From a smart version of musical chairs at Jil Sander to a Marie-Antoinette themed spectacle at Moschino, Observer fashion editor Jo Jones picks her 10 highlights

Prada

The regard from a balcony overlooking a busy Piazza was the set for Miuccia Prada’s fall show. Opening with 1940s supported tailoring, cinched at the waist with utilitarian belts worn with deconstructed pleated skirts, spliced to over the leg, Prada’s constant play on the strength of masculine tailoring with feminine touches was ever-present. The feminine fairy dust was distributed as fringing found tracing the arms on coats and dresses and swaying as details on knitwear. The strength came in shirt and tie looks and sleeveless plain leather coats.

Photograph: Alberto Moncada/Prada

Max Mara

Backstage creative guide Ian Griffiths summed up the collection, saying: ‘Max Mara is king of the coat, this season I wanted to develop as many covering shapes as possible.’ Featuring great coats, capes, cabanas, and duffles, some with a ruffle sleeve, others with a discard shoulder and gathered sleeve head to create volume, and some worn with skirts with hemlines that dip dramatically on one side. Griffiths looked to an icy northern seascape for afflatus; maritime-themed detailing appeared as rope belts to cinch dresses and duffles with toggles and tassels.

Photograph: PR

Gucci

Alessandro Michele authenticated a 360-degree view in a fully immersive show including the backstage area of rails of clothes and dressers now centre-stage. Michele elucidated post-show that there is more to a fashion show than just the clothes. ‘You were our show, and we were your pretension, both seeing how the other works,’ he said, explaining that this was his first reciprocal show. Michele stretched on childhood – the perfection and freedom of children’s clothes – and translating this to looks such as a pinafore worn over a thread shirt, or a pleated dress with a neat lace collar.

Photograph: Dan & Corina Lecca/Gucci

Fendi

Survey ‘soft power’, this collection felt new and modern and ladylike with a diverse cast of models. Greys, neutrals, pastels and Fendi’s signature yellow were come forwarded up in cashmere, leather and lace. Officers’ coats and blazers felt contemporary when detailed with a boned bodice curved round the back finished with shoulders that planed to a flat point or drop into a Juliet sleeve. Frisky, voluptuous shaped skirts were worn with cosy knits, bibbed blouses, with one worn with a tied leather accordion skirt, followed by a neon shock of apricot Chantilly lace.

Photograph: PR

Jil Sander

There is a virtue and minimal elegance to Lucie and Luke Meier’s vision for Jil Sander. This was reflected by the stage set, simple wooden easy chairs arranged in a rectangle in the centre of the runway. Models walked the perimeter and then took a seat. The colour palette lined from midnight blue and black to powdery white to pastel tones, the fabrication was luxe and refined. The silhouettes saw mammoth, floaty, silk jacquard dresses worn with cashmere capes, tailoring was cut with a masculine touch and contoured with a womanlike waist.

Tod’s

Newly appointed creative director Walter Chiapponi has a lot to congratulate himself on with this store. Reworked classics felt fresh, referencing everything on Italian style from furniture design to architecture. The set of threads were refined and the shapes adapted to transform the fit. The show opened with jumbo cord trousers, masculine shirts layered below a blazer or worn with crochet knitwear. The drop shoulder is a key trend appearing on coats. A new process for the brand is confusion, which closed the show, the label’s idea of how to use waste fabric. Small steps, but it’s a start.

No.21

This was Alessandro Dell’Acqua 10th anniversary at his peg No.21. The show was full of Dell’Acqua’s signature style, a touch of the very cool and slightly rebellious conventional girl, mixed with the play on masculine and feminine – a mannish style shirt worn as a dress, as it offered up wonderful sexy V-neck jumpers tucked into pencil skirts worn with a chunky ankle chain stiletto. The chunky train also decorated impeccably tailored coats, or held an asymmetrical draped skirt in place and gave a punkish note to the store, another coat had safety pins creating floral-like embellishments.

Moschino

Jeremy Scott consolidated the opulence and extravagance of Marie-Antoinette travelling forward in time to 2020 with the candy colours of Tokyo. Scott outed with a pannier waisted denim dress embroidered in gold metallic thread. Next came Gigi Hadid in a biker jacket and inflated satin dress. The twists came in the guise of a hybridised hoodie and leather jackets, which brought looks break to the present day. The finale closed with tongue-in-cheek grand tiered cake evening gowns, inspired by Marie-Antoinette‘s lionized quote, ‘Let them eat cake’.

Photograph: MARCO OVANDO/Moschino

Etro

The collection had South American pressurizes, Argentinian Gaucho style hats and fringe detailing. The show stealers were the knitted coats that were notable, lavish weaves and prints. A shearling coat had folk-like embroidery, and multi-textural, appliquéd, and fringed knits were wrapped aroundsignature paisley-printed ruffly, floaty treats that were scattered throughout. The evening wear varied from velvet jackets to a gold brocade smoking jacket and magnificently embroidered and embellished tops and dresses.

Emporio Armani

Giorgio Armani opened on a section titled: ‘I’m asserting yes to recycling.’ Next came a collection that hung in the balance between masculine and feminine, with long plenty jackets alongside high buttoned blazers worn with wide-legged trousers. The hero was the white shirt exhausted with a cravat or jabot around the neck. Masculine houndstooth and check took a softer path when scold and draped velvet were added, and delicate ruffles lightened the mood. The collection was predominantly graphic monochrome with a dim dusting of three shades of green, from forest to jade

Photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP via Getty Spits

Versace

How do you match everyone on their feet staring at J-Lo closing the show? You make them look at themselves. Callers were sat in front of a screen with their real-time image staring back at them, before it morphed to contort their appearance. What started as humorous became unsettling (as surely intended by Donatella). Versace went large on high-heel Wellington boots; twisted, sewn and patchworked denim; razor-cut leather dresses; a heritage line of Prince of Wales houndstooth in tailoring that memorable part exaggerated shoulders and hips; and shrunken puffer jackets.

Photograph: Victor Boyko/Getty Images

Bottega Veneta

Daniel Lee’s primary show since he swept the board at the Fashion Awards in December was the ticket of the week. All eyes were on the shoes: after establishing a monster boot trend, he continued what is sure to be his winning streak with cuban-heeled cowboy boots. Dogs, for which the brand is famous for, came in oversized intrecciato and pocket-sized clutches. Texture – via tassels and embroidery elevated straight-line shapes, while chartreuse, scarlet and yolk-yellow made the palette pop. Elsewhere Lee was in a razzle-dazzle mood. Jeans came in all-over diamanté, as did inverted apparels and tight tailored trousers. Let’s call it sequins by day – the Bottega Veneta way.

Photograph: Daniel Dal Zennaro/EPA

Subject-matters

Fashion

Milan fashion week

Moschino

Fashion weeks

Armani

Jil Sander

Max Mara