Milan Fashion Week Spring 2013: What the Hell Just Happened?

Lord Robert Walters Naked

Gentle reader,

A new show called Secret Princes, about four young princes looking for love, debuted on TLC the other night and I’m sure you’re just dying to hear about it.  The premise is wonderfully simple.  They fly in to Atlanta where they’ll live in a rundown old house, work minimum wage jobs and pretend to be regular guys because, you see, busboys get chicks way easier than European princes.

This might be a good time to point out that, despite the title, two of them aren’t actually princes at all.  One guy is a hunky British underwear model named Lord Robert Walters.  Those familiar with the titled aristocracy will know that the use of “Lord” is murky at best, especially when followed by the first name and more considerably when the guy is an underwear model.  The Honourable Ludovic Watson is also a Brit who isn’t a lord but still outranks Lord Robert on the title scale because his father is a baron, though one never addresses a British baron as Baron X, only as Lord X, which is all rather confusing.  Hailing from a big, bleak-looking country house in Yorkshire, he arrives in the ATL wearing a silly tailcoat, which annoyed me more than it should, probably because I was likely to do the same in my youth when many of my friends were lords and “Hons.,” like those on the show.

Secret Princes

L to R: Salauddin Babi, Robert Walters, Francisco de Borbón, and Ludovic Watson

The other two seem to be actual princes.  Chubby, smiley Prince Salauddin Babi of Balasinor comes from western India where he lives in a big compound he’s named the Garden Palace when, from the looks of it, it should really be called the Drywall and Stucco Palace.  There’s also Prince Francisco de Borbón who seems pretty American save having an enormous crest on his jacket and fully staffed houses all over the world.  Oh, and being descended from the royal houses of Spain, France and Germany.  It seems like this could’ve been the perfect Battle of the Eurotrash Douchebags, but these guys are all very cool and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens now that they’re settled in.

That brings us to Italy, where you can’t throw a rock without hitting a prince, and the spring 2013 shows of Milan Fashion Week that ended on Monday night.  I’m still trying to make sense of it all.  After a clear message in New York and London that stripes, sheers, black, white and bright colors were ahead next spring, Milan was all over the fucking place.  The only thing the designers all seemed to agree upon was a total reverse of what they each did for fall.  I can’t give you any new trends to watch for so let’s hit a few of the collections that stood out, and not always in a good way.

Gucci went from brooding and dark vampire poetesses to the late 60s/early 70s Jet Set in happy colors of bright pink, cobalt, turquoise and acid yellow.  Since a lot of the dresses were full length and long sleeved, that made for a lot of color.  The well-placed ruffles across necklines or spiraling down sleeves were a fresh addition.

GucciPrada also did an about-face, ditching its clean, geometric fall aesthetic for a homemade, spray-painted one.  Flowers were stuck all over and the gold sock-boot things on their feet added a Japanese flair, but not in a good way.  I also missed the Soviet totalitarian drama of the fall show, replaced by stairs and a weaving walkway that seemed more like the basement of a drag club.  Doesn’t Mugler have the trademark on that?

There was also a Japanese influence at Etro in the kimono shapes but the loud floral prints mixed seemingly at random overshadowed what could have been a breath of fresh air this season.  Dolce & Gabbana went nuts with flowers, too, while revisiting Domenico’s Sicilian roots yet again.  This time the exquisite gold ecclesiastical embroidery of fall made way for some beachside villager craziness.  If you think the raffia and flour sack theme seems a bit impractical, just wait until you see the closing looks of wicker furniture under black chiffon.  The highlight of this show had to be the fun printed silks.

After a kick-ass fall collection that channeled a rock star Joan of Arc, Versace wasn’t as strong for spring, either, as micro-mini silhouettes and barely-there strips of large-scale lace left nothing to the imagination.  The styling was probably the strongest part of the presentation as gladiator sandals were reintroduced as heeled boots and the gold fringe that dangled from straps, necklaces and belts added some glamour to the ensembles.  In the end, if you’re not 5’10” and a size 2, please don’t try this at home.

Peter Lindbergh photo

Dsquared2 is usually one of my favorite shows because it’s fun and a bit silly but there are typically some seriously wearable clothes to back all that up.  The inspiration of Peter Lindbergh’s legendary 1991 Vogue photos of the reigning supermodels of the day in biker jackets seemed promising but was a total misfire.  It looks like the Caten boys decided to do a fake Chanel collection for Forever 21 instead.  But sluttier.

I’m astounded to hear myself say that, in the most surprising reversal in Milan this season, Roberto Cavalli turned out a dreamy, beautiful collection that began with some lovely white looks and ventured to pastels and into some of the most successful black dresses of the season so far.  The cutouts and silhouettes added sexiness but it was wonderfully restrained in general and I’ll actually be interested to see what they come up with next season.

All in all, I’m totally confused and not afraid to admit it.  Let’s see what happens in Paris!

Much love,


[heading]Milan S/S/ 2013[/heading]

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Comments: 3

  • jkillough September 26, 20124:22 pm

    Solid post, James. Well done. For an underwear model, “Lord” Robert Wlaters ain’t packin’ much, and they’re not even bothering to fake it by padding him out.  My favorite is the write up from his website regarding him and his title: “Lord Rob, born Robert Jonathan Walters, was born on the 13th September 1982 in North London, making him a Virgo, a very accurate star sign for him, as he is very clean, tidy and synonymous for being a perfectionist.”
    But wait! There’s more great prose, straight out of a book of fairytales:
    “Robert’s prestigious lordship title, a title originally stemming from henry VIII (sic) himself, was passed down through the generations and bestowed upon Robert. Master Robert then became Lord Robert Jonathan Walters. The family decided to keep this a family secret for all of Robert’s childhood and teenage years in order to allow him a normal upbringing where he was treated no differently.”
    His official website:
    Thanks for the chuckle!

    • JamesTuttle September 26, 20128:21 pm

       @jkillough I love the part about “Robert’s prestigious lordship title.” hahaha! Thanks for sharing.

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