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Milan Fashion Week, Part 4: Sense for the Spectacular

For all who love fashion, and the few who will have a chance to attend Milan’s Fashion Week, one word describes the Italian sense of style and enthusiasm: spectacular. The Italians, and the Milanese especially, take fashion and fashion trends very seriously – and often a little too personally.

Milan Fashion Week - Part 4 - Sense for the Spectacular - Historical Retrospective

Show-goer in Milan

Milan Fashion Week - Part 4 - Sense for the Spectacular - Historical Retrospective

From Italy with Love... VALENTINO

Milan Fashion Week - Part 4 - Sense for the Spectacular - Historical Retrospective

I'm Not A Fashion Victims - Italian plus models

Milan Fashion Week - Part 4 - Sense for the Spectacular - Historical Retrospective

From Italy With Love... PRADA

Milan Fashion Week - Part 4 - Sense for the Spectacular - Historical Retrospective

Show-goer in Milan

The Italians always make an effort to look their best and never shy away from expressing their individuality. Which helps to explain why Milan is, and has been since the 1980s, an important fashion hub.

Milan Fashion Week - Part 4 - Sense for the Spectacular - Historical Retrospective

On the Street... Cheap & Chic, Milano

Milan Fashion Week - Part 4 - Sense for the Spectacular - Historical Retrospective

Fashion Victimizers spotted on the streets at Milan Fashion Week

Milan Fashion Week - Part 4 - Sense for the Spectacular - Historical Retrospective

On the Street... Best Outerwear After Giorgio Armani, Milan

One Milan’s successes stems from the choice of textiles many Italian labels favor. They love softer and lighter fabrics that translate well with the more modern and sportier way of dressing. Can we say Giorgio Armani as the poster child? His empire was built on great practical and comfortable suits. Think of them as English tailoring gone PJ soft.

Milan Fashion Week - Part 4 - Sense for the Spectacular - Historical Retrospective

Canali - Spring 2011

Milan Fashion Week - Part 4 - Sense for the Spectacular - Historical Retrospective

Giorgio Armani on the cover of TIME, April 1982

Milan Fashion Week - Part 4 - Sense for the Spectacular - Historical Retrospective

Henry Fonda and Clarke Gable with Brioni founders

Milan Fashion Week - Part 4 - Sense for the Spectacular - Historical Retrospective

Whereas Armani and other classic labels like Brioni, Canali, Salvatore Ferragamo, or Ermenegildo Zegna, for example, went the understated polite route to make their mark, other designers chose to express their strong individuality and flair differently. Krizia became a cult favorite for her great coats, Valentino channeled femininity to the hilt, Franco Moschino used humor to great effect and Gianni Versace shocked and awed with a vengeance.

Milan Fashion Week - Part 4 - Sense for the Spectacular - Historical Retrospective

Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford, Estelle Lefebure Hallyday, Paulina Porizkova in Gianni Versace - Spring-Summer 1987, photo: Richard Avedon

Milan Fashion Week - Part 4 - Sense for the Spectacular - Historical Retrospective

Krizia leopard wool dress and monichrome coat, 1986

Milan Fashion Week - Part 4 - Sense for the Spectacular - Historical Retrospective

Linda Evangelista for Valentino - Fall-Winter 1987-1988, photo: Steven Meisel

That incredible sense of the spectacular is what separates Milan from other fashion capitals. Fashion, like sports, is a quasi-religion; and when it comes to Milan Fashion Week, it’s a victory parade.

Milan Fashion Week - Part 4 - Sense for the Spectacular - Historical Retrospective

Looks by Franco Moschino

Milan Fashion Week - Part 4 - Sense for the Spectacular - Historical Retrospective

Gianni Versace advertisments, circa 1990

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