by Alexander Fury .

Milan Fashion Week: Italian Ennui

This past Thursday after the D&G show, I was stood with a friend dissecting what we had just seen - or at least, dissecting as far we could, given the collection was based on a somewhat flimsy premise of typographical play. She compared it to Hamnett, I to Sprouse and even Missoni's offering for S/S 2011. She countered 'Yes, but Missoni's had words - these didn't say anything.'

She was talking about the letters pock-marked over Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce's tube-dresses and eye-socking neon leggings, of course, but she could have been talking about the whole collection, or indeed the Milan shows in general. There have been a lot of frocks flying about, but no-one seems to have very much to say. Witness Gucci - seductive in its jewel hues and confident clashes of colour, a little more offbeat than Giannini's usual svelte sex-kitten wares. But did it really show us anything Saint Laurent hadn't been pumping out for four decades? It was fun while it lasted, but looking back at the pictures, you felt like it had all been done before.

Even Prada's garments had a slight air of been there, seen that - after all, how often has fashion been infatuated with the sixties? In fact, how often this season - Bottega Veneta and Alberta Ferretti in Milan alone, and many more no doubt to come. Nevertheless, at Prada those references were inventively reinvented, intellectually twisted until they felt new, even if they weren't. And that's far more than most labels do

That sense of twisting the past to create the future was also the foundation of yesterday's strong Jil Sander show from Raf Simons. 'Strong' as an adjective doesn't really cut it - the phrase 'Concorde Couture' deserves another mention, as despite the fifties and sixties Balenciaga references this collection was all about a streamlined, powerful and resolutely modern beauty. Besides which, any designer who can make a chintz trapeze-dress in padded satin look like le dernier cri deserves to be garlanded in laurels and fêted.

Today we have seen Marni, which showed us a new idea of glamour for the Marni girl. That's a sound bite-y little catchphrase you're bound to see millions of people yammering on videos of this show, but it felt very true of Consuelo Castiglione's textured furs, slinky lurex dresses, dishevelled Veronica Lake hair and giant Italodisco bins. The refreshing thing was that it was really the last thing we expected to see from her. I'm off to write up what I saw, then on to Dolce e Gabbana at the Metropole.