#MFW A/W 2015: Live from the front row

Rebecca Lowthorpe reports on the shows as they happen

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1/03/15 - 2pm Destined to tug on the heart strings of every woman in the room, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana sent out their ode to mammas collection... Read my Dolce & Gabbana review here. Meanwhile, this was Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana's Viva La Mama moment. Meet the bambinos who starred in the show...

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Bambino no 1 and mama in blush quipure silk.

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Bambino no 2, Emily, the youngest babe to ever grace a catwalk?

Bambino no 3, who wanted to crawl the catwalk.

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La ragazzi in pint-sized pink.

Bianca Balti, seven months pregnant in pink and star of many a 'famiglia' Dolce & Gabbana campaign.

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One cool mamma.

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'Mamma you are my queen'

Rennaisance Madonna-mamma.

Queen Dolce & Gabbana mamma in pre-schooler prints.

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10.30am In the midst of all things slick and vibrant or vintagey and individualistic here in Milan, Marni went its own way this season with its sombre palette, heavy rich fabrics and minimal almost warrior-like aesthetic. Still, it was strong and beautiful. 

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28/02/15 - 3.00pm Last season, Rodolfo Paglialunga, was tasked with the huge responsibility of stepping into Jil Sander's much-loved shoes. The industry was divided as to whether he had pulled it off. This season, the question still remains, despite having served up some gorgeous clothes. The problem, as many saw it last time, was that his edit was too rigorous. This season, the opposite was true - too many ideas and not enough of the true-Sander aesthetic. That said, I loved the looks below.

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This jacket and trouser combination looked lovely, but had I not seen it on the Jil Sander catwalk, I wouldn't know it was from that brand.

Fantastic use of colour - yellow polo and off-white coat. Paglialunga does brilliant coats.

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In shearling, the colours popped.

He's a great colourist too, see the pink polo, stripes and monochrome.

Ditto, but here in green.

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Another shearling hit. 

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Best of all was this slinky dressing gown coat. 

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12.30pm Roberto Cavalli was on top form, showing at a new venue, rammed as ever to capacity. It's interesting to watch the front row Italian TV starlets done up to the nines, lifted and sucked in every way imagineable. But it was harder to imagine them in the clothes Cavalli presented today, even if they were kinder on the female form. As in looser, longer, more fluid and generally giving more coverage. 

Cavalli is another establishment designer who's got the cool bug this season as he challenges himself to find new ways to tell the story of what he does. Prints, as ever, were a big hit and he caught the current mood of romance by festoning his long flowing dresses with ruffles.

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This being Cavalli, you couldn't escape the odd sequin or two. But surely a pair of skin-tight sequin trousers are just what his customers would order?

I liked the collection best when it went into pirate/New Romantic territory, like the tiny print silk jacket above, ruffled blouse but then thrown off a bit by a strict button-front skirt.

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The parka is an obligatory piece to any designer seeking cool. The idea hails from Hedi Slimane and Nicholas Ghesquiere at Saint Laurent and Louis Vuitton respectively. Their pioneer status can not be underestimated here in Milan, least of all on the Cavalli catwalk. Though I do like Roberto's spin on it.

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9.30am Bottega Veneta. It felt like Artistic Director, Thomas Maier, had decided to take off on a different foot this season. The idea seemed to be to take each model as an individual, rather than clothes horses selling one bold theme. Hence Edie Campbell, the now blonde sprite who opened the show, was pictured in optical coin dots. Maier is obsessed with art - and you could see it here in the print, colour and texture.

Talking of texture...

Brilliant touch, to put these gold boots in the mix, particularly to take the edge of this 'lady' ensemble.

Coat, shirt and trousers as a canvas for optical dots. 

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Then came the saturated colour, taking on a whiff of the 1970s in burnt orange, tan and black. 

Another optical trouser suit - there were a lot of them. But I like the matchy-matchyness, it works.

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And talking of models as individuals - here, Anna Cleveland (first seen this season rocking a Giles pleated fan frock) rocked up on the Bottega catwalk. Perhaps this had something to do with Katie Grand, who styles both Giles and Bottega? Anyhow, she looked great, embued the clothes with the correct individualistic spirit. Just like her mother, Pat.

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27/02/15 8pm: Donatella Versace is the global CCO (Chief Creative Officer) of the predatory female. But a Donatella-does-sex-collection is nothing new. Everyone knows that, including Donatella. So in a bid to freshen her oeuvre, Donatella put cool into the mix... Read the rest of my Versace review here.

She who wears the boots wins. But only if they're thigh high in shiny scarlet lacquer.

Pitch black also works, especially with a dramatic slashed V on a skinny catsuit with flared legs.

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Why not say who designed it all over. Gimme a V- E - R... you know the rest.

Or just say the whole thing in crystal. It is Versace after all.

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6pm: Philosophy. It's exciting to see a new designer break through in Milan, the city of solid established megabrands, particularly one who has worked behind the scenes at some of the city's top design studios - a decade at Roberto Cavalli followed by five years at Dolce & Gabbana. Today Lorenzo Serafini made his front-of-house debut at Philosophy, Alberta Ferretti's younger sister line. And what a breath of fresh air it was too.

