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Eric Wilson is InStyle's fashion news director. For more real-time insights during Fashion Month, follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

Eric Wilson
Feb 25, 2016 @ 9:30 pm

Only two days into the Milan collections, we can state fairly certainly that fashion’s hyper-decorative state is likely to carry on for some time. On Thursday night, Miuccia Prada’s kinetically embellished collection, usually the bellwether of style, proved that with fascinating collages of prints and brocades, plus elements of hunting and sailing attire in a show that was as hard to read as it was pleasing to watch.

Prada’s intentions, while rarely clear, are usually a little more direct than this, but themes in fashion tend to play a little dull to the elites. But if there were ideas to be mined from even the simple hint of a proposal – that in today’s world you can never be underdressed or over-styled – Prada found more than her share. And no one in this crowd is going to complain about a collection filled with items that stirred the consumer heartstrings.

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Much of her fall lineup included super sporty pieces like hunting jackets with quilted pockets (the quilted bags matched, too), and wooly plaid coats and capes destined for heath tromping, argyle socks and diamond patterned tights (athleisure alert), sporty jackets and heels, and even hiking boots. Another group included sailor-cap topped models wearing corseted belts around their navy peacoats (above), along with variations of collage coats and dresses, and shoes trimmed with anchors. Some pieces were printed with illustrations by Christophe Chemin, a Berlin artist, lending a graphic wildness to the overall look, like clothes plucked from an exploration into the furthest frontiers of the art world (below).

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Stripes were a major motif of the fall Fendi collection, however Silvia Venturini Fendi and Karl Lagerfeld made their case most clearly with spare black coats and dresses trimmed with pie-crust ruffles and sunburst pleats. There was an underlying easiness to the basic sportswear pieces in this show, a coral blouse, a sober brown skirt with an explosion of pleats, a black dress that belted neatly. The fur coats were something else – puzzles of funness, with bright rugby stripes, flowers, and matching furry bags big enough to hibernate in (below).

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And stripes had their moment in the spotlight at Max Mara as well. Cute onesies and brightly striped pieces were as delightful as a full electric yellow ensemble of suit, shoes, and short coat. But what looked so fresh here was actually the aged-looking fabrics, cuddly wools that looked as if they had been worn a thousand times only to become softer and more comfortable with age (below).

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If there’s one designer who loves a theme, it’s Jeremy Scott at Moschino. This season, he set his collection amid a heap of busted antiques, where in marched a band of leather-clad biker girls (also trailing couture-type bows). But after a dozen or so looks, to be honest, this seemed a little boring. Is that all there is?

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Of course not! One of the better (though politically incorrect) ideas of his show was to position the Moschino logo like the Marlboro cigarette brand, on purses shaped like cigarette packs and patches on T-shirts that warned, “Fashion Kills.” Well, this sparked an idea – the next round of models appeared in dresses that were covered in burn holes and literally trailing plumes of smoke. It was all very clever, if perhaps a little hazardous to your health.

2016 Venturelli

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