I always smile wryly when I hear a midwestern drawl dragging the Italian fashion capital's vowels out from Milan to 'Mil-yawn'. How apt for our third stop in the fashion month, where creativity traditionally plays second-fiddle to commerce, and has recently been relegated to third behind that other dirty c-word - celebrity. Not so with the S/S 2011 collections, where Milan managed to shock, surprise and delight just about every worn-out fashion hack with a fresh infusion of energy and vivacity.
It shouldn't surprise us quite as much as it did; after all, the Italians turn out spring/summer much, much better than their frosty Northern European counterparts. But this season, it was the Italian collections I really wanted to shout about - those fringes at Versace, the leather at Gucci, Prada's insouciant, impudent, incredible banana prints and all that gobsmacking colour at Jil Sander. Those are the ones that leap to mind as stand-out favourites, but they were just the finest in a stellar bunch of shows. Even if you didn't like a collection, there was something that impressed - the workmanship, the craftsmanship, the showmanship. Here's to Milan - and to more of the same next season.