Serafini, above, brought the skill and all the required sensitivity to a label that stands for youth and romanticism. The collection, up until now, had been presented at New York Fashion Week and never quite found the formula to set the fashion world alight. The revolving door at the house saw too many creative directors come and go and consequently the brand lacked clarity and vision. That all changed today with Serafini in the driving seat, he steered through trends like a dab-hand, but always within the context of Philosophy. Feast your eyes...

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Nailing the 'Diana' blouse. As in Princess Diana, leader of the 1980s Sloane Rangers. Less Sloaney here, more modern-pretty.

Love the pussy-bow blouse under the frilled dress. And the colour(s)!

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Not to everyone's taste, perhaps, but these pretty dungarees give a new slant on feminine workwear.

Frilled jumper. Yes please.

OK, not everyone will seek out a transparent dress for autumn / winter 2015, but the look illustrates the Serafini's sensibility as a man with sensitive hands. This collection was a real ELLE favourite. You'll definitely be hearing much more about him.

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12.30am: Sportmax. Ultra-uncomplicated clothes. One outfit, five trends: camel + blanket coat + fringing + duffle bag + piebald ponyskin. 

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10.30am: At Emporio Armani this morning I became slightly obsessed with Mr Armani's twins.

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Twinning...

Double vision.

He called his collection Crossing Colours. Personally, I loved the red.

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Note the black tousled wigs. Thinking of getting one.

Best outfit in show award goes to this velvet flower trousersuit. 

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26/02/15 8pm: Moschino. In just three seasons, Moschino's creative director Jeremy Scott has re-written the house rules and reinvigorated the brand. So much so that when you take your seat - careful to stash generous house freebies, a TOY teddy bear fragrance and teddy bear iPhone 6 cover - you know exactly what to expect when you see the giant ghetto-blaster backdrop: irreverence, fun, bold as mustard, Instagramogenic fashion. See his four 'chapters' below. 

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1) Eighties ghetto-fabulous reincarnate with maximal inflation of everything from quilted coat to boots to gigantic duffle bag.

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2) Scott is a walking encyclopedia of pop-culture. Here, Disney's favourite characters splashed on sweatshirts. 

3) Let's throw in some Americana baseball references for good measure. 

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4) How would the late Franco Moschino gone about subverting denim today? Probably something like this, above.

Franco Moschino made teddy famous when he covered his 1988 chic black cocktail collection with cuddly bears. Reprising Franco's theme, Scott launched Ready to Bear at his show - 19 pieces including accessories - that were immediately available to buy off the runway at moschino.com and at Moschino's boutiques worldwide.

Not hard to picture one of Scott's besties, Rita Ora or Katy Perry in one of his finale graffiti gowns. 

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6pm: Read my Prada review here. Below, Julia Nobis in one of my favourite looks from Mrs Prada's 'Soft Pop' collection. Miuccia said it was all about 'variations of beauty' and 'what is real and what is fake?' Hence the plastic-meets-diamonds brooches and the sweet-sour pastels. 

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Above, Miuccia's 'molecular' print dress. Below, the same dress in close-up backstage. It turns out not to be printed after all, more like a 3D embroidery using the same silken neoprene, sprinkled with pearls and jet. 

Above, the hit pink coat of the season?

Will this princess-pink number be the most photographed dress when shooting autumn / winter 2015 starts straight after the shows? #mostairmilesdress

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12.30pm: Backstage at Fendi minutes before the show begins. The collection, all pure linear cuts, celebrates Karl Lagerfeld's 50th year as creative director of the house. 

Below, Fendi's stylist Charlotte Stockdale, left, with Lindsey Wixson, centre, one of the 51 models in the show, and Katie Lyall.

The collection opened in pure white, recalling the architecture of the new Fendi headquarters in Rome, Palazzo della Civiltà. 

Almost all the bags carried a fresh flower, a passion flower.

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Skirts with articulated panels, above, were a big feature. As were fluffy boots. Fendi's creative muse and collaborator, Amanda Harlech, told me this was her favourite look.

Shearling legged trousers  - a neat idea to keep out the cold.

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Then came the volume, on Kendall. Note the fluffy pom-poms swinging from her bag, marked with her initials KJ.

Then things got seriously voluminous. Above, one of Fendi stylist Charlotte Stockdale's favourite looks. 

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25/02/15 2pm: It's all change at Gucci. The new creative director, Alessandro Michele, is a rebel rule-breaker. Read my review here

Calling all fashionable women! Gucci is looking for a whole new clientele! Are you that girl? Or boy?

Are you a vintage fiend? An intellectual? Have you read Roland Barthes' 'The Contemporary is the Untimely'? If so you may proceed...

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Are you of an androgynous persuasion? Do you look the part? See above.

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Boy-girls, girl-boys, you have inspired Gucci's new creative director Alessandro Michele. 'Sexuality, androgyny, boy-girls, girl-boys. That's life!' he said backstage.

If you love military, look no further than Gucci.

Check the beret. And the Gucci-stocks. Girls, how much do you love this suit? Yes, it really is Gucci.

Bet you never thought you'd see footwear like this on the Gucci runway. Move over steel-toe-capped stilettos, make way for a pair of fluffy Chihuahuas. With Gucci snaffles. Adorable.

Is he a boy? Is she a girl? That is the question. The answer is either sex can wear this. And feel sexy.

Grandma's fur coat. Tie with mis-matched belt. Wear with the updated Gucci loafers. Buy! Buy! Buy!

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