Milan’s Ode To Gentleness

With the advent of streetwear and its increasing popularity, more and more designers have been abandoning the once much-lauded dream of couture-like creations for more practical and functional garment production methods. Surprisingly enough, the second day of Milan Fashion Week was all about romance and finding ways to celebrate femininity, favouring charming silhouettes over bulky forms.

At Genny, designer Sara Cavazza Facchini was inspired by the memory of the Orient Express, recounted and portrayed in many films and manuscripts - most notably, the best selling books by Agatha Christie. “I was inspired by the luxury of the fabrics of the carriages and the many states the carriages travel across Europe and the Bosphorus,” stated the designer backstage. There were plenty of buttery silk shirts (these were really nice, some had pussy bows, and others were tailored asymmetrically with particular sleeves) in tones of ivory and burnt umber. Suits in Prince of Wales Check, Herringbone and Pinstripes were reinterpreted in a more feminine way and cinched at the waist, decorated with Art Deco brooches as fasteners and adorned with Suzanne Belperron-style buttons. Bold jacquards were also used to enrich the simple silhouettes, however, despite a few lust-worthy separates, the collection as a whole didn’t feel cohesive - it was all over the place in terms of colour palettes and prints used. 

 

Luisa Beccaria is one of the few designers who has always stuck to her core aesthetic, a vision celebrating the delicacy and beauty of women through whimsical and dreamy dresses. Although this concept could be seen as a bit outdated nowadays, Lucilla Bonaccorsi, Luisa’s daughter and head designer, did a great job at maintaining the core identity of the brand - which is loved by a particular clientele - and upgrading it for today’s younger and savvier consumers. “We were inspired by the idea of winter flowers and delicate rosebuds,” said Bonaccorsi at the presentation. “We gave the girls a rather contemporary touch through the styling - from light wool jersey turtlenecks layers underneath dresses to floral printed tights worn with clashing floral prints.” Her women looked like modern-day nymphs, covered in a colourful explosion of prints, an unusually playful (but successful) touch for a classic brand like Beccaria's.

 

A day after being officially appointed as the new creative director of Blumarine, Nicola Brognano presented his fall-winter 2020/21 collection. Inspired by both Carolyn Bessette Kennedy’s 90s minimalism and the elegance of Degas’ ballerinas, the designer showcased a playful yet very sleek collection, an exciting continuation on his creative journey. As always, he played with organza and tulle but, this time, he used the material to add a touch of femininity to the sharpness of his well-constructed suits. His silhouettes were polished, elongated and straightforward. There was a lot of silk - which came in the form of silky slip dresses, skirts and pussy-bow blouses. Overall, this first attempt at constructing a rather whole wardrobe for urban prowlers felt very promising.

 

At Anteprima, Izumi Ogino delved into the concept of happiness. “I started by researching the countries that have the highest points on the happiness parameter and their habits,” said the creative director at the brand's press preview. “I discovered that is the people who take their time and indulge in everyday pleasure, that are the happiest.” Yet, how can one represent this concept in garments? Well, of course, by going back to its roots and producing a collection entirely Made In Italy, slowly and with care. In point of fact, the set included a lot of soft cashmere coats, perforated skirts, comfortably slouchy knits, hand-constructed and machine-made in a variety of different ways. The designer also wanted to represent this concept through the Kalanchoe, a specific flower she embroidered all over the collection. Although not groundbreaking creatively, the collection was very well-made and very wearable. 

 

At Vivetta, it was all about communicating the concept of sustainability. Her eco-friendly prairie girls stomped down the runway wearing natural farm landscapes all over eco faux fur coats, hats and dresses. Rough-edged floral-appliques were added to skirts and trouser suits, while everything was accessorised by bold combat boots and her usual quaint aesthetic. “30 per cent of the textiles in the collection are sustainable,” stated the designer backstage, adding she already has plans for future expansion on this field. Points awarded for the commitment to sustainability. 

 

Last but not least was Act N°1, the designer duo made up of Luca Lin and Galib Gassanoff who dressed model and activist Lea T for Camera Della Moda’s official campaign advertising Milan Fashion Week. “Our brand and its image are linked to both of our identities, which are intrinsically multicultural,” stated Gassanoff backstage. The duo pushed forth their multicultural background by presenting a collection which riffed on the use of the Chinese art of watercolours, an obsession of Lin’s. The prints were then screen printed all overcoats and jackets and used as a lighter juxtaposition to stronger pied de poule materials used in the collection. Organza pleats were also sewn on suits, deconstructing traditional silhouettes. There were a lot of men's looks, which included a few standout pieces such as sequined frock. All in all, it was a fun collection.

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