In Milan, designers look forward to hot Italian summer
Simona Marziali was the first label to take to the catwalk on Wednesday morning, staging the first physical show of a Milan Fashion Week truly unlike any other. Because of health protection rules, guests are required to fill in a self-certification form before each show, prompting them to arrive at the venues in advance. This also because, since the shows are streamed live on the web, they are all starting on time. Never before at a fashion week!
In a dusky, half-lit room, in which chairs are duly distanced, a musician strums a plaintive tune on an ancient stringed instrument. The models tread soulfully along the catwalk, showcasing a nonchalantly chic collection chiefly created using knitwear - Marziali’s main strength - in a light colour palette in which white and beige predominate.
“I used the yarns I had available, producing everything in my atelier. Even the suits are entirely made in knitted fabrics, a novelty, which makes them so easy to wear,” Marziali told FashionNetwork.com. The young designer relies on her parents’ knitwear production company, Tomas, to produce her womenswear label MRZ.
Tunics, longline shirts and dresses are worn over striated or hemstitched trousers that hug the leg and reach down to the floor. Ribbed dresses and pleated skirts mould the curves of the body, some of the outfits contouring it tightly.
Some tops, knitted in a broad mesh, look like fishing nets. A gold-coloured, rough-textured top seems to have been battered by wind and weather, and is punched through with holes. Black bra tops leave the back bare. Sweaters abound, in shaggy or boiled wool, and sleeveless men's jackets are worn over ample trousers or shorts.
Marziali was inspired for this simple yet sophisticated Spring/Summer 2021 collection by the ‘Sacchi’ (sacks) paintings of Italian artist Alberto Burri, created using burlap sacks. “These artworks show how simple materials exude a combination of energy and intense harmony. I played on the contrast between the suits’ very minimalistic menswear-style cuts and the 3D knitwear items with highly researched details,” said Marziali.
The same minimalistic mood prevailed in the video by Daniele Calcaterra, where white was again the dominant colour, in countless variations. Clad in white, airy lightweight clothes, the models walk through the rooms of a deserted studio through a fine mist, looking like phantoms, ethereal silhouettes lost in limbo.
They are swathed in cotton dresses that fall down to the ankles, in long flowing overcoats worn over ample trousers, and maxi ponchos with tasselled hems. The volumes have all been tweaked for maximum comfort. The collection’s lightweight mood is enhanced by the use of large feathers which decorate a hat, or float over a dress, hanging from the end of a long, necklace-like string.
The Fendi show kicked off a good quarter of an hour late, in a venue entirely redesigned to create a series of small salons, where the audience, suitably dispersed, sat on sofas covered with white sheets. Long white curtains fluttered along the walls, letting the audience glimpse the shadows of large trees from a garden that could be imagined as Mediterranean.
The rectangular reflections of the venue’s tall windows are projected, as though merely sketched, on the tunics and billowy shirt-dresses of the first looks in this mixed-gender collection. Shadows paint abstract camouflage patterns on the clothes.
Lightness, elegance and simplicity are the main traits of this very summery, sophisticated Fendi wardrobe, in a soft palette of predominantly colour-bloc looks. White is ubiquitous here too, with a handful of models in sky blue and the occasional flash of red, featured in statement total looks worn both by Fendi ladies and their gentlemen.
Accessories in pop, fluorescent colours (among them yellow, pink and orange) add vibrancy to the collection, giving it a resolutely contemporary feel. The macramé footwear in particular, from women’s retro-style booties to men's mules.
The men sport slippers and high hemstitched socks, as well as knitwear and bob hats in macramé fabric, the holes patterned in the double F logo design. They also wear blouses and comfy bermudas. The ladies are ultra chic in their old-fashioned white or brightly coloured gloves, clad in classic, tone-on-tone dresses with floral embroidery, in lace outfits and suits with ample trousers.
Like Fendi, N°21 designed a series of similar garments for men and women, although worn in different ways. At N°21 too, ladies are rather glam while men sport more of a cool rebel vibe. In an amusing game of correspondence, fabrics, shapes and volumes migrate surreptitiously between genders.
Ladies wear oversize yellow check shirts covered with a thin black veil. The same tartan motif is to be found in a men's pair of shorts, minus the veil. For her, some dresses and the sleeves of a fine cardigan are trimmed with long ostrich feathers, the same that float down the back of a men’s sweater. The vinyl raincoats in rose pink or flesh colour are instead interchangeable.
Alessandro Dell'Acqua staged his post-lockdown show in his Milanese venue, welcoming the audience in a huge former garage whose large doors were thrown open, an elevated catwalk running along the entire room’s perimeter. “This period has led me to look into what I really appreciate. I started from a foundation material, on which I worked with a couture spirit,” he said backstage.
Canvas cotton fabric is cut into jackets with unstitched hems. Three layers of poplin cotton are assembled to create a series of corset dresses, while chunky-knit handmade sweaters are worn over pencil skirts.
Other tight-fitting knitwear items in black wool are decorated with stud buttons, miniature chains, pins and recycled pearls, falling in silvery cascades to evoke a punk mood for men, and a glam feel for the ladies.
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