Another September, another fashion month. 

I always love September. That new school year feeling. September is my January. I feel a wave of energy and motivation at the thought of a fresh start, invigorated and ready to tackle the remainder of the year. So it’s quite apt that the start of the fashion year is September, too. I go into September ready for a month of being inspired by what my favourite designers have to offer. 

But, for some reason, the first two weeks of fashion month felt… off. The vibes were weird and, aside from a couple of exceptions, the collections simply weren’t hitting. There seemed to be a lack of inspiration and creativity, yet a lot of gimmicks and stunts. To be honest, I wasn’t all too excited for the rest of the season. 

That was until Milan. Milan and Paris are always my favourite, the weeks where the big brands really flex their muscles and show us why they are who they are. We turn to the likes of Max Mara, Hugo Boss, Tod’s, and Versace, who all provided us with wonderful collections. (there are round ups on may favourites over on IG stories, if you are interested!)

But really, there are 4 shows that I feel I need to talk about: Fendi, Ferragamo, Bottega Veneta, Gucci. 


The first show to really capture my attention was of course Fendi. I am unashamedly a Kim Jones fangirl, but this really was a stunning, superior collection. Kim Jones at his best. A show so good I watched it multiple times. 

The setting was pared back. No theatrics, barely any colour, just oversized Fendi classics: baguettes, peekaboos and origami bags served as the only props to fill the otherwise simple runway. The tone was somber. Dinah Washington’s distinctive, soulful voice rang out as her song, ‘This Bitter Earth’ played over Max Richter’s ‘On The Nature of Daylight’, a song that, according to Vogue, Jones likes to listen to during his morning walks through Rome. The result was an ambience that was sad and sobering, particularly against the moody setting. There was almost an air of a tribute collection - to what, or who, I’m not sure. But it is a show that has stuck with me ever since, both for the clothing, and the feeling it left me with. 

The colour story was simple, but far from boring. Neutral yet colourful. Very light, with pops of pastels, then the odd splash of orange, and finally, shades of brown. It felt like the perfect colour palette choice for a spring/summer collection - the balanced mix of cool and warmth. 

My favourite part? The fallen fabrics, which brought the colour blocking present in one section of the show through into more of the looks in a sleek, subtle way. There was something rather relaxed and undone about it whilst still being very classically Fendi. In fact, it reminded me of the slightly undone lopsided bows which adorned the pieces of Lagerfeld’s final collection for Fendi in 2019. Other stylistic details, such as the tied knitwear and two-sided shirt fastenings, continued to play on this theme. Simple, refined, a tad playful. A little laissez-faire and yet still very put together. This was a collection filled with subtle, intelligent touches. 

And finally, the styling - which was done to absolute perfection. Every ensemble made sense - from the choice of model, to the accessories, to hair and makeup. The little gloves were the perfect stylistic addition, which looked interesting and fresh on every look whilst also pulling the whole show together. Fabulous. 

At the end, Kim Jones walked out to cheers and whoops from the audience, suggesting that the collection seemed to have resonated with the too. Whilst Jones’ work at Fendi has often resonated for me (FW22, for example, remains etched in my brain), a fair few commentators have suggested that this show was the first time they’ve really felt Kim Jones ‘getting' it at Fendi. And, I must admit, there is something to that sentiment. Perhaps he has finally found his stride, and understood what his version of the Fendi woman is. I trust that this iconic house is in good hands. 


We cannot discuss Milan SS24 without talking about ‘new Gucci’, arguably the most talked about (and, I would suggest, controversial) collection of the season, as we all anticipated the long-awaited debut collection of Sabato de Sarno. De Sarno, poached by Kering from Valentino, worked closely with Pierpaolo Piccioli for over a decade, before being appointed creative director of Gucci earlier this year. His first time leading a fashion house and thus, yet to really have a distinctive style or vision, few of us really knew what to expect from him. The last two interim collections at Gucci felt confused and lacked clear direction - a mesh of Michele’s ideas and designs plucked from the Gucci archives. It very much suggested a house in limbo. 

Many speculated that the new direction would try to mimic the success of Tom Ford’s Gucci of the late 90s and early 2000s, relying heavily on a sense of nostalgia and yearning for 90s and Y2K aesthetics that currently dominate many of fashion’s prevailing trends. The collection name announced before the show, ‘Ancora’, meaning ‘still or ‘again’ seemed to hint at such, too. Well, they were half right!

In a sentence - whilst Michele’s Gucci was fun and fantastical, De Sarno’s is commercial and cool. Perhaps you can’t have both! 

There have, inevitably, been many comparisons with what came before, and I too, am about to weigh in on this. As much as I loved Alessandro Michele, I cannot deny that by the end, the vision did feel tired and played out, with collections becoming more theatrical and messy, and lacking polish. The core brilliance of the vision he had created early on in his tenure had washed up, and I suspect this was being reflected in customer sales too -  there’s a reason a lot of it ended up in the outlets! Those of us who enjoy the creativity and spectacle fashion can create are also susceptible to forgetting that, ultimately, these brands are big businesses with targets, profit margins, and bottom lines. They need to create pieces that people will wear so things actually sell and thus, perhaps we shouldn’t be so surprised when the creative direction is then guided by that. I am sure De Sarno himself was given this exact brief from Kering. After the mad brilliance of Michele, perhaps the only way to go was stripping back, you could argue, to the real ethos of Gucci. Chic and wearable. 

