The Milan collections were great news for the over-40s babe

The Milan fall/winter collections are done with, so what do the Italians have in store for us?

The Milan collection is the biggie, let’s face it. The couturiers may strut their stuff all they like in Paris, but it’s the ready to wear collections that really influence what will be in the shops for the next couple of years, and the news from Milan was good for grown-up girls.

Personally, I blog imagealways prefer the winter collections. Winter clothes generally are more sumptuous and the fabrics are nicer – cashmere, suede, yummy knitwear and slinky satins. They’re harder to tailor, too, so the designers actually have to know what they’re doing rather than just stringing two bits of cotton together and calling it a dress.

In Milan, the colour palette was noticeably grey, just as we saw in London. Lots of shades of grey from charcoal to pewter to slate to silver. Milan also showed lots of gorgeous dark neutrals in a navy so dark it was almost black, lighter navies, burgundy, bitter chocolate brown, dark crimsony red and green. Leathers were in all shades of natural from black to tan and rust, and there was a lot of grey suede about.

If you were going to buy one single ‘tendance’ item for next winter, I reckon a big arran knit in a dark blue-grey would be the thing. It turned up everywhere in both Milan and London, as a cardi, a sweaterdress, a sweater and a coat. Arran also appeared in Milan in glitter form, which made a change.

Other fabrics included quite stiff duchesse-type satins, which is good news for older broads. Incorporate these into tailored items and you skim years off yourself, Courreges-style, because there’s no cling. Also evident was a lot of dead matt or gabardine wools, especially in black, and a great deal of tweed, especially in greys and browns – all kinds of tweed from flecky Harris and Donegal to herringbone, dogstooth and prince of wales check. Tartans were also in evidence, either in shades of brown, or in quite bright reds, sometimes used as linings, sometimes as outerwear. Other than that, there were very few patterns other than at Pucci (what a surprise) and Cavalli. Gucci used a lot of Russian references, but I thought the collection was a mess.

Most collections, other than Marni, showed excellent clothes for grown-ups, but the trend to volume that was so noticeable in London seemed more subdued in Milan. There were trapeze coats (about the most useful shape known to man or beast, in my opinion), and some sack dresses, but overall, the lines were flatteringly sleek and neat.

Here and there, though, shoulders were definitely wider. This is something designers have been trying to foist on us for a few seasons now, but I guess we’re not quite biting. At Fendi, you could see it in shoulder interest, especially fur trimming. At Maxmara, the width was usually contained in the weird high puffed sleeve-head that’s been around for a while that descends to quite a narrow sleeve. It’s avoided by me, as I don’t have a long neck and it can make a short-necked woman look like a bulldog.

blog imageAlthough I could see myself wearing one of Prada’s heavy laces (but with my underskirt, excuse me…), my favourite collection was D-Squared’s sexy secretary look. I thought there was something for everyone in that collection, no matter what her age. White blouses, good black skirts, camel-coloured suits with contrast collars. For another tendance look, try a nice tailored dress or suit and sex it up with a pair of red gloves or red shoes – lovely.

For full details of the collections, log onto www.style.com.

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