A Play on Sensuality and Streetwear

On the penultimate day of Fashion Week, the tension was palpable. Looking around Milan’s usually full streets and alleys, now completely deserted, one couldn’t help but wonder if the level of alarmism was to be listened to or if it was just mediatic paranoia. After all, both Giorgio Armani and Laura Biagiotti had declared they would be holding their shows via ‘closed doors’, streaming them online. 

Regardless of this, the day started at Drome where creative director Marianna Rosati delivered a collection that reflected upon how women's sensuality is perceived nowadays. “I was inspired by Les Erotiques du regard, a 1968 book by Marc Attali,” stated the designer backstage. The photobook, a rare essay in pictures that plays with concrete poetry and typography, is a frank meditation on the male gaze, examining the phenomenon while, at the same time, doing the classical male thing of gazing. Thus, after delving into research on this matter, Rosati explored the following questions: Where does the sensuality and femininity of a woman reside, especially when one doesn’t want to be judged? How can women feel empowered by their bodies? What existing taboos do we still have in terms of the language centred around sensuality and femininity? In order to answer these queries, she delivered a collection that played with minimalism, riffing with the concept of unravelling the body in a mysterious and playful way – starting from oversized jackets and coats with dropped shoulders layered over high waisted straight leg trousers or mini dresses with slits. Peaking from the skirt slits were lightly ribbed knitted tights and undergarments that gave away retro flavours. Creamy tones of nudes, whites, blacks, occasional dashes of powder blue and pops of gold characterized the palette. A very elegant collection that looked back on the past in order to deliver something modern, but still slightly bourgeoisie looking. 

As mentioned before, Laura Biagiotti was the second brand of the day who decided to hold her show behind closed doors. This season, creative director Lavinia Biagiotti was inspired by Voltaire’s Candid and the concept of 'cultivating our own gardens', both literally and metaphorically. Metaphorically as the designer intended it as “a rediscovery of beauty in cultivating, in nature and in human relationships and in everyday life, in fashion, in music and in all that which can be source of regeneration and happiness,” and literally as she presented a collection that played with floral prints, both embroidered and printed on multiple garments across the collection. Like at Drome, the silhouettes and fabrics were very feminine (the collection was full of slinky silks and satins), however, they were also contrasted by stronger shoulders on tailored coats and jackets. Lush autumnal garden tones were big in the collection as peony pinks, wine reds and forest greens characterised the palette. Last but not least, continuing the discourse on sustainability, the designer also declared that most of her ankle-length dresses and knits had been made out of recovered cashmere and were totally biodegradable. 

At Fila, creative directors Antonino Ingrasciotta and Josef Graesel were inspired by some of the world’s most renowned peak climbers – the heroes who scaled the world's tallest snowy peaks without oxygen and conquered them – Reinhold Messner, Ingemar Stenmark and the Mahre Brothers. This journey beginning in the environment has always been a bold challenge to human endurance, a heroic, if not slightly crazy, venture which necessitates of a lot of courage, tenacity and determination for it to have a positive outcome. However, instead of organizing a show, the duo presented their collection through an experiential presentation that merged technology and streetwear. Looking through the brand’s archives, the co-creative directors decided to look for details that would pay homage to these bold climbers and men who earned a place in sports history. First up was the homage to Messner, who scaled Everest wearing his iconic blue Fila Overalls, celebrated through graphics on jackets, sweatshirts and tops. The famous reinforced tailored, yellow and blue jacket that Ingemar Stenmark wore when he won the World Cup was then modernized by the duo into a new, urban, high-performance jacket. And last but not least, neoprene, waterproof and windproof nylon in navy, red, white and blue, featured heavily a play on Fila’s DNA. 

At Vièn, creative director Vincenzo Palazzo revealed backstage that he looked at multiple artistic references this season, starting from the Victorian period to the Viennese secession, passing through la La Dolce Vita and the socio/musical/cultural revolutions. The collection patched together traditional sartorial elements with streetwear icons, as precisely stitched seams, curled up dresses and ribbed jackets, as well as balloon sleeves on crisp cotton shirts and Prince of Wales checks merged, styled with high-top sneakers, bomber jackets, sweaters and caps. Trench coats were characterised by both classic neutral tones and tartan checks, a mix between a Scottish clan print and that of Masai Mara. Of note, this season, was the designer’s use of denim, patched up with more classic materials, such as crisp white poplin.

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