The Download: Milan Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2024
Sunnei autumn/winter 2024, Italy

The Download: Milan Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2024

Cutting through the chaos and overwhelming nature of fashion month, we distil the key insights from Milan Fashion Week.

Milan Fashion Week, from 2026 February 2024, started with a bang with Diesel, which invited guests to a Zoom call where hundreds of fans from all over the world popped up on the venues massive screen-covered walls.

Virtual and real attendees watched the show in real time, which was filled with Y2K references, faux fur, and coated and acid-washed shredded denim.

In harmony with New York and London Fashion Weeks, several designers chose a minimal approach for their shows in order to focus on their craftsmanship. Tom Ford, Emporio Armani, Ferragamo and Versace all put their audience in pitch black to shine the light literally – on each model as they walked down the runway.

Key Takeaways

: Milan Fashion Week for Autumn/Winter 2024 took a minimalist approach to set design. Tom Ford, Emporio Armani, Ferragamo, and Versace used pitch-black settings to highlight their craftsmanship

: Materials like shredded fabric, shiny embroidery, vinyl and silk were prominent in designs, creating cinematic looks on the runway

: Accessories took on a playful and campy tone, with Fendi collaborating with Chupa Chups for limited-edition lollipop charms and Moschino featuring trompe l’oeil bags shaped like food items

Sound took centre stage at Jil Sander and Sunnei. Luke and Lucie Meier, the husband-and-wife duo at the helm of Jil Sander, invited up-and-coming musician Mk.gee to perform the shows soundtrack in a pastel green venue with giant gramophone horns on the floor. At Sunnei, each model walked down a staircase in total silence before a voiceover started playing, representing the intrusive thoughts going through their mind as they walked. The funniest one was: We all look like a bunch of clowns. Is the aim of this brand to make us look ugly?

At Avavav, a young brand that keeps going viral for its gimmicks, rubbish including coffee cups and banana peel was thrown at the models as a commentary on internet trolls. The internet is the future, but at the same time, it’s like we’ve gone back to mediaeval times; people are just expressing their opinions in very unreal, primitive ways, said creative director Beate Karlsson in the show notes. Karlsson herself received a pie in the face as she closed the show.

Diesel autumn/winter 2024, Italy Diesel autumn/winter 2024, Italy
Diesel autumn/winter 2024, Italy Diesel autumn/winter 2024, Italy

Materials in movement

Designers turned into directors shouting lights, camera, action in Milan as looks made from shredded fabric, shiny embroidery, vinyl and silk came to cinematic life on the runway. Guccis coats covered in maxi-sequins and Ferragamos long fringe skirts seemed to dance around and take up space as models strutted down the runway.

Fur was everywhere in Milan, although brands such as Bottega Veneta and Diesel proudly stated they were using fake fur materials. At Marni and Missoni, giant fluffy coats that could probably produce several generations of Sesame Street characters outshined the rest of the collection.

Perhaps as an antidote to the ambient doom, several designers brought party vibes to their autumn/winter 20242025 collection, with glitter, sparkles, lurex, stones, sequins and cocktail dresses ready for the most glamorous New Years Eve soirée. Elisabetta Franchi re-invented a nostalgic American college jersey with glitter stripes, Gucci presented mini-dresses covered in gold sequins, while Tom Ford ended his show with a risqué sparkly naked bodysuit under a long vinyl coat that caught all the light.

Ferragamo’s varnished fish scale red dress deserves a special accolade as it took the internet quite a while to realise that the entire shiny Glamazon outfit was made from leather, scale by scale.

Fendi autumn/winter 2024, Italy

Designing accessories for TikTok

Camp was definitely the inspiration for various accessories at Milan Fashion Week. Fendi joined forces with Chupa Chups to create a limited-edition Fendi lollipop (vanilla and chocolate) hidden on the runway in small leather charms attached to the models handbags. On TikTok, the content around this unexpected collaboration has generated over a million views on Fendis own account. Needless to say, Gen Z are the direct target for those lollipop holders.

At Moschino, the model who opened the show carried a paper bag filled with two baguettes and a celery head. But these were just trompe loeil bags. As captured on video backstage, the baguette, which went viral in 2020, and the celery head are clutch bags that can contain everything from lip gloss to a flute. Bottega Veneta also presented an unconventional but no doubt soon-to-be-cult bag: a fish-shaped clutch made from its signature intrecciato woven red, orange and black leather strips.

Described by The New York Times as a louche amalgamation of fur coats, leather and leopard prints that are being presented on [TikTok] as a kind of Mafiosa cosplay, the viral mob wife aesthetic made it onto the catwalk in the form of a plethora of heavy gold accessories at a number of shows. Roberto Cavalli’s chunky gold chains and marble pendant, Etro’s triple necklace with a golden Ancient Greek theatre mask figurine and Gucci’s chokers with a studded motif all marked a complete twist from the so-called quiet luxury trend that turned mainstream in 2023. Similar ostentatious gold jewellery was evident at Fendi and Tom Ford.

Blumarine autumn/winter 2024, Italy Blumarine autumn/winter 2024, Italy
Blumarine autumn/winter 2024, Italy Blumarine autumn/winter 2024, Italy

Bringing sexy back

No matter how cold the autumn/winter season will be, women will show a lot of skin, according to Milan Fashion Weeks naked dresses mania. At Tom Ford, they were made from fully transparent organza or sparkly mesh. The same nakedness was visible on Guccis catwalk with a silk gown covered in a geometric and shimmery heron bird motif, or black lace embroidered with floral motifs. The design duo Dolce & Gabbana took a more 1920s approach with a naked dress in tulle covered in stones and opulent black ostrich feathers.

One of the only designers who took a less sexualised approach to make her own naked dress was Alberta Ferretti. She created a waterfall of silver sequins across the bustier to take the eyes away from the fully transparent slip and train. Perhaps its that female touch that can take such a garment from risqué to empowering.

Moschino is also bringing sexy back by taking delicate lingerie from the boudoir and onto the streets. Creative director Adrian Appiolaza, who was making his debut, paired lace nightwear with knit think comfy sweaters and scarves made from mohair. Similarly, the Blumarine winter girl is wearing her silk night dress to work, with leopard tights and bright yellow heels, while the Alberta Ferretti woman prefers to pair her satin and lace camisole with a floor-length pleated skirt and a beanie.

The internet is the future, but at the same time, it’s like we’ve gone back to mediaeval times; people are just expressing their opinions in very unreal, primitive ways

Beate Karlsson, creative director, Avavav

Strategic opportunities

: Tailor the audio environment to match your brands identity, creating a unique and memorable atmosphere for customers. Can you design immersive soundscapes in stores to enhance the overall shopping experience, for instance?

: Embrace the trend for sustainable and cruelty-free fashion by exploring innovative materials for faux fur. Market your commitment to ethical practices to appeal to environmentally conscious consumers

: Collaborate with women creatives to bring diverse perspectives to fashion collections, ad campaigns or content where there is an emphasis on transparent or sexy clothing. A nuanced understanding of femininity and empowerment is a must

: Explore collaborations with unexpected partners to create unique and attention-grabbing accessories. This strategy can appeal to younger demographics and maximise online visibility

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