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Milan Fashion Week Was Uncharacteristically Fun

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Clockwise from top left: Instagram, Getty, Instagram, Getty.

Milan is our third stop in the Fashion Month marathon, following London and New York and leading up to the big event: Paris. The Italian city has a reputation for being commercial in the sense that the power players here (Prada, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana) are huuuge magazine advertisers and major forces within the profitable realms of fashion—handbags, shoes, fragrance—while the clothes themselves are untouchably precious, adult, and expensive.

All of that can lead to a staid Fashion Week, but Milan turned up for spring 2015. A duo of exciting, young handbag lines picking up steam, some head designer shuffling, and a peppering of blast-from-the-past model moments kept us on our toes this MFW. Check out the highlights below!

Fashion people are flipping over Paula Cademartori. The luxe bag line debuted its first collection in spring 2011, but earned a ton of buzz with a presentation for spring 2015. The Cut profiled Cademartori, who was previously a junior accessories designer at Versace, and planted her namesake line on street style magnet Anna Dello Russo back in 2012.

One more Italian bag line to know: Les Petits Joueurs. Playful Lego mosaics on handbags! What's not to love (or 'gram, as their spring presentation was, heavily)? The label, which starts around $595 for clutches, is made by hand in Florence and already counts stores like Matches and Luisaviaroma among accounts.

Kendall kept busy. The model (we're going with that over "reality star" or "Kardashian half-sister," because she's certainly earned the title by now) walked five shows for an impressive roster: Ports 1961, Emilio Pucci, Fendi, Bottega Veneta, and Dolce & Gabbana.

In other major model news, Gemma Ward opened at Prada, her first catwalk appearance since a 2008 hiatus. This is interesting as an isolated event, but especially fun when paired with fellow mid-aughts dollface model Lily Donaldson reappearing at the Topshop Unique show in London (the two were spotted "catching up over big bowls of pasta" post-show. Aw). Lara Stone closed Prada (not shabby, Miuccia), while Naomi Campbell re-appeared at Pucci (she also spun through Diane von Furstenburg, back in New York. Kendall walked both Pucci and DVF, as well). Always good to see a familiar face.

About that Prada show: It was set against purple sand dunes (made us think of Marc's big pink house, TBH) and was a "celebration of craft," showing of brocades from the 19th century through the 1960s. The clothes were cut slim and long: high Victorian necks, pencil skirts, everything to the knee. The biggest accessory takeaway from the bags-and-shoes behemoth? The clog, fitting right in the line with the larger '70s comeback we're seeing across the board. Here it was paired with sheer contrasting socks.

Gucci moved straight from fall's 1960s ode into the '70s, right on pace with the decade's larger resurgence across the fashion landscape. Those in attendance were buzzing about the denim, which appeared from head to toe. Bet on seeing a ton of that cropped jean replicated for spring.

Logomania is on its way back, and heck if Versace doesn't pounce. The House of Medusa has once again captured hip-hop's heart, and Donatella paid them back with her own ode to streetwear in the form of outré logo pimping. Low-slung skirts got an elasticized band flaunting the brand's Greek key motif and referencing the underwear peek we all remember Aaliyah by. That same key was scaled up in dressier looks, gluing together a crop top and skirt combo into a full-blown dress (or as much of a dress as Versace can bear without necessary skin showing). The Medusa logo, too, was found large (on tops) and small (right at the navel on skirts).

Photo: Getty

Right on key, Iggy Azalea wore a custom piece the next day to the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas.

Moschino also went heavy on the logo-flaunting in designer Jeremy Scott's Barbie-themed show. Just like last season, a "runway capsule" was available for purchase the very next day. To no one's surprise, it was also planted on street stylers like Blonde Salad blogger Chiara Ferragni.

In other youthful news, Giambattista Valli debuted ready-to-wear line Giamba. Think of it as the Miu Miu to his Prada. The collection melded '60s mod with '70s glam for fun sherbert-hued fur, round sunnies, and the short dresses Valli is known for eased up for daytime.

In a much more grown-up world, Rodolfo Paglialunga showed his first collection for Jil Sander (Ms. Sander abruptly left her namesake line for the third time about a year ago). The new designer's resume includes gigs as creative director at Vionnet and womenswear design director at Prada. And the clothes he showed? Conservative in a minimal Italian way, with layered wrap pencil skirts sitting low on the hips, shirting eased up with drawstring closures, leather socks with sandals, and more of those dark jewel tones we're used to seeing for fall, appropriate for spring. CR Fashion Book online editor Ray Siegel noted in an Instagram video that the show's finale got the "loudest round of applause all week."

No one goes home (or to Paris) 'til Dolce & Gabbana closes us out. Spanish matador was the theme here in an epic show of drama, embellishment, and red—exactly what we know, love, and expect from the brand.

· The Quick and Dirty on London Fashion Week [Racked]
· This Was the Fashion Week Nobody Won [Racked]