The collections in Milan have a tried-and-true reputation for being exactly what they are: quintessentially Italian. Italian fashion is sexy and romantic, and while some designers tapped in to one side more than the other, they nonetheless reinforced both on the 2013 Autumn/Winter runways. Whether it was the use of embellishment, sumptuous textiles, cutouts, traditional silhouettes, or religious undertones, the classic elements of Milan Fashion Week were still able to speak to the world in fresh ways about the upcoming fall season.
Labels Dolce & Gabbana, Emilio Pucci, Gucci, Moschino, and Versace were on the sexier end of the spectrum in Milan.
There were, of course, bare legs for days at Dolce & Gabbana. The models walked in the label's signature hotpants, along with pieces that were twists on Roman Catholicism — ornate gold embellishments evoking the grandeur of the Italian Renaissance and the Sistine Chapel.
Pucci's main attraction was his miniskirt paired with thigh-high suede boots, appearing in multiple hues. His calling to "make clothes that women want to put on and men want to take off" manifested itself with ease in each body-conscious look he put forth.
Gucci combined 40s-era silhouettes with 80s-era leather and fur, added plunging necklines, mesh panels and centered slits, all the while creating hourglass shapes with ambitious tailoring. The result: a vivacious femme fatale, worthy of Gucci's timeless luxury.
Moschino's collection was part equestrian schoolgirl, part black-tie, part Scottish regiment, and entirely fetish. From tiny kilts to slim waistcoats, there were big gold buttons on everything, paired with dangerously high platforms and riding helmets complete with the gold emblem "M" to fulfill fashion's most closeted desires.
The most romantic collections in Milan came from Alberta Ferretti, Bottega Veneta, Missoni, Marni, and Prada.
Ferretti's delicate gauze, beadwork, velvet, and satin provided the base for a perfect blend of damsel and heroine: The winning combination in any romance.
Bottega Veneta, drawing inspiration from 1940s glamour, presented surprisingly soft and feminine looks despite the abundance of structured wool coat-dresses. The addition of floaty peplum waists and stunning crushed chiffon appliqués in sunset hues transformed the rather ordinary fall staples into ethereal works of art.
Missoni's collection invited the showgoers into an intimate narrative reminiscent of the moments before one gets into bed. Slouchy off-the-shoulder wraps, as well as cutouts and drapery evocative of the same slouchiness, gave a charming, pajama-like impression.
Marni tapped into another era this fall with luxe looks fit for mid-century aristocracy. Fur was incorporated into everything, from scarves to skirts to capes and collars, and combined with traditional A-line skirts and strong shoulders, brought out elements of passionate romance similar to that of a Russian novel.
Prada's models walked with slick hair, a just-out-of-the-shower look, low necklines falling from shoulders and twisted hems-- all in whimsical, classic Prada prints. The effect was confident yet disheveled, and fanciful enough for any love story.
For next fall take some inspiration from both sides of Milan's shows. Shorts will be a staple throughout the season (no denim: wear tailored, high-waisted shorts with sheer or embroidered tights), as will be romantic hourglass shapes and softer hair and makeup. It's time to embrace and indulge your inner bella.