Versace’s Barbie Glam, Sunnei’s Twist: Milan Fashion Week 2023

Milan Fashion Week 2023 saw Versace embracing the Barbie zeitgeist with a fusion of girlish charm and sophistication, Tod bidding farewell to designer Walter Chiapponi, and Sunnei's interactive runway show challenging fashion norms.

Versace’s Barbie-inspired Glamour, Tod’s Farewell, and Sunnei’s Interactive Twist: Milan Fashion Week 2023 Highlights

Milan Fashion Week 2023 Barbie Zeitgeist brings iconic style into Versace’s runway

On the third day of Milan Fashion Week, rain played spoilsport, forcing several fashion houses to relocate their shows indoors and leaving fashion enthusiasts to navigate the gridlocked city streets with umbrellas in hand. Despite the weather challenges, the day brought a mix of exciting and memorable moments on the runway.

Versace’s Barbie-inspired Collection

Donatella Versace took inspiration from Barbie for her Spring-Summer 2024 collection, creating a fusion of girlish charm and sophistication. Gingham and checks dominated the runway in pastel hues, adorning everything from mini-dresses to flouncy shorts and collarless skirt suits. The collection featured exquisite details like covered buttons and bow-shaped barrettes, adding a touch of whimsy to the looks.

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For the empowered Barbie, Versace offered black-and-white check suits, leather combinations, and chic cocktail dresses. These outfits were paired with open-toe heels that merged seamlessly into leather socks. Standout pieces included a captivating checked coat that billowed around the wearer and a padded V-neck black cocktail dress. Ken also made an appearance in the collection, donning a blue silk shirt paired casually with black trousers or a lime-green leisure suit. He even borrowed some of Barbie’s embroidered twinsets.

The runway show’s grand finale featured supermodels Gigi Hadid in a slinky yellow dress with a plunging neckline and Claudia Schiffer in a lime-and-silver check slip dress. Kendall Jenner had opened the show in a satiny white shirt and silver shoes, setting the stage for a Barbie-inspired fashion extravaganza.

Tod’s Bids Farewell to Walter Chiapponi

Tod’s bid farewell to its designer, Walter Chiapponi, who had contributed to the brand’s identity for four years. The show’s setting was a cavernous workshop adorned with classical statues, carpentry tools, and painted backdrops from La Scala opera house productions. This backdrop underscored Tod’s commitment to blending traditional Italian craftsmanship with modern technology.

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Chiapponi’s farewell collection focused on essential luxury, characterized by clean lines and a muted colour palette punctuated with bursts of acid green. Leather goods took centre stage, with wide belts defining silhouettes and adding utility with tiny pockets and hooks for mesh gloves. Deconstructed tailoring in jackets and vests exuded feminine charm when paired with wide-pleated skirts or trousers. The collection concluded with sleeveless knit dresses that hugged the body and featured unexpected button detailing down the back.

The standout accessories of the season were Napa mules and woven sandals. Tod’s iconic handbags, including the geometric T-Box and the embossed leather T Timeless, were treated as precious cargo. Chiapponi received a warm backstage celebration from friends and admirers, with the announcement of his successor still pending.

Sunnei’s Interactive Runway Show

Sunnei took an unconventional approach to its runway show, inviting guests to become fashion critics by using paddleboard scorecards to rate each look on a scale of 1 to 10. This playful twist on the traditional fashion show format added an interactive element to the event.

Sunnei’s collection aimed to challenge the notion of fashion, positioning itself as an opportunity to appreciate the art form. The collection featured a mix of oversized layering and sporty leotards paired with stretch skirts. Unconventional materials and proportion play added an irreverent touch to the designs. Footwear choices included neoprene booties with unique nubby heels.

The show’s host humorously used the Italian word “ancora,” which means “again,” alluding to the highly anticipated Gucci preview that was scheduled right before Sunnei’s show and used the same tagline. Sunnei’s designers, Loris Messina and Simone Rizzo, embraced their irreverent streak, creating a collection that stood out for its creativity and unconventionality.

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