It seems like every year, a new period of decade fashion comes back into style. This year at fashion weeks all over the world, designers took cues from the 40s to the 90s, sometimes mashing up iconic pieces to create something completely new. Nostalgia has fueled every aspect of the human experience as of late, from politics to popular culture. In a world where the two are becoming increasingly interconnected, nostalgia has earned a very interesting place in the fashion industry.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Milan did it best. These retro collections outdid their American, British, and French counterparts by cutting back on the gimmicks and refocusing on the quality of the clothes. By boasting everything from extravagant re-purposed garments to models wrapped in layers of rich Italian fabrics, these 14 collections had me googling “cheap flights to Italy” faster than you can say “Mamma, mi passa le polpette”.
Bally are famous for shoes and accessories, but took a bit of a different turn this season. Ambiguous retro vibes, quirky details, and a Barney-inspired colour scheme makes this Fall Winter 2017 collection one-of-a-kind.
13. Neil Barrett
Neil Barrett turned to his freewheeling college days for inspiration. In the early 1980s, he was immersing himself in the London punk scene. This collection is like a grown-up version of the subculture he loved so much; minimalism and colourblocking give these pieces a modern edge.
12. Arthur Arbesser
Before I knew it, I noticed the 1980s were making a huge comeback at Milan. Arthur Arbesser‘s take on the decade is through the lens of Wings of Desire, a film about earth angels in Berlin. Big, avante garde shoulders were a staple during this time period.
Etro stuck with the safer 1960s and 70s vibes in this collection. Instead of depending on American fashion during those decades, this was inspired by cultural motifs and symbols across space and time.
Marni‘s take on the 1970s was more based on structure and rich Italian fabrics. The pieces get more and more textured as the show progresses.
For Krizia, the 80s and 90s were a heyday. Under the leadership of a new CEO hailing originally from China, Krizia took risks this season and it paid off. This is the perfect mixture between slouchy and structured. The minimalism in this collection makes it look far too grown up for teeny-boppers.
8. Diesel Black Gold
Diesel aren’t known for serving up vintage vibes. The 90s don’t seem like they were so long ago, but they do inspire a certain nostalgia among some Millennials. “Only 90s kids will get it” is their proud proclamation. While most people understand the concept of grunge regardless of their childhood, this collection is a soft and romantic version of that.
90s vibes are in, and they have been for a while. This MSGM collection is inspired by television series Twin Peaks, which aired in the early 90s and has garnered a cult following. The series is being rebooted this year, although it will still remain heavily rooted in nostalgia. However, I’ve seen the show and I have no idea how this is supposed to tie back to it. Owls, trees, and high school letter jackets are pretty big motifs throughout the series, but that’s the only connection this English major can make here. To me, it almost looks interchangeable with Stranger Things.
6. No. 21
I’ve seen a lot of fashion shows this month, but this No. 21 collection lingered in my memory for days after. It looks like streetwear, but it’s too quirky for today’s red carpet starlets. I like too many details about this show to list here, but I’ll at least point out my favourites:
- Outfit 1: That man shirt sticking out of the bottom of the shorts is everything;
- Outfits 3-5: These brooch details are giving me life;
- Outfit 6: I have a sweater exactly like that and now I want to wear it like that;
- Outfit 7: Yes, that is an undershirt. Yes, it’s supposed to be that short;
- Outfit 8: Oh, bow.
5. Bottega Veneta
Bottega Veneta played it safe this year and still managed to impress. Although he denies that this collection is 1940s-inspired, it is giving me 40s vibes up the wazoo. Veneta may be shy to associate himself with the 40s, as things were politically tumultuous in most of Europe, including Italy, during this time. This collection is beautiful, but I can’t imagine it being less beautiful if Veneta embraced history instead of running from it. Nevertheless, this is a beautiful, polished collection fit for a lady.
4. Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini
1980s vibes are making a major comeback and Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini does it best. This collection delivers something much greater than those horrible 1980s prom dresses; girls who listen to The Cure and look up to Elizabeth Taylor will flock to these frocks.
Furs are always huge in Milan, but this year, nearly every other collection took a stab at animal print. Animal print is great because it is suitable for nearly every season, but over these last few years, leopard-print jackets have been all the rage. The jury is still out on whether Vivetta did it best, but they certainly did an excellent job at embracing those vintage vibes. This hyper-feminine collection’s take on vintage vibes borrows elements of fantasy, nostalgia, and Italian luxury. The only thing that’s missing is a back view of that long black fur overcoat.
2. Stella Jean
Stella Jean‘s Fall Winter 2017 collection is doubly rooted in nostalgia and politics. Instead of focusing on one specific decade in fashion, this collection explores the Cold War – an American narrative that inspires and perpetuates foreign relations to this day. American military dress and Russian peasant mufti are juxtaposed in order to make us ask ourselves what the relations between those two countries are really like today. Social media rumors of an alliance between Trump and Putin have been making the headlines since very early on in Trump’s campaign. In these politically tumultuous times, it is important to ask the tough questions.
- Luisa Beccaria
Luisa Beccaria delivered the best vintage vibes. It reminds me of For Love and Lemons, but in opinion, this is better. Lets face it; party frocks are awesome. If I could, I would wear a party frock every day and for every occasion. If only “cute” were the universal dress code. Modern girls need more than just party frocks to make it in the world; pantsuits, structured overcoats, square shoulders, and other patriarchal symbols have become necessary wardrobe elements for girls trying to make it in a man’s world.
Since when is style about following the rules? If we women really want to be seen as equals, we need to embrace our femininity instead of running away from it. Looking beautiful and comfortable is something that men cannot get away with as easily as we can, and we should celebrate that.
This collection is a complete wardrobe for the girl who loves party frocks. If you love something, the cliches dictate you can set it free or let it kill you. More importantly, if you love something, you can embrace it and let it inform your human experience in a positive way. In these times of turmoil, we could all afford to be a little bit more like ourselves.