A-Cold-Wall's ode to manhood
Milan’s big runway debut this menswear season was A-Cold-Wall, the conceptual London label from designer Samuel Ross, who was shortlisted for the LVMH Prize in 2018.
Hence, every editor in town headed out on a chilly Monday evening to Palazzo del Ghiaccio, a former ice skating rink, to witness the arrival on the peninsula of Ross, an acclaimed talent back in Britain.
His show in Italy was clearly on Ross' mind early on when designing this Fall/Winter 2020 collection, which was a step up in terms of fabric and finish, when compared to the riskier approach of his previous shows.
Ross made his mark with precise and concise technical and industrial street wear, but half these clothes would look at home in a continental drawing room.
It was interesting that, post show, the designer's publicists stood two handsome models dressed in very gentlemanly fare behind him. An ink blue double-breasted crepe suit, albeit worn with ergonomic neoprene sneakers, standing beside a cashmere blend petrol blue duster.
Ross also sent out some neat and unexpected suits, one in technical cotton, paired with a shirt-jacket, another in faded patent leather with a jerkin for the jacket.
Ross has also deservedly gained a reputation for artful staging – one of his London shows had a Dobermann barking at the audience, perched above a shadowy moat. In Milan, however, his cast looked almost overwhelmed by the massive rink, and somewhat lost as they walked between a series of large tennis court screens.
Fortunately, Ross came up with some great muddy, survivalist camouflage parkas, and dreamed up a sensational new malleable wire-frame hooded military gilet. Plus, he had all sorts of witty design tricks up his sleeve, from crooked-angled plackets to quilted 3D patterns. His penultimate look was also excellent – a see-through micro-mesh copper workerist faux jumpsuit that shone so mysteriously it almost looked radioactive.
"It is about modernizing what we already know. It’s an homage to menswear. Professional modernity, a dialogue with the illustrator, the novelist, the architect. Not a certain generation," Ross explained backstage.
A-Cold-Wall was the biggest name in a large contingent of UK designers who showed in Milan this season, as the British Fashion Council opened London Show Rooms in the fashion capital through a partnership with its Italian equivalent, the Camera della Moda.
"I don’t think that bringing London Show Rooms to Milan was in any way due to Brexit at all. It was about doing something for all of fashion," explained Camera CEO Carlo Capasa.
"If you walk into any design studio here in Milan the teams all come from all over the world. Fashion is about getting rid of frontiers. It is politics that creates the boundaries," he added.
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