Technology Maximalism and Tradition Meet in Milan on Day 4

Walking into the Gabriele Colangelo show, the first thing that came to mind as one looked at the interwoven separè that divided the runway, was the fact that the designer must have been inspired by Bauhaus weaver Anni Albers or American textile artist Lenore Tawney. Yet, he revealed that the starting point of the collection didn’t actually come from an artistic viewpoint. “I experimented with laser cutting on paper and wanted to translate this experiment on fabrics,” stated the designer backstage. “I loved this interplay between tradition and innovation that came through the trucks of sartorial stitching, typical of menswear tailoring.” This interplay between tradition and technological enhancements was what made the collection strong - as well-tailored jackets with defined shoulders and straight pants gathered at the ankles by metal drop shaped buckles enhanced the silhouette by making it leaner. A colour palette of cerulean, brown, straw yellow and mint green characterised the collection, giving an edge to what, in the end, was Minimalism at its purest form.

Set to the dulcet tones of Patti Smith’s Dancing Barefoot, this season, Ermanno Scervino decided to play with masculinity and femininity by trying to find their meeting point. “It is the first time I do this, usually I just do an extremely feminine or extremely masculine collection,” stated the designer backstage. Finding this meeting point was evident in the collection, as structured coats were embroidered with romantic artisanal touches, knits were diamond-encrusted, sexy slip dresses in silk and leather with added lace inserts. Leopard prints and Glittery Pied De Poule characterised Sharply tailored suits, while knitwear added a touch of softness to sequined evening wear.

At Cividini, the designer looked back on the age of their adolescence, the seventies. “We looked through our archive and picked out a series of prints and colour combinations from the seventies,” stated the designer at the press preview, as he showcased a series of looks which juxtaposed multicoloured floral prints, velvet suits and paired oversized knits with wrap-around skirts. Contrasting colours such as bold yellows and purples were paired up. The designer also presented a special capsule collection of upcycled multicoloured knits that made use of knitwear scraps from their company, giving them new life. These special edition items are already available to buy in-store. 

This season, Annakiki was one of the few Chinese designers that managed to showcase at Milan Fashion Week before the Coronavirus emergency struck out. On this note, she presented ‘Infoxication’: a lightly veiled complaint against the overload of information that invades our brain daily. Perhaps a comment on the media-led paranoia of the moment? “Internet, television, artificial intelligence, social media have been bombarding us with information, be it fake news and real news - our life has become smarter but at the same time we are lazier,” stated the designer. This interplay between past and present was evident, as the designer brought back some of her classic silhouettes and iconic cuts to the runway, revisiting them through psychedelic rainbow prints, asymmetrical designs and dramatic sleeves. Oversized shoulders were quite a big feature in her collection this season, as many of the looks presented played with proportions and created optical illusions. 

At GCDS, “the starting point for this collection initially was that of creating a couture-like collection ‘GiuliCouture’, to demonstrate to my haters that I am able of doing that as well,” stated Giuliano Calza, explaining himself backstage. “However, then I veered towards something that is very dear to me and that I go back often. Thus I dedicated the collection to my glamorous childhood spent at Vico Stella 10, in Rione Sanità in Naples.” In point of fact, the collection was set inside Milan’s Central Station. In comparison to other collections, like for example his cartoon one, Calza imagined his references indirectly by presenting ‘cappuccino-coloured’ degradè looks in mohair, bags in the form of Bialetti’s Moka and by embroidering chilli peppers and marijuana leaves on silk sets. This time, Calza left the graphics at home, but he still added a touch of shine to his collection by presenting Swarovski encrusted shirts, gilets, garter belts, turtlenecks and more. Overall, it was a bold, fun collection, set to the funky Neapolitan tunes of Nu Guinea and the performance of South American singer Kali Uchis. 

Closing day four of Milan Fashion Week was Philipp Plein, a designer who loves indulging in maximalism at its purest form. As always, Plein presented a bold collection where leopard prints and golden excess were key. Unlike many designers who have sworn to stop producing fur coats, there were a few fur coats on the runway, including a bold pink one. As usual, the designer merged streetwear with more luxurious fabrics, as hoodies were worn under leopard printed tailored jackets and Swarovski encrusted trousers were paired with more rock and roll looking leather jackets.

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