As the industry troupe brave the damp, grey Parisian weather for PFW, Milan’s momentous week of shows unsurprisingly remains a hot topic of conversation. A Gucci model staged a spontaneous protest against the brand’s controversial straightjacket references while Moschino stole the show with surrealist theatrics. Then there was Versace. It broke the internet, sending superstar J.Lo strutting down the runway in an updated rendition of that 2000 Grammys jungle green dress.
For Browns menswear and womenswear buying director Ida Petersson, Versace’s affair was indeed significant: from the historic A-list appearance down to the resurrected tropical palm print – it permeated the collection from tailored trousers to satin mini skirts, even raincoats. “Versace was a highlight, and not just because of J.Lo; I loved the palm print suit.”
It is clear however that more modest established houses like Jil Sander and Bottega Veneta resonated. “Bottega Veneta was without doubt my number one show,” Petersson says with conviction. “Daniel Lee’s second collection delivered on every level across both ready-to-wear and accessories; I have a feeling that most of the items will become must-haves for the season ahead.” Lee’s sophisticated staples included cosy ribbed-knit dresses with unusual cutouts, sleek leather two-piece ensembles, and lightweight leather anoraks with flattering drawstring details.
“I have a feeling that most of the items will become must-haves for the season ahead.”
Prada’s understated elegance was another favourite for the buying stalwart. The lineup featured a careful juxtaposition of textures, prints and references across structured blazers with ‘70s nods, calf leather wrap skirts adorned with sequins, and Grecian-inspired linen dresses. “Miuccia’s pared-back but elevated Prada woman also stood out to me,” Petersson reveals. “I can’t wait for the re-see so I can touch the garments up close; she always delivers on fabrics.”
Another brand to impress was Act N°1. Founded by Luca Lin and Galib Gassanoff in Italy’s Reggio Emilia in 2016, top-tier retailers like Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and H.Lorenzo are already fans of the label’s soft deconstructions and seductive draping. “I’m really intrigued to see how Act N°1 will develop. Their show was really interesting and had some beautifully conceived dresses,” she continues.
“Miuccia’s pared-back but elevated Prada woman also stood out to me.”
Aside from these conventional big names, Petersson also looked to fresh talent for an injection of creativity. The up-and-coming selection at Camera Della Moda’s Fashion Hub Market, which held emerging Italian designers alongside four rising African names, was a draw. “It was incredibly exciting to see a focus on emerging talent and international names at the Camera Della Moda show space,” she muses. Watch out for the likes of Thebe Magugu, Sindhiso Khumalo, Maison RTC and Maxhosa then.
But it was Chinese designers Shuting Qiu and Susan Fang – labels already stock at Browns – that truly stood out to Petersson. Both debuted this season yet were decidedly different: Qiu showcased a vibrant cacophony of patterns and prints while Fang presented delicately feminine pieces in airy chiffon and tulle. “It was a great moment for these young Chinese women to showcase their talent outside of their home country,” says Petersson proudly.
Regarding which labels she’s instantly snapping up for Browns’ shelves, Petersson is enigmatic. But a number of her favourites will crop up without a doubt: “Any new brands I’m keeping close to my chest for now, however, for our existing brands I’m planning on going wild on Bottega Veneta, Prada, Jil Sander and ATTICO.”