The third day. Is Milan citationist? Well, who isn’t? In fact, all artist are unless they aren’t free to be

Text by: Domenico Costantini

On this third day of Milan Fashion Week, designers played a game of citations, churning inspiration from the inside out, like a matryoshka.

At Marni’s FW 21 Collection brought us breakfast in bed in a homely, youth-driven atmosphere characterised by pastel tones, Lo-Fi music, and an overwhelming need for love. “I need you and I dream of you,” read a voice in the background, as intimate, tender scenes alternated on the screen presenting us with the diverse faces of today’s young generation. ‘90s-style tye-dyed maxi dresses were accompanied by checkered, vibrantly-coloured knitwear, and extravagant footwear that brought us back in time to days where life was easier and fear could not stop us from being whoever we wanted to be. The setting immersed spectators into the warmth of a house where models chase the moment genuinely delighting themselves with music, food, and the spontaneous cheerfulness that shared conviviality brings about. A model plays the guitar as two others slowly wake up to a new bright day. A poem is read by a fresh-faced girl as she sits in the bathroom; it’s a hymn to simplicity that wants us to face skeleton in our closet and embrace what awaits us fully — because “demons fear happiness,” didn’t you know that? The last two scenes of this well-presented, hand-crafted “Marni Meals” seemed to pay homage to two artists, namely Marcel Duchamp and Pablo Picasso. In Duchamp’s Readymades, found objects are repositioned in a context differing from their original one and turned into art: hence, we see shoes being cooked in a pot as part of a tomato sauce, a scene probably winking at Feuerbach’s “we are what we eat.” Finally, we see models standing in front of a mirror and painting the outline of their bodies in a moment recalling the famous clips portraying Spanish painter Picasso at work in his own studio. A great start to the day at Marni!

Manifesto Paradisiaco, the short film presented by Marco Rambaldi, is set in an aseptic squat. We find ourselves in West Berlin, a location that has been purposefully cleaned up well maintained, and dressed up for the occasion with tones ranging from resin to soft colours. The only direct references to the social center are a mattress on which models lay and wooden vintage-style chairs that appeared stolen from some theatre. The message, however, is crystal clear: Rambaldi’s digital presentation is a thorough, determined exploration of community lifestyles, founded on a scheme of values differing from the dominating capitalist logics and aimed at finding new means of sustenance. The show takes the form of a bourgeois rave where tattoos are on silk shirts rather than on skin, with crochet becoming the cornerstone of the fashion house’s codes, where knitwear hearts cover clothes in an atmosphere queerer than ever.

One thing is for certain “Libera Bionda,” the video presented a few days ago, is wonderful!

The digital presentation of Antonio Marras’ FW 21 Collection, Su Nuraxi, was set, as anticipated, in the breathtaking, suspended-in-time framework of the Sardinian nuraghi; a location that, thanks to its fascinating history, succeeded in capturing the spectators’ attention from the very first moment, serving as the premise for a memorable fashion show. The short film starts with a middle-aged group of Sardinians neatly walking up a hill in retro checkered jackets as if marching. The almost religious parade, permeated with severe bearing, is abruptly interrupted by the lively arrival of two children dressed as bride and groom who, followed by a storm of young people, bring new life to the Sardinian-inspired narrative through hopping moves and laughs that disperse all over the countryside. Colorful details and embroidered flowers are placed on top of their garments, mostly suits alternated with semi-transparent organza dresses, in looks that celebrate the diverse, refreshing beauty of the models. The warm atmosphere portrayed, among the others, several Sardinian traditions such as the morra game and the legendary fairies meant to bring back hope where hope was lost. A must-see moment of the digital presentation? The ending with a “twist,” where all the models gathered accompanied by Sardidian twist music underneath the sky of the historical region.

The digital fashion show of Act N°1, which was written by Tommaso Ottomano, is pure conscious quotationism. The short film opens up in a setting that seems to introduce the sequel to Tarkovsky’s 1983 Nostalghia, set in San Galgano, also mimicking the sandy hills of the director’s 1979 film Stalker. The dystopian reality soon introduces us to a pianist, seated in the middle of the scene, and three dancers floating with rompers designed by Luca Lin and Galib Gassanoff.

The volumes of the creations are wide, taking up space in the framework, where tulle becomes the leitmotiv of the collection and large rouges are placed on tailored blazers.

The funeral rite portrays the beaded model in a wedding dress as she unconsciously awaits the floral treats: a moment suspended between the incipit of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks – with the finding of Laura Palmer’s body – and a more explicit reference to Kirsten Dunst in Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia, providing the collection with a pre-Raphaelite touch.

It ends with a black-dressed ballerina that, dancing on pointe, awaits for the place to take fire.

Finally, Tod’s. The fashion house played with its decade-long tailoring experience, exemplifying the brand’s motto in a clear and confident statement: “How I make things is what I am, what I make is who I am.” From Anna Karenina-inspired fur hats to wide-brimmed fleece hats and large volumes, the artistic director Walter Chiapponi, a naturally-gifted tailor, made use of his innate sense of proportion to embellish the female figure in a perfectly designed Autumn Winter collection.