The last day of Milan Digital Fashion Week displayed a broad spectrum of Italian creativity. Following the surprising visual marathon offered by Gucci and Ermenegildo Zegna’s superb performance on a three-kilometre catwalk, Missoni brought this unique fashion week to a close with a film celebrating the house’s history, featuring archive photos, runway clips and moving testimonies. The brand’s story is an iconic tale of Italian-made style revolving around one family and an instantly recognisable aesthetic, distilled in the house’s famous zigzag and colourful mosaic patterns.
Eleventy is another pretty Italian brand and a regular at Milan Fashion Week, where it shows its chic yet laidback collections featuring ultra-light knitwear and delicate fabrics. In this season’s video, creative director Marco Baldassari presented the house’s Spring/Summer 2021 collection himself, revealing clothes conceived for the post-quarantine world, for a lifestyle based around the home. The pieces were comfortable but always elegant – perfect for working remotely.
The wardrobe could be divided into four major styles. Classic Italian chic, with all the effortless elegance of Marcello Mastroianni in La Dolce Vita, could be seen in casual white suits, jackets reimagined with new fabrics such as jersey, drawstring trousers and striped sweaters. A more urban aesthetic was present in multipocketed cotton suits, ideal for when you’re speeding around the city on a bike. For those doing business from home, there was a series of hybrid sporty-formal looks combining sneakers and sweaters with banker jackets. Finally, there was the denim: essential jeans offered in a range of washes.
“Made in Italy” was also the approach taken by Federico Cina, who celebrated the values of his native Emilia-Romagna, and Gall, which came at the idea from a different angle, proposing a mysterious, vaguely unsettling film where strange backpackers masked by balaclavas and hoods followed each other through a mountainous landscape under a cold light. The video was a faithful reflection of the futuristic warrior aesthetic that has come to represent the brand, which was founded in Rome in 2014, by American designer Justin Gall and Chiara Nardelli.
The activewear stylings of Gall’s urban warriors included cargo pants and windbreakers masquerading as parkas, stuffed with pockets and zips, and cut in ultra-performance technical fabrics with innovative properties, like nylon which adapts to the body’s movements, or an ashy-coloured, wrinkled material with prints that could be smeared but which also returned to their original state.
Italian designer Andrea Pompilio offered up a film with a wandering narrative that involved a man and a woman wearing the same outfit: a pair of straight-leg navy trousers, a white shirt and a black men’s jacket. These two protagonists came together in a series of symbolic scenes representing the sensations that people around the world have been feeling over the last few months.
There were also two Japanese labels on the programme: JieDa, which made its Milan debut in January, and Children of the Discordance. Founded by Hiroyuki Fujita in 2007, the former, which is distributed by multibrand retailer Kikunobu, came up with a film noir channelling a distinctly 80s aesthetic.
Viewers followed a group of Tokyo bad boys as they float through the urban night in oversized suits. Ties too were of an exaggerated size and stamped with the label’s gothic initials, as were the baggy shirts with wide collars, while pants were worn long and creased or short and flared. A pearl necklace could be spotted on a black turtleneck, along with 50s pin-up girls printed on shirts or the lining of a jacket.
Having started out at Ships and launched trendy multibrand retailer Acycle in Tokyo’s iconic Harajuku neighbourhood in 2005, Hideaki Shikama created Children of the Discordance with a group of friends in 2011 and has run the label solo since 2013. His video harked back to street culture, following skaters in typically baggy streetwear as they hit the tarmac for a nocturnal spin.
The emphasis was on fabrics and prints, which the designer makes himself, and which gave this collection a unique edge. Detail was everywhere: in a jumper with diamond cut-outs, in tribal-looking patchwork shirts with ethnic motifs and even in a giant embroidered fish on the back of a jacket.
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