Italy’s major contribution to the global fashion scene always sets the fash-pack’s pulses racing. Famous for its forward-thinking, often daring, attitude, Milan Fashion Week is rightly regarded as an important trendsetting event. This year, Milan’s Spring/Summer 2014 collections featured crystals from Swarovski in abundance, with catwalks awash with glittering brilliance and crystalline decoration shimmering on everything from luxe sportswear to classic tailoring and crop-tops. Here are some of the designers who showed us how we’ll be upping the dazzle factor next summer, with crystals as a key creative ingredient.
Giorgio Armani’s show was a symphony of delicately embroidered floral-print silks with Swarovski crystal detailing—a vision of timeless, ethereal elegance in blue and coral red, and a perfect illustration of his masterful craftsmanship. Created for strong, graceful women, their femininity was accentuated by neck scarves studded with crystals from Swarovski.
Sheer was a big fashion story at Blumarine, designed by Anna Molinari. A thigh-skimming short dress mixed ostrich feathers with barely-there appliquéd panels and one curve-hugging, slit-to-the-waist, floor-length gown that shimmered from head to foot with crystals. This was a catwalk show with plenty of ‘if you’ve got it, flaunt it’ attitude.
White-hot new talent, Francesca Liberatore, was one of the stars of the N.U.D.E Upcoming Designers show. Casually elegant, with a hint of Seventies boho, her collection was defined by simple lines and flowing fabrics in rich jewel colors. Crystal-decorated camisoles and sparkly shorts struck a fun, flirty note for eveningwear.
The crop-top was a runway regular this season—and what better way to show off a toned torso than with Cristiano Burani’s sports-luxe urbanwear. Fusing technical fabrics with organza, leather, and satin, Burani’s hi-tech-meets-haute couture designs incorporate cutting-edge decoration, including an ample dose of Swarovski Crystal mesh.
Another designer who dared to bare his models’ midriffs was Sergei Grinko, who teamed simple cream silk sailor pants, shorts, and full-length skirts with mesh or crystal-embellished crop-tops. Sun visors with crystal-studded undersides echoed the sports-glam vibe.
Alberto Zambelli is a rising star who likes simple lines and bold shapes, but who also loves luxe fabrics. His collection, in mouthwatering sorbet colors, used exquisite crystal detailing to create graphic patterns or focus attention on the razor-sharp cut of his designs.
Other designers who wowed us in Milan included Antonio Marras, who played with shape and volume, softening the austerity of his designs with crystal decoration. Miguel Alex, a new name to watch, pushed the fashion boundaries with asymmetric cuts and innovative materials, while Luigi Borbone’s stunning crystal tunic blurred the boundaries between clothing and jewelry.