x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Milan promises us a rainbow for winter

The colourful tone set in London is being continued and developed in the autumn/winter collections at Milan Fashion Week.

There are only so many camel coats and black jackets a modern girl wants in her wardrobe, so fashion designers had to come up with something new to lure customers into their shops. Their answer is colour.

Now, that may not sound very new as we see the spring collections of pinks, yellows and royal blues hit the rails this month, but colour for autumn is something altogether different. The London fashion shows last week were awash with colour and now the Italian designers are letting loose with the paint palette, producing eye-popping hues.

Versace, Raf Simons for Jil Sander and Blumarine all produced vibrant collections. However, there are two takes on how to work colour into a collection. Gucci, for instance, picked out a 1970s palette of purple, teal and rust and gave it movie-star allure. Versace, Jil Sander and Blumarine, on the other hand, use colour on clean minimalist silhouettes, which somehow makes them appear more intense.

Simons evolved Jil Sander's summer collection of neon brights, already being worn by many of the fashion editors in the audience, into ski knits worn with streamlined black stirrup trousers. Pairing colour with black served to enhance the vibrancy of the primary shades. Simons created rounded, sculpted coats and voluptuous skirts in royal blue, red, lime and a flower-print duchesse satin, and kept the details very simple.

There is a couture sensibility to what he does, picking out moulded 1960s Cardinesque silhouettes. Some pieces were lightly padded to hold their shapes, but proportioned so as not to pile on the pounds for the wearer.

Donatella Versace began her show with graphic coats and dresses that, although moulded to the body, were bisected by cut-out shapes. This started with a classic monochromatic palette, until she injected a bit of baroque and those famous swirling patterns her late brother Gianni used to favour.

Cue the bold colours: a baroque scroll was interpreted as one giant placement motif on a dress in purple, green, yellow and blue. The effect was bold and modern, and seemed light years away from the exuberant mass of patterns that her brother used.

The bright colour palette of summer - those saturated oranges, yellows and greens that we saw six months ago - might not seem so shocking in the hands of Blumarine, as the designer Anna Molinari loves playing with the colour spectrum.

What was surprising was to see her use it in such a bold, modern way for winter, parading simple 1960s Courrèges-style silhouettes - straight tunics, trench coats, shifts and boxy cropped tops with straight trousers - with boots and bags all in matching colours. It is making autumn a whole lot brighter.