Milano Day 3: Collaborations Feed Creativity

Forging ties and collaborations between fashion houses and iconic, but unrelated, companies and names is still on the rise in this business. The continuous research of the next and the new, and the overproduction of umpteenth collections, pushes companies into forced and unexpected marriages. 


Etro Spring/Summer 2020 menswear show in Milan. Photo by Alessandro Garofalo for NOWFASHION.

Is it also possible that rapid creative cycles have exhausted designers’ brains and thus they need help from outside? 

To start, Star Wars met Etro. At first glance, a collaboration between the two may sound illogical if you think about both aesthetics, but Kean Etro did it well. The collaboration unraveled in a more introspective sequence conjuring the desert, silence, and the variety of creatures at the Mos Eisley Cantina – all of them mixed with Etro’s own memories of journeys and emotions. 

 

A traveller of time and space that has visited the Gobi, Sahara, and the Thar, in search of himself… The signature eastern inspirations looked more fresh with the Jedi-aesthetic force. 

Dsquared2 Spring/Summer 2020 menswear show in Milan. Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION.


Later that evening, Bruce Lee met Dsquared in four images used in collaboration with the Bruce Lee Foundation. The images were printed on t-shirts. Designers Dean and Dan Caten wanted to build a bridge between the East and West celebrating the Hollywood golden age of the Seventies (but there was also a lot of Eighties). 

“Bruce Lee was the first Asian celebrity to make this connection,” explained the designers backstage. “That’s why we wanted to use him.” 

Timeless icons that would catch the attention of potential customers, I would add. The show, a plethora of prints, filled with gold and random Asian references with the fil rouge red lacquer. The result was neither East nor West but rather, a loud patchwork of their signature abundant aesthetic. 

Even a fabric supplier, in this sense, would become a communication tool.


Sunnei Spring/Summer 2020 menswear show in Milan. Photo by Alessandro Garofalo for NOWFASHION.

Sunnei partnered with “Albiate 1830 – part of Italian textile company Albini – [which] enabled to both develop a new striped poplin and envisage a seven-item capsule collection manufactured in white fabric and enriched with a special label, which celebrates the partnership,” says the press release. Actually, in the past, this was part of the private creation process that then became a garment. 

A palette of bright white to dark blue, with touches of acid green, baby blue, and rust dominated the collection. 

Everything was the result of the analysis of the (short) heritage of the brand and re-edited. The show actually marked the launch the “Bianco Sunnei” project, a multidisciplinary open-air space for events, installations, performances, and temporary stores located in the outskirts of Milan. 

The project, which will be accessible for free, has been developed with the patronage of the City of Milan and in collaboration with Milan’s Zone 3 and the neighborhood committee ViviRubattino.  

Unfortunately, the show was private, and the locals were not allowed to enter the location apart from a select few representatives of the three institutions. The best way to have launched this initiative, and certainly the most “inclusive” solution – would have been to open the show to the neighborhood’s residents. 


United Standard Spring/Summer 2020 menswear show in Milan. Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION.

Giorgio di Salvo from United Standard presented his second collection: Machine Vision. Di Salvo is part of the creative generation that maximizes the potential of collaborations and embraces different sectors to create something new. 

This collection involved fabric suppliers ranging from military (a collab with Tessitura Majocchi, a leader in military fabrics) to the aerospace and naval industries, with I-Mesh, a non-woven fabric. “My first collection was about my streetwear background,” explained the designer backstage. 

“With this I wanted to discover the construction of the garments more, as well as the materials,” di Salvo said backstage. The collection was more mature, but diSalvo can definitely push the boundaries of experimentation even further in order to create a greater impact. 


Backstage at the Palm Angels Spring/Summer 2020 menswear show in Milan. Photo by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION.

Palm Angels ushered the audience into an American vintage store where different clothes and styles coexist. “I wanted to use my outsider point of view and tell you this story,” said the designer Francesco Ragazzi before the show. “With this inspiration I wanted to create a broad collection, in order to make it grow. My family is growing, so does my company.” Even though the references were clear and simple, the emotions of the thrift store experience didn’t explode on the catwalk… that in the end, seemed a bit too restrained. 

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