Fashion Week is not just about catwalks, but it also means events and presentations that take place in the streets of Milan
Text by: Domenico Costantini and Gianmarco Gronchi
The social age, as we know, compulsively feeds on the glitter of show business. The haute couture catwalks are a moment of bulimic intake of everything that triggers the compulsive mania of liking by followers and attracts the user’s attention. But beyond the new collections by Armani, Prada and many others, Milan, during this last week, was transformed into a showroom of urban dimension, where you can discover many novelties for next summer.
What to say about the Lawrence Steele’s first collection as Aspesi’s creative director? Nothing more than that it is perhaps one of the best seen in the various Milan showrooms. There is a mature and intellectual calm, there is the study of the archive, there is the heritage of the brand that returns in a slow, meditated rhythm, so that each garment must be received and appreciated with due calm. There are all those factors in Aspesi’s next summer collection, which features both womenswear and menswear. Steele’s proposal is complex, and it needs to be listened carefully. If you can, however, you enter a universe of vaguely retro tones and loose fits, where the same piece alternates indifferently on both men’s and women’s bodies. A homogeneous collection structured around a few, very clear concepts, speaking the language of family intimacy, of an out of time, and therefore timeless, everyday elegance. The oversized trench coats blend with patchwork rugby tops, while the two-tone blazers are a whimsical response to seductive knit dresses and crochet waistcoats with immortal charm. “It was a question of choosing shapes and pieces that speak languages and which I could juxtapose against each other”, said Steele. Once you have admired this collection, you will be tempted to wonder whether you are on the Seine promenade of the Nouvelle Vague or in the “borgate” of Pasolini’s neo-realist Rome. We don’t know exactly. But in the end it does not even matter.
In an airy building on Via Montebello, which is very reminiscent of the taste of a certain enlightened bourgeoisie of the Sixties, Mila Schön’s next ready-to-wear collection was presented. The rigour of perfect geometries, carefully calibrated, is combined with the line, which returns in a broken way, but almost abstract on various pieces. The collection for the 2022 summer season is certainly no accident, but the result of a careful study of the identity of this brand, founded in 1958. Some of the historic garments are taken up and re-proposed in an updated key, such as the wonderful suit with a long sleeveless waistcoat and palazzo trousers in pleated fil coupé and printed with wavy lines. A dress that is certainly not suitable for after-dinner discos, but which exudes a charm so bewitching that it would not be out of place next to the sculptures of Morlotti, the Spatialism of Fontana or the precarious balances of Calder. And the lightness of these clothes is counterbalanced by the linear purity that dominates this collection, as can be seen in the kaftans, the shirts with Korean collars, the one-colour dresses and the double wool coats with almost hidden pockets. The geometric rigour is accentuated by the harmony of the colour palette, which settles on a few decisive tones: white, black, pink and a few greens. A contemporary and refined minimalism, almost abstract, which manages to make the body a concept.
The Krizia Spring/Summer 2022 collection retraces the maison’s archives, focusing in particular on graphic studies of iconic animals, proposed in sophisticated animalier fabrics.
The panther as a graphic inspiration is represented on the garment as if it belonged to it. Decorative jewels and interlocking chains become an integral part of the structure of coats, dresses and knitwear, becoming a real statement. The clothes balance brilliance and warmth, in a constant journey of research that is expressed to the utmost power in fabrics such as raw silk, viscose linen, starched organza and poplin, through to plated jersey that becomes like skin to the touch. PVC is also back, embracing animal print over waistcoats, in micro-tops and in maxi bags where the panther always leaves its mark.
Accompanied by this journey through the fabrics and history of the brand, we can only hope for a return to the catwalk of the brand on the Milan scene – which would not seem very far away.
Borbonese, instead, has a different proposition, offering long satin trench coats over satin jackets and micro-patterns contrasting shirts. Here too, the loose fit of the outerwear dialogues with the rigidity of the minidresses and crop tops, made from the famous logoed handles of the brand’s bags woven together. Same applies to accessories, such as bottle cages and bucket hats, for a street-style look that does not lode the brand’s identity.
Herno research into materials is its strong point, with the raw material for knitwear now all in-house produced. An eclectic mix of materials allows us to find nylon jackets and neoprene coat with a raw cut alongside oversized jersey blazers. In addition, Herno offers a rainbow of colours, to get out of the many months of lockdown of the senses.
