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  • Anna-Louise McDougall

Battle of the branding: Trends from Milan Fashion Week SS23

With the constant pull for global retailers to hit a home run with viral content, you could be forgiven for thinking that Milan Fashion Week Spring Summer 23 was anything other than a bid for best in branding.



Three of the most distinctive fashion personas - one each from the ‘90s, noughties, and now - were all touted to bring their social A game; Kate Moss walked the Bottega Veneta runway, Paris Hilton closed Versace, and Kim Kardashian basically took over Dolce and Gabbana. The PR gloves were definitely off. Even if Tommy Lee opening Phillip Plein felt opportunist (following um, his own viral attempts), for some Italian designers, fashion week is all about the razzle-dazzle trifecta of fashion, celebrity, and rock and roll.


Speaking of, fashion search engine Tagwalk reported a 267% increase of looks tagged ‘grunge’ compared to last season. Think the grungy, gothic attitudes at Dolce, Versace, Blumarine, MM6, Diesel - even Fendi exuded that late 90s post-grunge minimalism and perfectly scruffy hair, not to mention Prada’s frightening upside-down lash extensions.


However you look at it, Milan Fashion Week hosts the brands with the Midas touch for discerning the most commercial looks in the cultural zeitgeist. No matter how outrageous the show’s styling (or twinning) you can rest assured the right pieces - the hottest and the most wearable pieces - of the season will trickle into the right places on the right shop floors.


So, what will they be? Here are four standout trends from Milan Fashion Week SS23.



Elevated Cargo Pants

models from Milan Fashion Week Spring Summer 2023 featuring looks from fashion designers Diesel, Versace, Fendi, Blumarine, Jil Sander
Diesel, Versace, Fendi, Blumarine, Jil Sander

Cargo pants updated - still here! But slinkier, more sophisticated. Fendi evoked late ’90s sporty minimalism with hardware-strapped pants in silky technical fabric, while Jil Sander’s pair looked to clashing glamour with simple workwear, cut in silk satin. The Blumarine mermaid was provided with endless variations of trousers where the low-rise cargo hems opened into exaggerated flares.



Cool Girl Corset

models from Milan Fashion Week Spring Summer 2023 featuring looks from fashion designers Matty Bovan, Dolce & Gabbana, Sportmax, Act Nº1, MM6 Maison Margiela
Matty Bovan, Dolce & Gabbana, Sportmax, Act Nº1, MM6 Maison Margiela

Assuming it’s, um - chokehold - on the waists of the sartorial enthusiasts, the corset was a mainstay on the Milan runways. Courtesy of Kim Kardashian's own preference, Italian-mob-wife corsets dominated Dolce & Gabbana in lingerie-style tops and dresses. Matty Bovan’s surreal interpretations were styled with slashed jeans, chaotic pannier skirts, or sequins. MM6 Maison Margiela's were more subdued and tubular with an off-duty ballet dancer vibe.




The New Minimalism

models from Milan Fashion Week Spring Summer 2023 featuring looks from fashion designers Bottega Veneta, Fendi, Max Mara, Giada, Prada
Bottega Veneta, Fendi, Max Mara, Giada, Prada

Simplicity seems to be at the fore this spring summer, with monochrome sets, column and maxi dresses crafted with intent and softened in supple fabrics. From Prada to Bottega Veneta there was a renewed sense of effortless dressing, allowing the design, drape and fabric to do the talking. Max Mara favoured unwashed linen in variously undyed shades of oat, while Fendi took to silk, organza, and mink.



Blazer vs Vest

models from Milan Fashion Week Spring Summer 2023 featuring looks from fashion designers Calcaterra, Giada. Jil Sander, Alberta Ferretti, Tod's
Calcaterra, Giada. Jil Sander, Alberta Ferretti, Tod's

An offshoot of oversized blazers, and relaxed suiting, the sleeveless blazer has morphed from waistcoat cuteness into a big-time statement. Jil Sander’s came through in glossy monochrome suits in loose silhouettes, while Tod’s twisted masculine codes into a blurred, softer identity. Meanwhile, Alberta Ferretti offered the sharply tailored vest in stone-coloured linen as the ultimate palate cleanser.


Ready for Paris? The fashion capital is never short of drama, and we can’t wait to see what we’ll be wearing next. 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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