Milan Fashion Week: Fausto Puglisi's Naughty Papal Chic, Alberta Ferretti's Venice Postcard

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Fausto Puglisi Fall 2017

The Italians kept it close to home with influences on Day 1 of Milan's shows.

Milan Fashion Week Day 1 started with a star-studded Gucci show, Brunello Cucinelli’s lavish lunchtime presentation (featuring a pasta bar with just enough carbs to keep one going through the rigors of watching models), and went through to the evening with designers keeping it close to home with Italian influences.

Alberta Ferretti

Alberta Ferretti gave us a touch of her signature romance by way of Venice, with Gigi Hadid opening the show in a flowing sun and sea-colored gown in a print of Venice’s famous grand canal that gave direction to the rest of the collection. The stripes of the gondoliers were next, on flowing gowns and chunky knit sweaters, to sailor tops embroidered with the golden lion symbol of the city.

Model Halima Aden walked in her hijab; her bundled up belted-coat look could have felt out of place, but it was fitting in a collection that featured colorful Roman priest hats and boasted a local nun in the audience.

The gowns of the collection were a clear red-carpet play — black with constellations of gold stars — reminiscent of the romantic, magical mood at Dior during Paris couture week. Ferretti is a red-carpet staple with a clientele as varied as Lily Collins and Meryl Streep, and while these gowns are likely debuting too late for this Sunday’s festivities, there’s a little European film festival coming in September that these would be perfect for.

Fausto Puglisi

Ever since he designed that hipbone-exposing dress for Kendall Jenner at the Much Music awards in 2014, peekaboo styles have been the strategic center for Fausto Puglisi, who is also a favorite of Madonna and Beyonce. He used the technique again in this collection, going a slight step further with a conservative beaded cape giving way to exposed thigh highs.

Coats and capes and quilted velvet boxer bathrobes with contrasting belts were the strongest and most wearable looks; the half skirt look less so — but he is the king of contrast and asymmetry.

Perhaps he’s a fan of The Young Pope, the aesthetic of Paolo Sorrentino’s series seemed evident throughout this collection. If day one is anything to go by, traditional Roman priest hats are about to have a moment, as they were seen here with larger brims just following Ferretti.

Valentino Eyewear, DSquared Party 

If fashion is all smoke and mirrors, Valentino was taking the theme literally for its eyewear launch party on Wednesday night. Guests had to make their way through a thick fog at the entrance, only to be placed in a mirrored maze that caused lots of confusion — and that was just to get to the coat check. Revolving doors, an ancient apothecary, hidden staircases and a glass pyramid inside a ballroom were among the attractions (hazards?) at the city’s Palazzo Clerici. The brand was celebrating its new partnership with Luxottica (the company behind practically every big brand’s specs) with clear and silver shades on display.

Though there were several parties across town competing for the fashion crowd's attention (and a taxi strike making a sturdy pair of flats the best evening accessory), the brothers Dan and Dean Caten of DSquared threw a thumping one at a nightclub in the south of the city. It was the hottest ticket of the night with the crowd half a block thick just to get to the barricades and beg.

Once inside it wasn’t much less crowded, but while everyone was there to celebrate the first night of fashion week, it was more about the DJ than the dresses — the clothes will have to wait until resees later in the week.