A/W 2024.25 collections

Here’s what we noticed on the mfw catwalks

Some labelled it ‘expressive minimalism’ because it gives the understated wardrobe a dash of verve, which is usually lacking from the ‘rigorous’ approach. Labels aside, the latest round of shows on both sides of the Atlantic were dominated by discreet, quiet luxury characterised by rather muted colours and details that, though never too showy, give the look and the entire collection an ‘edge’, like when a hint of spice is added to a dish. The Apparent Rigour trend showcases a softened severity, a cleanness with some intentional smudging. With a balance of masculine and feminine tailoring almost always at the heart of every outfit, it is the contrasting materials, ruffles, ruches and draping, the many facets and uses of knitwear, and the refined embroidery that gives movement and verve to a trend that hates noise and ostentation and wants to keep things simple.

Retro Chic offers a similar classic and sophisticated touch, with the focus on a golden-era diva’s allure, going as far back as the early decades of the 20th century. Naturally interpreted differently by the various brands, the mood focuses on tailoring, hence coats, blazers and sets in high quality, thick fabrics, paired or alternated with ethereal, often lingerie, materials, with midi hemlines, bon-ton pieces in muted tones such as grey and beige. Yet we wonder, is there a crack, an opposition to this shared and rather homogeneous front of prevailing minimalism that can sound a little dull at times? Probably there is. Some cannot help but indulge in a little Storytelling, turning their stories into theatrical, visionary outfits, packed with showy details, whether prints, embellishments or accessories, and a bolder colour palette that is not too bright but more intense than the neutrals that brands are getting us used to. Behind these collections lies imagery that gives freedom of style and expression, a sort of pass that allows you to get off the beaten track and let yourself go, at least a little. To call it maximalism is perhaps exaggerated, but it does make us nostalgic for when fashion was crazy and colourful, perhaps less wearable but capable of generating dreams and excitement.

Apparent Rigour

Toning down the imagination does not mean not indulging in some flamboyance, some frivolity, especially if it is part of your brand’s DNA.

This is what Alberta Ferretti does. The brand’s collection features masculine pieces and thick fabrics juxtaposed with evanescent chiffon and lace and sparkling embroidery and sequins. The right balance of tailoring and femininity, between solidity and lightness, in a story of opposites that complete one another to perfection.

Urban uniforms reinterpreted in a folk key, in this case the Swiss one by Bally; rigorous classic mood meets pastoral mysticism, so it happens that coats and suits are translated into ‘loden’ style, and office shirts are combined with midi skirts with slits or studded with bright details.

The Fendi show featured an eye-catching array of classic, ‘conventional’ pieces worn in an unconventional way. A sharp skirtsuit softened by a knit shrug, a masculine suit topped by a V-neck sweater with slashed sleeves, linear overcoats and coats teamed with mini-dresses with built-in hood and pirate boots in contrasting colours.

Sabato De Sarno’s tailoring for Gucci emerged out of the ordinary. Here too, apparent formality was only a front for some surprising and transformational details. So, an oversize men’s coat is buttoned down the back and/or lit up with crystals and bright embroidery, or is worn with visible underwear and diaphanous slip-dresses. Suits maintain their structure but come in tiny sizes and all-new colours. Everything is teamed with iconic riding boots, pirate boots and platform loafers.

The sparkling world of the New York upper class is the background for Massimo Giorgetti’s collection for MSGM inspired by Truman Capote’s ‘swans’. The show featured a bon-ton wardrobe made up of structured outfits, oversize coats, blouses with mini or long skirts. However, these basic garments with clean lines were given ‘sparkling’ details and frills: contrasting collars, zips and/or bands, patent surfaces, and faux fur insets.

Retro Chic

The past is an inexhaustible source of inspiration; no wonder it comes back to the runways time and again.

For his latest collection, Michael Kors looked to the ’30s, the decade of his grandparents’ wedding photo from which he drew inspiration. The sculptural tailoring of those years lives on in the broad-shouldered suits and coats but also in the feminine details such as collars, stoles and faux fur insets, belts emphasising the waist, lace and sequins on the evening looks.

The clash of rigour and surrealism of the early post-war period provided the inspiration for Ferragamo. Maximilian Davis combined the imposing tailoring of cosy coats and capes and broad-shouldered jackets with fluid, diaphanous, often transparent and/or low waist dresses.

The intrepid Colette, unconventional and sensual, lives on in Max Mara’s collection, beginning with the 1910s-inspired, oval silhouetted long coats and the geometrically shaped, crystal-festooned dresses. Masculine and feminine were once again mixed, featuring rigorous lines and Japanese-inspired details, such as an obi-style knit band replacing a belt and the kimono-style outerwear.

Lorenzo Serafini for Philosophy pays homage to Hitchcock’s women, therefore several decades ranging from the 40s to the 60s; egg-shaped overcoats like the ones worn by Kim Novak and Grace Kelly were in vinyl here, Janet Leigh’s wraparound skirts, Tippi Hedren’s bright satin, the shaped jackets that nearly all his protagonists wore. Alongside the more muted shades typical of that period were bolder colours, almost neon tints and lots of Technicolor green.

Prada’s collection – designed by Miuccia together with co-creative director Raf Simons – interweaves different eras, because, as the latter states, “you can only realize your future if you know your past”. A long silhouette, aided by vertical headgear, features tailored outfits with long, structured jackets and midi skirts, pretty ‘20s-style dresses, broad-shouldered coats, bon-ton cardigans over mid-length skirts – in short, a series of decades and styles, a reinterpretation of ‘the way we were’ in order to remember where we are headed.


Until a few seasons ago, daring was still fashionable; it seemed that designers almost competed to ‘outshine’ one another, with collections packed not only with frills but also stories. Now it is all about stripping back. And yet some are bucking the trend, not only because decoration is in their brand’s DNA but also because they love putting their own take on it.

Take Anna Sui, who is always colourful and ‘folkloristic’; this time her love of vintage was imbued with a touch of grunge and Miss Marple, Agatha Christie’s heroine. A fusion of styles and garments was given an injection of verve, with kilts worn over loose cargo pants, vintage hand-dyed lingerie teamed with knitwear, headgear, lozenge socks, neck scarves and long gloves.

Antonio Marras, a skilful storyteller, brought Eleonora d’Arborea to the runway. This emancipated, rebellious Sardinian ruler was dressed in a mix of local fashion and Celtic culture. This is why damasks and brocades alternate with checks, houndstooth and argyle, while the lightness of voile is juxtaposed with structured elements such as capes, corsets, headgear and ruffs.

Behind Del Core’s collection lies the metamorphosis of insects, with knitwear playing the role of protective shells in the form of hoods, collars and fringes, alongside bustiers with adjustable zips to reveal or cover the body. There were also dresses with entomological prints, embellished with ruches and ruffles, providing lightness after the heaviness of the armour.

Dream-like imagery linked to an underwater treasure hunt; Etro’s creatures venture into the abyss, supple and luxuriant with sumptuous embroidery and paisley prints scattered over asymmetric and draped long dresses as well as suits, blouses and coats. Knitwear is chunky while sinuous shapes alternate with big or fluid volumes and the intense colours confirm the maximalist, precious mood.

Fausto Puglisi’s collection for Roberto Cavalli pays homage to the luxury, tradition and craft of marble. The Carrara marble signature black and white veining featured on the first dresses, coats and suits, with a little golden touch. Than came crimson, burgundy, yellow and green on later outfits that continued to highlight feminine shapes and seduction.

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