In the African safari there is a particular term ‘the big 5’ which refers to 5 animals that are must-sees when you’re on such a trip. They comprise of the lion, leopard, black rhino, elephant and cape buffalo. Similarly in Milan, there are also 5 which I consider must-sees, and they include (in no particular order of merit of course), Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Fendi, Prada and Dolce & Gabbana. And while the first 4 were primarily picked because of their traditional emphasis on bags, Dolce & Gabbana was only picked due to their pure showmanship.
For the F/W10 season, Gucci is all ‘grown-up’, echoing 38-year-old Frida Giannini’s quip, ‘I’ve grown up. It’s more mature clothes for more mature women, because that’s what I am’. In this case, the bags are also all grown-up, serious, mature and luxurious. Simple, classically-styled pieces that include flat clutches, satchels and the odd sling bag in leather and exotic ostrich, embellished with a single large Gucci logo. Understated and elegant.
Over at Bottega Veneta it is all about the power lesbian; bold, intense and modern. The bags also seem to follow this ethos, functional, no-nonsense pieces that are practical with a touch of luxe. Shimmering leather, exotic skins and the trademark intrecciato leather round up the selection that should frankly appeal to women of all orientations.
Fendi, Fendi, Fendi. While the clothes are a mish-mash of minimal and military with loads of fur thrown in-between, the bags on the other hand will appeal to those hailing from Asia. The same formula of classic shapes and luxe materials is applied, this time in shades of gold, yellow and mustard, colours that are favoured by Asian royalty and rich alike. Stand-out pieces include the gorgeous sunflower-yellow Peekaboo with tiger/leopard/cheetah lining (it is the Year of the Tiger after all) and a classic satchel that comes with a customisable luggage tag.
‘The Stepford Wives’ meets ‘The Addams Family’ was what immediately came to mind when I watched the Fall-Winter 2010 Womens Prada presentation online at Prada’s site. Stark and stoic with nary an ounce of joy, everything was muted and toned down. The bags too, were similarly presented, what looked like dyed raffia woven into clutches and bags, dulled plaids made up framed bags with the odd patent leather horror trimmed with exotic alligator.
Last but not least, we’ve got Dolce & Gabbana who paid an emotional tribute to their skilled, white-coated women and men in their ateliers who craft their product. Bags too (the Miss Sicily in particular) were kept simple in a lush variety of finishes and skins in an attempt to show off the detailed workmanship that Dolce & Gabbana is capable off, and cementing their position as the Italian luxury house of choice.