9 Style Lessons We Learned At Milan Fashion Week

Dispatches from the front row in the Italian fashion capital

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1 | Orange is the colour

Ermenegildo Zegna
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The orange trend may have first peered above the parapet in London last weekend (Christopher Raeburn showed buckets of it, as did Oliver Spencer), but it was in Milan that the contentious colour really took hold. Tricky to wear but a strong statement when done properly, the best takes on the hue were muted or burnt and came in the form of cricket jumpers ( see point 6) at Brunello Cucinelli, drawstring day shirts at Etro and beautifully tailored, textured suits in Alessandro Sartori's second collection for Ermenegildo Zegna.

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2 | Toweling is the fabric

Orlebar Brown

British swimwear brand Orlebar Brown spearheaded the toweling trend a few years back when it introduced a range of perfectly cut toweling polo shirts into its core collection. Now, for Spring Summer '18, the low-key summer fabric has been used by a multitude of other brands. Massimo Alba, for instance, showed a beautiful midnight blue toweling blazer. Both Woolrich and Paul and Shark showed sumptuous toweling sweaters (perfect post-beach) and Orlebar Brown has revealed that it will be introducing a full toweling suit any time soon. Toasty.

3 | Pin stripe is the pattern

Giorgio Armani
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Giorgio Armani, the high priest of deconstructed tailoring, took a departure for Spring Summer '18 by dedicating a portion of his 90-look collection to immaculately tailored pin-stripe suits, which looked as ready for the trading floor as they did for the runway. The look was modern and fresh and it was bolstered by both 3.1 Phillip Lim, who showed expanded chalk stripe suits in his SS '18 collection, and Versace, where Donatella's hefty pin stripe suits, shorts, shirts and overcoats came teamed with sporty red sweaters - and not a red brace in sight.

4 | Clever fabrics are cleverer than ever

Canali
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Canali's Spring Summer '18 collection was built around its new super high tech fabric, impeccable 2.0, the fibers of which are twisted twice as many times as normal threads. The resulting cloth is extraordinarily crease-resistant and water-resistant, meaning it's perfect for making travel suits from (travel-friendly tailoring is fast becoming the cornerstone of any successful menswear business). At Corneliani, the Italian label's classic modular chest-piece blazer (which this year celebrates its 10th anniversary) was rethought in an array of clever ways. The most impressive iteration? A virtually indestructible rip-stop wool version which you could just as easily commute in, as you could climb a mountain.

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5 | The seventies is still the decade

Salvatore Ferragamo

The tertiary tones and wide proportions of the seventies have been tentatively doing the rounds for a good few seasons now; but for Spring Summer '18 the decade that brought us avocado bathroom suites and Robert Redford's moustache has made a proper comeback. At Fendi mesh polo shirts and jazzy silk shirts were worn wide-collared over the lapels of suit jackets. The palette was tertiary, trousers were wide and muted checks in dusty pink and grey felt nostalgic and contemporary all at once. At Salvatore Ferragamo the look was even more openly retrospective. Curry-hued Persian rug shorts were worn with chunky knits, while perfectly-cut jumbo cord trousers teamed with cropped leather jackets and slim cut tailoring in shades of mustard and ochre.

6 | But the eighties is catching up

Prada
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At Prada, Miuccia played against the bookish seventies theme set out in the previous season by opting for a futuristic look inspired as much by comic book heroes of the eighties as it was by the wardrobes of early Ah-ha and latter The Clash. Cuffed shell trackpants finished with oversized Wernham Hogg rubber name tags looked modern, particularly when teamed with pointed rubber-clad brogues and bunched-up tube socks, while work shirts worn under acid-hued romper suits (see point 7) looked aggressive and fresh.

7 | Now is the time to invest in a cricket jumper

Brunello Cucinelli

Oversized V-neck golf sweaters were shown at Ermenegildo Zegna and chunky V-neck jumpers were dotted throughout the (lovely) Salvatore Ferragamo show, but nowhere did the look come off better than at Brunello Cucinelli, where the czar of cashmere showed burnt orange V-neck cricket jumpers worn with little more than a beautifully cut brown suit. Bold, multi-coloured cricket jumpers were also shown at Missoni and classic cream versions were sent down the runway at Daks. Three's a trend and all that.

8 | Adult Rompers are a thing

Ralph Lauren

Even in the 35 degree heat of Milan, this season's slim-cut cotton all-in-ones (romper suits, overalls, whatever you want to call them) had an easy appeal. The best were shown at Prada, where the look was very much post-punk mechanic, and Ralph Lauren, where the vibe was more 1940s flight captain. The easiest thing you'll have in your wardrobe next summer, team with a pair of technical sandals and some sunglasses and you're good to go. Just be sure to pick a romper with a smart cinched waist and a slim leg, you don't actually want to look like you work at a petrol station.

9 | The bigger your logo, the better

Dolce & Gabbana

Conspicuous consumerism is officially cool again. Where ten years ago, to have the logo of a brand emblazoned on the chest of your T-shirt or down the leg of your trousers was the height of naff, now - thanks primarily to the pioneering work of Alessandro Michele at Gucci - having your brand of choice plastered over your clothes has never looked cooler. From the 'fake' Gucci-branded T-shirts flying off the shelves faster than the Florentine brand can make them, to Prada's rubberised name tags attached from everything from cuffs to sleeves, branding is back in a very big way. At Jimmy Choo, the label's webbing was used on sneakers and bags; at Zanotti, the designer's signature, well, signature featured more prominently than ever on the tongues of sneakers and lace ups; at Dolce & Gabbana the designer's names were used to form the cuffs of bomber jackets and the drawstrings of hoodies and shorts; at Fendi, the brand's iconic brown monogram featured on the breast panels of bombers and suit jackets. If you're going to try this trend yourself, I'd advise that you pick one item, from one brand and team it with understated non-branded basics. You don't want to do a Daniella Westbrook now, do you?