And De Sarno gave us exactly that. We got classic, wearable silhouettes, occasional branding and logo on street style silhouettes that have become popular at Gucci, and lots of archival accessories - tried and tested greatest hits, like the Jackie and Bamboo handle, that are sure to sell well. The micro skirts and shift dresses felt very Prada/Miu Miu-esque, perhaps hinting at an effort to make the brand cool and current again by latching onto the current trends. Crystal bralettes with matching Jackie bags are sure to be ‘IT girl’ pieces, as are tiny Gucci marmont belts and cherry red slingbacks. There was plenty to be coveted here by fashion fans, and I have no doubt that this collection will sell very well.

So overall, despite thinking this debut was a success, I was, in fact, still left with mixed, almost contradictory feelings. Whilst the collection did feel a little safe, it was still one that I personally really enjoyed, filled with pieces I would wear and buy if money were no object. It was undoubtedly a lot more wearable (to me), than Alessandro’s Gucci was, but a lot less interesting. I always appreciated Michele for his commitment to maximalism, his ability to make fashion fun and dreamy again, and the distinct vision he created for Gucci. I enjoyed his shows because it didn’t matter that I wouldn’t personally wear a fair chunk of his designs, it was just fun to see something different. Now we have a lot more of the same - minimal, commercial, nothing groundbreaking. But clothes I’d enjoy wearing. I think the hardcore Michele fans will feel the loss. There isn’t really anyone else doing the geek chic meets maximalism thing that he did at Gucci. 

I, too, can’t help but feel that we have still lost *something* with Michele’s departure, and the pivot from his vision. I’d love to see Alessandro carry that vision elsewhere… maybe an eponymous label? For the Gucci brand though, ultimately, this change is good. It was time for something fresh and new, and I am ready for De Sarno’s more pared back era. This is a Gucci that is getting with the ‘quiet luxury’ programme currently dominating high end fashion. 


Speaking of quiet luxury, the following day we were blessed with another outstanding collection from Maximilian Davis, appointed creative director of Ferragamo in March 2022.

Since then, he has done a stellar job of putting the brand back on the map and seems to completely understand his brief. Davis’ designs for Ferragamo are modern, fresh, chic and recognisable, whilst keeping the traditional Ferragamo customer in mind. Recognisable silhouettes and house codes remain at the forefront of design, whilst a good portion of the clothing, beautifully wearable yet impactful, can clearly be worn by every age and size. The aesthetic plays on and feeds into the luxury minimalism trend which has garnered a cult following amongst millennial women, starting with Phoebe Philo’s Celine, and continuing with brands such as The Olsen twins’ ‘The Row’, and Daniel Lee’s Bottega Veneta. As brand’s continue to opt for a ‘quieter’ luxury, this seems a smart choice. Ferragamo’s pieces feel timeless yet trendy, luxe yet understated. These are designs that make sense for the world of fashion right now, but will also be worn for years to come. 

Last season’s collection focussed on tailoring and an injection of bold hues - reds and yellows amongst an otherwise dark, traditionally A/W colour palette. There was a little engagement with the trend of micro shorts, as knickers became outerwear over thick black tights. By contrast, this season had a slight sporty feel to it, as we veered from office wear to more relaxed, casual ensembles, which kept the collection quite varied. The colour story once again remained heavily neutral, this time with drips of light blue and green to vary the palette. The touch on trends this season seemed to be fringing - on dresses and outerwear, which appeared across a few shows this season (including Fendi and Gucci). The pale blue has also shown itself to be a recurring theme, popping up in Fendi and Tod’s, as well as Ferragamo. 

All in all, I continue to be a Maximilian Davis stan. At just 27 years old, he is doing great things, re-energising an iconic heritage brand, and he continues to impress me with the simplicity of his designs, all whilst repping for British designers. Lot’s more for me to add to my ever growing Ferragamo wishlist!


And last, but certainly not least, we must talk about Bottega Veneta. Yet another feast for the eyes. In three words? Craftsmanship, construction, class. 

The theme seemed to be travel, voyage, journey, or some such, immediately hinted at in the show space - the floor of the show location decorated with large maps and compasses. This theme was carried through into the collections, as models walked out with oversized accessories - large jodie totes, satchels, and backpacks. 

Once again, the real star of the show was the leather. Last season, the fashion world went crazy for the ‘is it leather?’ theme that ran through Blazy’s collection, as everyday wardrobe staples, such as the cotton tank top, denim jeans and flannel shirts appeared on the runway looking as normal, but this time, made out of leather. Apparently, in a Matthieu Blazy Bottega show, nothing is ever as it seems. This time, leather was again used creatively - in leather ties and leather newspaper bags. Particularly impactful was a leather trench overlayed with a leather poncho. As a brand, Bottega is well known for its masterful use of leather, particularly in accessories, with the intrecciato weave being a particularly iconic and skilful technique used across handbags. It appears that Blazy intends to play on this house heritage and carry it forward, making sure Bottega continues to be known for its leather work. This time, that craftsmanship and skill is carried further, to creative imaginative and intelligent pieces across the ready to wear collections. 

SS24 was another big win for Matthieu Blazy. When Daniel Lee departed suddenly from the brand - at the height of its newfound success - there were questions as to whether the brand would decline just as quickly as it had risen these past few years. Yet, Blazy has achieved an enormous feat. He has managed to simultaneously pick up the torch Lee left behind, continuing the creative vision and style that led to the brand’s new-found popularity, whilst also undoubtedly leaving his own mark, even pushing it further forward with craftsmanship, construction and design that leaves the audience in awe. I continue to enjoy ‘new Bottega’ and all its quirks. 

That’s all for today! I hope you enjoyed the rundown of my favourite shows. Milan, you have been good to us. What was your favourite show? 

Until next time, 


*All imagery c/o Vogue Runway

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