann hasn’t already whipped her up something).

View the complete collection here.

3. Antonio Marras

Antonio Marras Spring/Summer 2012 Collection

Prada Spring/Summer 2012 Collection

Having the luxury of spending all his energy in one collection proved to be vital as Antonio Marras presented a superb collection for spring. With the palette soft and the clothes highly wearable, Marras presented a wide range of merchandise options all highly relevant but not lacking in design merits at all. He hits a few key trends and maintained his signature whimsy which only makes him stand out more among this season’s sporty crazed designers.

View the complete collection here.

4. Versus

Versus Spring/Summer 2012 Collection

Versus Spring/Summer 2012 Collection

Christopher Kane scored, figuratively and literally. His basketball game themed collection was as cool as they come. Especially being in Milan, cool and hip are adjectives that do not come around often. He is right on trend with not only the sport theme but also the soft sherbety color palette. The collection is full of energy and will surely sell out as quickly as they were shown walking down the runway.

View the complete collection here.

5. Marni

Marni Spring/Summer 2012 Collection

Marni Spring/Summer 2012 Collection

Marni has a well defined customer base and the new Spring collection successfully maintained their interest while possibly gaining quite a few new fans. It takes a certain women to appreciate Marni, but this season with the new focus on feminine shapes, the collection came off as more approachable and relatable. The impact of the brand’s signature graphic patterns was not lost when applied to the new silhouette, in fact it enhanced the naiveté quality even more so. There are plenty of pieces from this collection that are sure to land on multiple influential fashion player’s list of “must-haves”.

View the complete collection here.

After going through all of Milan’s shows, there really were a lot of other very good shows and I believe it’s my favorite city of the shows this season because as a collective it was just so strong. And therefore, here’s my Milan Honor Roll:

Gucci/Fendi/Bottega Venetta/Ter et Bantine/Girogio Armani…in fact, the finale of the Armani show was one of the most striking moments of the whole show season with the trio of models wearing shimmering crescent Armani gowns, it was a true Armani’s Angels moment.

Finale of Giorgio Armani S/S 2012 Fashion Show

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