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10 Things We Learnt From Milan Fashion Week

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ShortList’s style director, Adrian Clark, gives you the scoop on his standout and most defining moments gleamed from the autumn/winter 2014 catwalk shows, concluding in the Italian style capital yesterday

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1. Bottega Veneta’s oversized clutch bags

Tomas Maier described his latest collection for the Italian stealth wealth luxury brand, Bottega Veneta, as "casual." So casual it would seem that his low-maintenance models carried soft leather shoulder and tote bags folded over and tucked under their arm, like an oversized slouchy clutch. One part smash-and-grab heist, one part nonchalant and chic give-a-fuck attitude, this styling tip went on to be a trend that was mirrored throughout the week, seen at many other shows like Versace, Prada and Gucci.

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2. Calvin Klein Collection’s baggy pants

Fashion has a habit of pulling the plug on a ‘comfort zone’ trend and hitting us with an opposite-end-of-the spectrum jolt to the system. The trousers shown at Calvin Klein Collection weren't just a departure from the skinny silhouette we've finally got our heads around - they were from another universe all together. Often cut from hi-tech shiny fabrics, while they ventured into the realms of the un-wearable, we still salute the label for leading the charge into this voluminous uncharted territory.

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3. Dolce & Gabbana’s (Medieval) fringe benefits

Citing the Norman kings who invaded Sicily in the eleventh century as their inspiration (we love how they manage to give the very anglophile theme of ‘Norman conquest’ a southern Italian twist) Dolce & Gabbana bravely chopped short blunt medieval fringes into all of their models hair while leaving the texture tousled. A departure from the heavily slicked back looks that have dominated in recent seasons, to achieve the natural and glossy look yourself, try using L’Oreal Paris Studio Line Out of Bed FibreCreamGel, £3.56 for 150ml (0800-0304 032) which will give a workable texture, great for creating a messy look ideal for fringes.

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4. Salvatore Ferragmo reminds us why we love Britpop

The relentless battle to get from one show to another in ‘hateful’ Milan downpours left most fashion pundits drenched through and seeking a pick-me-up. Massimiliano Giornetti, designing for Salvatore Ferragamo, managed to put a smile on everyone’s face with the best soundtrack of Fashion Week. This Is Hardcore, taken from Pulp’s sixth album (by the same name) was enough to make the UK press proud to be British. Was it also a coincidence that some of the models sported Jarvis Cocker inspired looks complete with glasses? We wonder!

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5. Ermenegildo Zegna breaks up its formal formula

In only his second season designing for every international executives' favoured luxury brand Zegna, Stefano Pilati proved he's here to stay. With bags of boardroom kudos and timeless appeal, he's managed to turn around the signature style of once square, boxy tailoring into something warm, cosy and organic - without sacrificing its authority. A trend Pilati showed on the first day of Milan that resonated throughout the week was blouson jackets in luxe fabrics, worn over suiting. We think he holds the key to the style codes if you are looking to loosen up a formal working wardrobe.

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6. Versace goes for gold… and wins!

'Playing it safe' is certainly not a criticism you could ever band in Donatella Versace’s direction: her “bikers are the new cowboys” collection was one of the highlights of Milan fashion week. Not only for the Vegas-style camp theatre we've come to expect from the brand, but also for its sheer celebration of extravagance. Hoodies came in chinchilla fur, leather chaps studded in crystal and topping all of that off, a suit (shown as separates on the runway, in boucle wool that used real gold thread embedded into it for decorative glimmer. How much gold precisely? 2 kilos! By our reckoning that’s around £54,000 worth of the stuff at the current market value. Genius!).

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7. Gucci’s homage to Swinging London

David Bailey’s iconic photos of London in the swinging sixties could be responsible for inspiring Frida Giannini’s autumn 2014 Gucci collection. Whatever the original source was – it had more than a passing resemblance to The Beatles (and in particular John Lennon’s) Hamburg moment that’s for sure – I'll go out on a limb and say that it was my favourite collection of the entire Milan season. Precise, clean but with character and exploring a pastel but never sickly colour palette.

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8. Missoni lauds the bohemian surfer

Used to a more sartorial approach to fashion, Milan usually finds issue with the unkempt and undone. So when a designer like Angela Missoni decrees laid back surf style as a ‘thing’, its enough to make everyone sit up and listen. Shunning the tsunami of closely shaved models that were in town for a more ‘real’ casting of men with grown out hair, stubble and moustaches, those of us who shave once a week can breathe a sigh of relief. To achieve the look, try using L’Oreal Paris Studio Line Matt & Messy Shine-Free Salt Spray, £3.56 for 150ml (0800-0304 032) perfect for getting tousled and textured hair for that just off the beach look. Keep an eye out for a new beard and stubble softening product coming our way from L’Oreal Paris Men Expert.

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9. Fendi’s fur runway

Lets face it, nothing says luxury better than a catwalk completely lined (and even running up the backdrop) in 85 metres of Kidassia goat fur. It can be forgiven because fur really is the DNA on which Fendi was built, and besides, it'll be reused for garments. In their first runway show for several years, many pelts and exotic skins were explored, alongside some of the most beautiful tailoring shown all week. Although nothing came anywhere close to being as extravagant or as indulgent as the hairy-luxe platform.

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10. Kiss takes a bow at John Varvatos

When John Varvatos took to the runway to take his bow after a concise show, few expected that he would be joined by living rock legends KISS. Strutting their stuff to "Rock and Roll All Nite" with Gene Simmons' tongue hanging out, the band had flown 17 hours to make an appearance, capped off by a performance at the show's after-party. Models gave the game away a little by muting at the surprise with full on rock-god glam rock make-up

(Images: Rex)

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