The Armani collection drew heavily from Japanese influences for the Milan runway collection. Many of the looks featured silk pieces embroidered or printed with Japanese inspired motifs, such as cranes and koi. The cut of the suits was obviously influenced by karate gis and Hakama trousers. The show closed with an appearance from Canadian pop singer, Shawn Mendes, who wore a cropped silk jacket and the brand’s new smartwatch. Armani means to tap into the powerful Millenial market with this new touchscreen watch which will eventually be for sale on the Armani website.
Shawn embodies and conveys the values in which I believe: Professionalism, commitment and innovation.
Twenty years have passed since the death of Gianni Versace, and his influence was heavy upon the Versace runway. Models walked the Palazzo Versace runway in classic Versace prints and 90s inspired garments. Viewers saw pinstriped suits, silk pajamas, and, brace yourself, cargo pants. These old trends are being given new life by Versace in order to make them appeal to the tastemakers of today.
I’ve been thinking about how much fashion has changed. We work backward. It’s the millennials who decide what’s going to happen. – Donatella Versace
Like Armani, Dolce & Gabbana made a huge push to woo Millenials with their Milan collection. Millennial tastemakers walked the runway in bold printed suits and street wear emblazoned with slogans reading “Amore Sacro” (Sacred Love) and “Amore Per Sempre” (Love Forever). Children of Sylvester Stallon, Pierce Brosnan and Shaq all walked the runway in the show titled “King of Heart.”
But when you court the Millennial market, you open yourself to public criticism as well. The brand has taken heat over the past years for their political stances and for being a fashion house who continues to clothe First Lady Melania Trump. In response to this critism, the label released a tongue in cheek t-shirt reading “Boycott Dolce & Gabbana.” That move did not sit well with many. A small Instagram beef broke out between the brand and Miley Cyrus during Fashion Week, and there was trouble on the runway as well. As the show closed, R&B signer Raury, who was walking in the show, stripped off his D&G hoodie and blazer to reveal the words PROTEST, DG GIVE ME FREEDOM, and I AM NOT YOUR SCAPEGOAT scrawled across his chest. In an interview with GQ, Raury explained why he protested during the Milan show.
Me, as a young man from Stone Mountain, Georgia, the birthplace of the Klu Klux Klan, I really felt this mockery of boycotting. Who knows, if boycotts didn’t happen, if Rosa Parks and M.L.K. didn’t step up…who knows if I would even exist. Boycotting matters. Boycotting is real. Dolce’s entire campaign says it’s not real.
Part of the benefit of reaching the Millennial market is the generation speaks out publicly about what they love. Brands who succeed in wooing the Millennial audience are splashed across social media, expanding the reach of their brand through instant free advertising. But that same benefit can be a hindrance when Millennials speak out against a company. It will be interesting to watch future Fashion Weeks to see if labels continue to court this strong, but unpredictable, market.