Maybe it’s Alessandro Michele’s doing, maybe it’s Milan. But whatever it is, maximalism is in the water, and we’re drinking it up.
As the Mad Maximalist city, its designer inhabitants took on a more-is-more mentality for their spring 2017 lines, packing on retro prints, serving up a buffet of fun motifs (that ran from pasta to lemurs), and nearly O.D.-ing on textures at every opportunity (rhinestones blanketed jeans at Dsquared2, while feathery boas trimmed the edges of skirts, tops, and shoes at Prada).
And if you’re thinking that this reads like a case of sensory fatigue waiting to happen, just hold that thought until you scroll through the gloriousness that is our Milan Fashion Week roundup, because it will have the opposite effect: It will give you life. From cool convertible Gucci shoes to parachute dresses, keep reading to the see the 20 best things to come out of Milan.
1. The Two-in-One Shoes
The pragmatic side of us never fails to marvel at anything that gives us "more bang for our buck." At least in this instance, that stinginess is enveloped in luxury, thanks to Gucci's Alessandro Michele who introduced convertible shoes—embroidered loafer slippers, metallic flats, and floral-print booties that become towering platforms after strapping (or buckling) on a heavy block sole.
2. Hypnotic Graphic Prints
The result of combining high-contrast color pairings, geometric shapes, and busy prints? A dizzying (yet deliciously hypnotic) effect.
Runway looks: Fausto Puglisi, Emilio Pucci, Prada
3. I'm with the Band
There's nothing dorky about the marching band jacket for spring 2017. The high-fashion take on the ol' classic includes a set bedecked in teeny-tiny bows at Gucci, with pastel macrame knots at Ermanno Scervino (especially pretty when layered over a lacy little thing), and a playful cartoon-ish treatment at Dsquared2.
4. Pulling Out All The (Rip)Stops
Who knew parachute dressing was even a thing? Designers took the sporty detailing (typically reserved for parachutes or hot air balloons), and applied it to dresses and tops for a cinched-in look, complete with drawstring cords and toggles.
Runway looks: Sportmax, Versace, MSGM
5. Micro Pleating
After so many seasons of pleats arrives the fairest of them all: delicate, whisper-thin creases that are nothing like the hard knife or accordion pleats from fashion's past.
Runway looks: Ermanno Scervino, Versace, Marni, MSGM
6. Sporty Flatforms
Let's call it the "Ugly Shoe Effect." At least the ones on the spring 2017 runways at Milan saw elevated takes on rubber shower slides and Tevas. And we mean that literally—sporty sandals got a substantial lift with a flatform bottom.
Runway looks: Prada and Versace
7. Shine Bright
Feeling uninspired? A sprinkling of top-to-toe glitter or sequins is all it takes to feel shiny, bright, and new again.
Runway looks: Gucci, Emilio Pucci, Prada, Marco de Vincenzo
8. Missoni's New Muted Colors
Missoni's subtle color-blocking for next season proves that sometimes—sometimes—less is more. We love the brand's signature zig-zags, but you can't argue with these pretty soft knits.
10. Nu Victorian
Victorian, yes, but there's nothing puritanical about these see-through lace dresses (especially with contrasting lingerie underneath—scandal!).
Runway looks: Alberta Ferretti, Giamba, Ermanno Scervino
11. Sloping Shoulders
They say the '80s (and '90s) are back. Fortunately, it looks like the linebacker-like shoulder pads from the decade didn't make the cut. Instead, a softer version with curved sleeves and a downward-sloping silhouette.
Runway looks: Marni, Jil Sander, Salvatore Ferragamo
12. Super Model Moments
New York saw an onslaught of major model cameos on the runway, but it looks like Milan took it a whole new level: Liya Kebede at Prada, Gigi Hadid and, rather unbelievably, Lauren Hutton at Bottega Veneta (along with an amazing cast of others, like Anna Cleveland, Adriana Lima, Karen Elson, and Eva Herzigova), and Naomi Campbell at Versace.
13. Giant Cargo Pockets
With pockets this big, who needs purses? Utilitarian, indeed.
Runway looks: Fendi, Marni, Jil Sander
14. Surprisingly Wearable Feathers
Let's be real: Anything with feathers should be worn after the sun sets. At a black-tie affair? Sure. Out on the streets in broad daylight? Maybe not (unless it's a walk-of-shame, day-after situation). But Miuccia Prada made feathers surprisingly wearable when she lined the edges of skirts, tops, and the sleeves of coats with colorful plumes.
15. Maximalist Denim
Of course, the designers of Maximalist Milan wouldn't be able to resist maximizing denim with luxe brocade finishes, charms and trinkets, rose-embroidered patches, and rhinestone studs all over.
Runway looks: Philipp Plein, Dolce & Gabbana, Giamba, Dsquared2
16. Land vs. Sea Animals
Whether you like to cuddle up to a lemur or zebra (or any of the other wildlife mammals printed on knits and dresses) or prefer to swim with a school of fish, the spring 2017 collections starred all the animals in the kingdom.
Runway looks: Max Mara, Gucci, Sportmax, Dolce & Gabbana
17. Leggings as Pants
Even though non-models have been well-advised to never wear leggings as pants, that didn't stop designers from adopting the fashion faux pas with carefree abandon.
Runway looks: Fausto Puglisi, Max Mara, Versace
18. Bags on Belts
Every season, someone—someone—tries to make fanny packs happen and it never happens. Nevertheless, the next evolution of fanny packs or "belt bags" involve purses (top-handle bags at No. 21, buckets at Jil Sander, and giant backpack-like pockets at Marni) slung around the hips—with straps that could also possibly be worn over the shoulder.
19. Which "No-Pants" Look Is for You?
The most neglected article for clothing these days seems to be the pants (see: celebrities de-pantsing on the streets). So which no-pants look speaks to you? There are three options, as you can see from the runways at Milan Fashion Week: 1) micro-short hot pants (that's basically underwear, lbh) at Prada, 2) a sheer skirt over underwear (there's coverage, but just little of it) at Fendi, or 3) no pants and an oversized hoodie at Dolce & Gabbana.
20. Go Nets
Nets in all shapes and sizes entrapped the looks on the runways, from sporty mesh-like holes to ones that are remarkably reminiscent of either basketball hoops or the netted sweaters that Asian pears come in.
Runway looks: Bally, No. 21, MSGM