Furla also plays on a very pop polychrome to present its “Re-Candy” capsule collection, composed by bright colours trunk bags in recycled plastic, with contrasting shoulder straps. This proposal reworks the best-selling Candy model with a view to eco-sustainability because time for waste is over.
Now that fashion is starting up again, it is doing so with an injection of ideas. Santoni, for example, transforms the moccasin into a hybrid shoe, halfway between a Roman sandal and a classic shoe. Hand-coloured shading completes the vision of a rigorous but never monotonous elegance.
It’s the beautiful spaces of Villa Mozart that provide a magical setting for a world of dreams, like the delicate summer afternoons when the calm descends on the elegant homes of the Italian Riviera. The beating heart of Serapian, in the centre of Milan, hosts the Women’s Collection for Spring-Summer 2022, a wonderful story born from the encounter between unparalleled craftsmanship and the sweet poetry of an endless holiday. 1928 is the name of the new Mosaico creation, an exciting debut where the iconic Mosaic hand weave is reinterpreted in a bold contemporary key.
Sicily, Japan and South America are the three stops on the imaginative Grand Tour of a collection that travels in search of authenticity. Not only hats, but also leather goods and soft accessories for Borsalino, which unveils a preview of its capsules with Ami Paris and Àcheval. Borsalino’s Milan Fashion Week is full of novelties. In addition to offering an articulated collection of hats dedicated to travel, a theme dear to the Alessandria-based fashion house, the company is unveiling its new lines of leather goods and soft accessories, born from its licensing agreements with Modigliani and Isa Seta. At the Milan event, two important capsule collections were presented, the result of Borsalino’s collaboration with Ami Paris, a brand with an unmistakably Parisian spirit by designer Alexandre Mattiussi, and Àcheval, a brand of contemporary equestrian inspiration, created by Sofia Àchaval de Montaigu and Lucila Sperber to celebrate the tradition of the South American Gaucho.
Brunello Cucinelli’s collection is graceful, neither arrogant nor excessive, but of great craftsmanship. The mastery of knitwear and the choice of fine materials are reconfirmed. The neutral colors that are the DNA of the brand are joined by bamboo green and even a nice vibrant red. And now there are also glasses. And what glasses! It’s no coincidence that they deserved a separate presentation on a day dedicated to them. In fact, this is not a license or a capsule, but a true collaboration – the first – that combines the values and know-how of two brands that are similar in excellence, Italian Cucinelli & Californian Oliver Peoples. The result is five models where contemporary design and the highest craftsmanship are expressed, even managing to catch a glimpse of the Hollywood skyline and the medieval architecture of Solomeo on the lenses.
Des Phemmes, a brand born during the pandemic, grew up feeding on the pain and sense of rebirth that followed. The collection, called “Love more_more love”, is built on the concept of love in its broadest sense. The development starts from the idea of reconstruction, collecting the pieces of something broken to recreate with them something new. The installation created by the designer Salvatore Rizza in Rinascente, where the spring summer 2022 was presented, wants to represent this concept through an installation of mirrors that allow us to look inside, because only by knowing ourselves in depth we succeed in the intent of creation. The style of his creations lies in the simplification of the silhouette of the garments, contrasting with the perhaps exaggerated excess of the brightly coloured surfaces, embroidered and worked with many many sequins.
Dsquared2 tells a fairy tale with grunge overtones. The woman loses her distinctly street connotations and becomes more girly, in a convincing mix of underground aesthetics and romanticism. Fits become relaxed, while the layering of different materials allows patchwork jeans are coexist with leather, plastic or the metallic acrylic of biker jackets. Knitwear is filled with rips and seams, for a look like a Nirvana concert veteran. And if these days we are celebrating thirty years since the release of Nevermind, the continuity between the womenswear and the menswear is very strong. Trousers open up in a multitude of cuts and are loaded with tulle and sequins. Floral shirts, on the other hand, become oversized and reveal the chest. The half-sleeved patchwork shirt with Cuban collar becomes a Dadaist-like collage salvaged from the waste of a landfill, with plasticized multicoloured lace patches, in a successful combination of romanticism and aggressiveness. Even the three-piece suits are back, for both men and women, with jackets cut at navel level that would look perfect on Mark Renton and company if they were going to a party. Dsquared2’s fairytale style is successfully soiled with the urban and earthy tones of alternative metropolitan subcultures.