Milan Fashion Week SS17: Want To Understand Where Fashion Is Right Now? Look No Further Than Bottega Veneta And Dolce & Gabbana

From one extreme to the other​

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Anyone looking to get a handle on what is happening in fashion right now need look no further than the Bottega Veneta and Dolce & Gabbana shows. 

The two couldn't be more different: one making a case for considered, slow, understated, luxury fashion in a sea of See Now Buy Now, while the other is all Instagrammable tableaus and flashing lights. Both sparked conversation for completely different reasons. Let's discuss.

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Nice and slow

There wasn't a dry eye in the house when Thomas Maier took his finale bow with his design studio team, their eyes all wet with tears. 

Lauren Hutton and Gigi Hadid at Bottega Veneta SS17
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It's Bottega Veneta's 50th anniversary, an occasion definitely worth shouting about. But the brand celebrated the milestone pretty quietly with a show in a new location and a collection of timeless pieces (long, belted dresses in supple leather and long, fluid tailoring) that epitomised the idea of stealth wealth — clothes that aren't demanding to be photographed, but rather worn and lived in, year after year. 

Lauren Hutton, Eva Herzigova and Karen Elson on the Bottega Veneta catwalk

And that looks increasingly appealing right now when the lifespan of a designer piece grows shorter by the season and is now about as fleeting as the latest Snap or Insta-story. (Is the Vetements denim over already?)

Bottega Veneta SS17

'I wanted to celebrate by staying true to the brand, to the ideas of private luxury,' creative director Tomas Maier said. For him, the clothes were less about the moment and more about 'simple and easy things that are special for those people who appreciate them. The hard work in their creation is invisible to the eye, the result is a pleasure to wear.'   

Lauren Hutton and Gigi Hadid at Bottega Veneta SS17

Maier drove the timeless point home with a brilliant cast of supermodels old and new representing all ages: Lauren Hutton, Karen Elson, Eva Herzigova, Lineisy Montero and Gigi Hadid. See Now Shop Now? How about See Now Buy Later.

B-A-N-A-N-A-S

Meanwhile the phones were held way high at Dolce & Gabbana as a flash mob (a flash mob!!) of break dancers ran onto the runway and started doing windmills and head spins against a backdrop of banana trees and a giant neon sign declaring 'Tropicana Italiano'. 

This, after we had listened to the ENTIRE Justin Bieber album play for 45+ minutes as a string of young super vloggers and Insta stars (Cameron Dallas! Lucky Blue Smith!) and Sofia Richie (Bieber's ex!) took their front row seats. Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce virtually broke the fashion Internet back in 2009 by becoming the first major brand to give bloggers (who were mostly pioneering 'outsiders' in those days) prime front row seating. This was the Insta equivalent of that, with a slew of social media influencers on the younger side of Generation Millenial receiving the red carpet treatment. This was a show tailor made for your feed. So much to photograph! Which moment to post?

Dolce & Gabbana SS17

The clothes had just as much going on: dresses made of jazzy sequins, lush embroidery, romantic florals and Sicilian lace. There were pizza dresses, corseted numbers emblazoned with ice cream cones and cocktail frocks bearing the praying Virgin Mary. 

Dolce & Gabbana SS17

There were also high heels with built-in flashing lights. Oh, and plush, luxury versions of hotel slippers. (Between the Crocs at Christopher Kane and the hotel slippers here, footwear is reaching a new level of comfort, eh?)  And as we walked out, a real dance party on the runway (seriously, Anna Dello Russo and those break dancers were getting down.) 

Dolce & Gabbana SS17

It was literally bananas. And that, my friends, in a nutshell is the state of play in fashion today. How this will all pan out is anyone's guess at this rate. But just know, the ride won't be boring. 

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