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  • Writer's pictureAnna-Louise McDougall

Beautifully, radically ordinary: Top Trends from Milan Fashion Week FW23

When Milan’s major houses speak, we listen. In the week that hosted power players like Fendi, Prada, Armani, Bottega Veneta and Gucci, there was no more unanimous sentiment than that of the simple luxury of everyday, exquisite clothing.

Beautiful in its everydayness, and radical in its departure from grandiose storytelling and deep-seated inspiration, Milan Fashion Week was no longer hellbent on the spotlight. Gone was anything that alluded to a “-core”, naked dressing, impractical bags, and magical creatures. Even Versace dipping out of the proceedings helped to dim the lights a little. Most designers directly catered to the idea of the modern individual just going about their daily life.

... Milan Fashion Week was no longer hellbent on the spotlight.

The unusually low-key mood instead saw designers breathe new life into suiting and workwear without overcomplicated styling, especially at Bottega Veneta, Prada and Fendi. Menswear fabrics and shapes were predominantly used to usher in sophisticated feminine dressing.

Generous blazers were padded at the shoulders and waist, neat straight-fit and bias-cut pants and trousers paired with simple slim knitwear, belted pencil skirts, and practical trench coats. Pockets, buttons, and buckles added a utilitarian appeal, while artisanal twists elevated everyday pieces to couture levels. Elsewhere, Gucci and Jil Sander were considering or leaving behind past codes as a way of creating a new future for their respective brands.

Raf Simons for Prada commented that the collection was based on, “real people, real jobs, real life”. Wedding dress techniques were applied to traditional nurse dress to create romantic, sartorial interpretations of uniforms, and give more importance to occupations that don’t ask for attention.

Max Mara’s Ian Griffiths remarked that his collection presented “clothes that show the beauty of the wearer without degrading them in any way, and designed with respect for the comfort and ease of the wearer”. With plush coats and pared-back knitwear pieces, he didn’t want the Max Mara woman to “be thinking about whether she is young enough or thin enough to wear something, or have to worry if she’s falling out of it.” Similarly Giorgio Armani’s collection was intended to offer “clothes that bring out the person, not the character.”

What’s on Fall Winter 23’s menu from the Italians? In the words of Sylvia Fendi, “It’s pure, simple, but complex.”. Here, we look at the new ideas and spicier takes on the classics that are sure to gain a steady following.

Superfine lines

runway models from Milan Fashion Week Fall Winter 2023 featuring looks from Tod's, Diesel, Bottega Veneta, Fendi, Jil Sander
Tod's, Diesel, Bottega Veneta, Fendi, Jil Sander

It was hard to miss that pale blue fine rib polo dress hit the Fendi runway at the beginning of the week, but it was a sign of things to come. The shows followed suit with close-to-body knitwear in maxi dresses, long cardigans and layers, like Blumarine’s slinky jersey and shearling dresses. At Bottega Veneta, sleek silhouettes were crafted in fine patchwork and flower embroideries that Vogue referred to as “luxury long johns”.

Giving lemons

runway models from Milan Fashion Week Fall Winter 2023 featuring looks from Jil Sander, MSGM, Ferragamo, Genny, Marni
Jil Sander, MSGM, Ferragamo, Genny, Marni

Whether it was lemon, canary, highlighter, or banana, full-on hazard yellow was bright color addition to numerous catwalks in Milan. Notably at Marni, whose endless Clueless-esque suiting and mohair layers meant there was something for everybody. At Jil Sander, yellow offered a serious pop to signature long-line tunics and trousers, while others used the color to modernize retro red carpet silhouettes.

The It Coat

runway models from Milan Fashion Week Fall Winter 2023 featuring looks from Prada, Fendi, Bottega Veneta, Jil Sander, Gucci
Prada, Fendi, Bottega Veneta, Jil Sander, Gucci

The major memo from Milan’s Fall Winter coat department was big, long, and grey. The classic hue of the cityscape was suddenly fresh, sophisticated, and romantic all at once in sharp tailoring and oversized shoulders with couture references and varying waist shapes. Parkers and coats in charcoal and warm grey cocooned the wearer at Prada, Fendi offered menswear-style mackintoshes, Bottega went with double layered blazers and lightweight trenches, and at Gucci - a neatly cut double-breasted option with a 90s outlook.

Refined Layering

runway models from Milan Fashion Week Fall Winter 2023 featuring looks from Blumarine, Fendi, Andreadamo, MM6 Maison Margiela, Sportmax
Blumarine, Fendi, Andreadamo, MM6 Maison Margiela, Sportmax

Now, before you run and hide at the thought of skirt-pant layering, we’re not talking about Nickelodeon teens in the 2000s. Instead, the masterclass on bottom-half layering was in session from names like Fendi, Blumarine and Sportsmax. Fendi doubled down with pleated skirts sewn on slouchy trousers in creamy neutral, chocolate brown satin and office grey, while Sportsmax worked on contradictive suiting with long pants layered with wraps and double waistlines. Blumarine’s shearling ultra-miniskirts were layered over same-fabric slim sweats and midriff-baring hoodies.

As fashion month comes to a close, all eyes are on Paris to see what the fashion capital will come up with. Don't miss a beat - subscribe to our newsletter to get all the latest trends sent directly into your inbox.

About the Author

Anna is a writer and journalist, with seven years experience in copywriting, digital marketing and eCommerce. Anna has worked with leading Australian fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands over the past seven years, including sass & bide, Sportscraft, and Peppermayo. She now runs her own freelance business, Papercut Copy, and will never not feel weird about writing her bio in the third person.

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