Milan’s A/W 2023 Fashion Week has wrapped up, leaving us with plenty to celebrate. Amongst the array of 50+ presentations, is the first Gucci show following Alessandro Michele’s departure – and Maximilian Davis’ highly awaited sophomore collection for Ferragamo.

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Milan Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2023 (21 – 27 February) featured a remarkable blend of new and old trends, from the fashion titans to emerging talents.

“This season, once again, we offer a rich programme of activities that confirm Milan’s leading role in the global fashion scene,”

says Carlo Capasa, Chairman of Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana. The organisation also hosted a dedicated Fashion Hub, with a programme of events celebrating innovation in the industry.

“2023 presents itself as a year characterised by a series of complexities that our industry [will] be able to transform into opportunities for growth and change. I believe that Milano Fashion Week will be able to best amplify the positive energy of our great brands.”

Overall, Milan staged approximately 50 physical presentations. The overall mood? Sexy. Especially from powerhouse Gucci – with its seductive ’90s and Y2K-inspired interim collection bursting at the seams with timeless vintage favourites. Here is our recap of Milan Fashion Week A/W 2023, from design titans like Prada and Fendi – to a blooming crop of youthful talent in Italy’s fashion and design city.

Dolce & Gabbana

High-octane sensuality is a distinguishing feature of the Dolce and Gabbana aesthetic; a pattern that repeats itself throughout archives since its inception in ’85. This season, Designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana keep up the high standard with a modern offering that takes us on a trip back to D&G’s 1992 “Belle du Jour” collection.

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Over more recent years, the designers have made a return to the catalogues; mainly due to the growing resurgence of the 90’s aesthetic. Whether it is chiffon negligee-style gowns or expanses of intricate lace, and transparent layers, the trends all make an appearance throughout the largely black “Sensuale” collection.

“Sensuality is an important aspect of femininity that has nothing to do with being sexy” the designers explain.

“Sensuality is intrinsically connected to an inner experience that makes women spontaneous and natural… free of any fabrication.”

The colour scheme is mostly black, with flashes of crimson appearing throughout – including a glittering red gown worn by Anok Yai to finish the show. Overall, the designs echo the attire of last season’s collaborator, Kim Kardashian, who sits front row this time around.

Bottega Veneta

Matthieu Blazy takes us on an adventure in Fall/Winter 2023. His offering is by far, the most diverse and fluid collection of the season. The creative director soars to new heights this time around, showing us a huge variety of garments with fine tailoring and some truly over-the-top dimensions.

As is his signature, Blazy asks us to once again, think beyond the fabric. And the resulting collection finds new ways to utilise notoriously tough materials; like leather, purposefully throughout. Blazers abandon their openings. Traditional-style suits take the form of full-knit structures. This isn’t just a show, it’s a runway spectacular, somehow encompassing several personalities and a plethora of garments that challenge the idiom, “what you see is what you get”.

Although neutrals dominate the overall colour palette, this offering is full of surprising moments of colour; with acid greens and buttery yellows receiving the most attention.

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Construction differs across styles – but there is an emphasis on exotics, heightening the overall drama. Ostrich skin, feather fringe, and a burnt red alligator trench are just a few examples.

Much like SS23, Blazy demonstrates his ability to build a clothing around his conceptual characters.

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Blazy’s shapes are imaginative and captivating throughout. It’s not just the form of the clothing — which feature free-flowing cuts, large masculine tailoring, and hip-accentuating moments — but also the details.

Our final thoughts on Bottega Veneta A/W23? Overall, the fashion giant delivers something in the middle of fun and luxury. It is modern, and wearable and demonstrates an unapologetic shift towards a more grandiose and androgynous future.

Han Kjøbenhavn is Sculpturally Captivating

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Make way for “Chthonic Penumbra,” Davidsen’s bold debut at Milan Fashion Week; expressing the beauty in darkness and design freedom. Jannik Wikkels Davidsen, founder/creative director of Han Kjbenhavn, pushes the boundaries this season – revealing a dark and indulgent display of avant-garde proportions.

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Faux fur, feather and silk are brought to life in a series of bold and visually challenging garments for those who love surrealist drama.

Collection items draw inspiration from curves and warped shapes, ultra-straight silhouettes, bodycon fits, and highly textural materials.

Gucci – Fancy Dress for Real Life

It’s been several months since beloved former creative director Alessandro Michele departed from the Florentine fashion house. Michele’s replacement, Sabato De Sarno, makes his Gucci debut later in the year.

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So in the meantime, Gucci’s A/W23 collection has been brought to life by the in-house design team. Nostalgia is the buzzword, with some throwback Gucci patterns appearing on a range of separates that speak Gucci’s “Love Parade” language fluently.

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These are, after all, the designers that worked directly under Michele for over half a decade.

“Going by [the team’s] own memories of collections and the history of Gucci as they experienced it first-hand, the idea behind the collection was to identify the heritage of the House through present-day eyes and look to the future,”

Gucci explains in a press release.

It’s a chunky presentation, with cocktail-style jewellery accessories and plays on classic 1970s and 1980s purses. The tactile sensuality and chintzy flair — crystal underwear, translucent skirts, pink faux fur, and kitten heels — frame the vintage cues in a modern context. It’s basically a mix-match of customer favourites, all selected from that metaphorical dress-up box reserved for special occasions.

Overall, it’s a logical continuation of Michele’s Gucci – a post-electro clash, vintage mashup still favoured by the masses.

Ferragamo – Maximillian Davis’ Debut is Ahead of his Time

Maximilian Davis is embarking on a voyage to reimagine the luxury House of Ferragamo. Davis took over as Ferragamo’s new Creative Director in 2022, following Paul Andrew’s exit. Davis’ blazing debut last season was well-received, delivering the brand to new audiences worldwide. Now, he returns to Milan Fashion Week to exhibit his sophomore collection.

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A look through the Ferragamo archives has resulted in a completely new perspective from Davis; a collection that stems from the celebration of Hollywood sirens (such as Sophia Loren, Audrey Hepburn, and Marilyn Monroe – all of whom were dressed by the design house in the 50s).

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The collection is spectacular in every manner, with new iterations of 1950s forms. Circle skirts and sweetheart necklines are re-interpreted, resulting in a collection of voluminous knits and teensy shorts, with precise tailoring and modern, oversized outerwear.

Max Mara – Freedom, Inclusion, and Revolution

The collection itself is underpinned by a revolutionary spirit, embodying an aspect of 18th-century style that still speaks to us in this day and age.

Max Mara is synonymous with quality, pragmatic clothing; punctuated by an Italian spirit of modernism. The inspiration behind Max Mara A/W23 is the universe of Émilie du Châtelet – a free-thinking French philosopher of the 18th century.

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The collection harnesses a revolutionary kind of energy, capturing an aspect of 18th-century design that still resonates with us today.

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In all, Max Mara delivers consistently high-quality, practical apparel with an Italian modernist character. And this collection is no exception, displaying a unique brand of modern femininity, one that,

“spurns the restrictive styles of the day, lifts the curtain on the future and reveals a new wardrobe for now.”

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