Patterns Purposely Clash On the Milan Runways


Of all the things Italian fashion is known for—romance, sex appeal, energy, and noise—it’s the latter that seemed to be most prevalent at Milan Fashion Week this season. Rather than opting for quiet, simple looks, designers enthusiastically embraced the appeal of mixed media. Unlikely patterns were paired together, florals were layered on top of more petal prints, and even the jewelry was a welcome jumble.

Perhaps designers were just doing it for the ‘gram or stylists were interested in sparking a refreshed aesthetic, but regardless, you’ll have carte blanche to clash come Spring/Summer 2019.

Take Jil Sander, for example. The usually minimalist label threw everyone for a loop when, in between boxy white dresses and fluid cream blouses, Luke and Lucie Meier sent down the runway not one, not two, but three computerized checkered knits—in a single outfit. Sure, the silhouette was streamlined and served up in the muted hues of tan, blue, and yellow, but it was clear that this was a shift from previous seasons.

At times, Milan’s clash of patterns was delivered in a heart racing display, like at Versace where multi-colored stripes and no less than three separate floral prints coexisted on a singular draped dress. And don’t even get us started on the incessant melding of stripes and flowers that shouted across minidresses and t-shirts. Even layering pieces, like sheer long sleeve tops, were purposely styled in a clashing matter.

Elsewhere, the mixed media had historic undertones. Missoni celebrated its 65th year in business with a homage to their zigzags over the years. A striped cape of the knit variety fluttered over patchwork-esque trousers, while even the simple addition of a lurex scarf tied across the shoulders added to the busy mix. The range may have been rooted in the past, but kept things modern for the Instagram age with these unexpected combinations.

At Marni, creative director Francesco Risso didn’t even bother spreading a multitude of prints across separate pieces—he decorated a single skirt with polka dots, busts of Greek goddesses, plus a splash of abstract brushstrokes and shapes. And at Prada, tie-dye was shockingly portrayed as a neutral—with a neon pop of green or pink playing well with chain print tanks of all colors.

For a very ’90s take on mixed media, look at what was happening at MSGM, where gauzy florals were artfully layered. The resulting textures created a feeling of depth that simply cannot be recreated in a monochromatic moment, which might hint at this trend’s staying power.


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