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MFW Designers To Know

FEATURE: LONG READ
Words by ABIGAIL GURNEY-READ

Milan Fashion Week made its debut in 1958. Even by then, its inaugural year, the excellence of ‘Made in Italy’was common knowledge. If LFW is known for the nurturing of new and exciting talent, its Milanese counterpart is synonymous with fashion’s big league. Live ‘la dolce vita’care of five designers that embody the spirit.

Plus, for the latest from all four fashion capitals, follow #HarrodsAtTheShows.

Bottega Veneta
Bottega Veneta

What: The 'It' look of the season. Why: In the wake of his triumphant debut, Daniel Lee’s sophomore runway – staged in Milan’s Palazzo del Senato – was met with fevered anticipation. Accessories were exceptional, as expected; leather has long been Bottega Veneta’s raison d’être, and Lee has well and truly made it his own, using it liberally throughout SS20’s ready-to-wear via sleek shirt dresses and razor-sharp tailoring. As for the bags – Arco, Cassette, Jodie, The Pouch, only the speediest shoppers will get their hands on one. Where to Wear: Anywhere – and everywhere. Trust us!

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Max Mara
Max Mara

What: Modern power dressing. Why: No capsule wardrobe is complete without a Max Mara coat. On par with a cream silk blouse and black knee-high boots, the Italian brand’s belted Manuela and Teddy signatures boast a gravitas with which few can compete. Yet Max Mara’s influence extends far beyond the reaches of outerwear alone. Power pieces – from silk dresses to supremely sumptuous cashmere knits – are no strangers to the wardrobes of influential women the world over. We saw all of the above and more on the SS20 runway. Where to Wear: A meeting with your stock broker. They’ll know you mean business.

Gucci
Gucci

What: Classic silhouettes with eccentric accents. Why: Alessandro Michele is one of life’s great polymaths. High culture, Elton John, alchemy – Michele’s voracious appetite for knowledge and inspiration seeks nourishment where others daren’t. He has expeditiously put maximalism back on the map, and his SS20 runway – filled with kaleidoscopic prints, monogrammed separates and bejewelled dresses – did nothing to dispel the reputation. Dip your toe into Michele’s wonderland, with his new ornate version of the classic Gucci loafers. Where to Wear: High tea with your favourite grandma. Play your cards right, and she’ll disinherit your cousins.

Etro
Etro

What: Style with substance. Why: Italians have a saying: la famiglia è la patria del cuore. Translation? Family is where the heart is. Milan lays claim to numerous design dynasties – the house of Etro among them. Now helmed by Veronica Etro (the daughter of founder Gerolamo 'Gimmo' Etro), this storied brand is as synonymous with style as it is with soul. Paisley prints resurrected from the familial archive, lavish fabrics from embroidered velvet to guipure lace; the Etro DNA is a feast of tasteful grandeur. Where to Wear: Treasure hunting at Grays Antique Market. Bonus points if you find a tapestry that matches your cardigan.

Dolce & Gabbana
Dolce & Gabbana

What: Unadulterated Italian glamour. Why: The Dolce & Gabbana woman can be described in myriad ways. Fabulous, glamorous, joyous… take your pick! Hers is a wardrobe hallmarked by high-octane brocade, hothouse florals and handbags that are one-part accessory to two parts jewellery. In other words: a treasure trove of traditional Sicilian splendour. If you came here for minimalism, look away now. Where to Wear: Long weekends in Venice. Think Harry’s Bar, Isola de San Clemente and moonlight trysts with a dashing gondolier.

Man and woman standing outside in jacket and coat

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