Italian-style streetwear sparkles at Milan Fashion Week
They all dream of being the next Gosha Rubchinskiy, but their style is far from the Russian designer's austere aesthetic and post-Soviet mood. They advocate a more fun, cheerful streetwear, often with a sartorial touch. This is the fashion philosophy of Malibu 1992, Palm Angels and GCDS, three emerging Italian labels, all of them Milan catwalk rookies, who livened up the Milan Men's Fashion Week's last day with their three co-ed shows.
GCDS showed first on Monday morning, presenting a fresh, energetic summer wardrobe blending outerwear in acidic colours (apple green, pink and yellow) with an array of beachwear (Bermuda shorts, tee-shirts, sweaters and wind-breakers) in more classic hues like red, navy and white.
Not to mention a heap of accessories: backpacks, wristlets, eyewear, pool slippers, bob hats and other headgear, etc. The label's name is the acronym of 'God Can’t Destroy Streetwear.'
"We launched our label in 2015, but this is the very first time we are showing. We were born on the web. It kicked off as a viral project, and thanks to the help of blogger friends like Chiara Ferragni (who attended the show) and a handful of celebrities, we built a community around it. A loyal group which has followed us in our five seasons so far, and has kept growing. Sales have skyrocketed, and have now reached €5 million," said Giuliano Calza, 28, who launched into this adventure with his brother Giordano, 32, and with Matteo Carraturo, 25, the label's other designer.
The young man trod a variety of paths before arriving in fashion. After international relations studies in his native city, Naples, he won a one-year scholarship at the university for foreign students in Shanghai.
He then studied marketing and communications at Milan's prestigious Bocconi University, before working at Blumarine's press office and taking care of digital communications for a variety of brands. After another three years in China, where he managed the brand image of restaurant chain Mylk, he returned to Italy and threw himself into fashion.
"GCDS is a contemporary streetwear label, with a style that’s very different from the dark one that currently predominates. It's a shade more Italian, with a hint of irony," said Calza. He likes to redesign the brand's logo each season, and he enjoys wordplay, as in the 'sea-riously' tag he used for his latest collection, which is 100% made in Italy.
The two other new entries to the Milan Fashion Week showed in the afternoon. Palm Angels was launched in January 2015 and already has more than 165 multibrand clients worldwide, between Asia, the USA and Europe, notably at Colette and the Galeries Lafayette department store in France.
The label is evidently inspired by the world of skateboarding, hence its loose, multi-pocket trousers, nylon outfits, long straps used as belts, and hoodies with balaclava-like high collars.
More specifically, Francesco Ragazzi, 32, the label's designer who is also the Creative Director of Moncler and a photographer, was inspired by the Los Angeles skateboarder scene, which he pictured in a book entitled 'Palm Angels' published in 2014, brimming with atmospheric California and its golden sunshine.
"I'm an American transplanted in Italy," said the Milanese designer smiling. "I wanted to reinterpret American style through my own vision, starting from Ivy League sportswear and moving on to workwear," said Ragazzi, who founded the label with businessman Davide De Giglio, who also oversees the brands Off-White and Marcelo Burlon.
As for the designer behind Malibu 1992, he is obsessed with the imagery of Californian clubbing in the 1990s, a period whose energy he would love to recreate. Dorian Gray, the stage name of DJ Dorian Stefano Tarantini, 35, has a long history of producing catwalk show soundtracks, and scores of party-goers have danced to his house music.
It is this mood, and a night-club aesthetic, which he strived to transpose into his sharply defined collection, with clean details, an assured feel for cuts and a highly graphic vision.
"I already run a music-based business and in 2015 I created my own fashion company. I make tailored sportswear with high-tech fabrics. It is all manufactured in Tuscany, and some items are actually hand-crafted," he said.
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