Milan Fashion Week spotlights emerging Italian designers
Overshadowed by a giant like Prada, which showed on the opening day of the Milan Fashion Week on Wednesday, alongside Alberta Ferretti, N°21 and Jil Sander, the new wave of emerging Italian designers nevertheless demonstrated its eclectic, beguiling creativity, with names like Tiziano Guardini, Calcaterra, Marco Rambaldi and Arthur Arbesser well worth a peek, with their attractive, finely crafted made-in-Italy fashion.
Tiziano Guardini was the first on the catwalk, with a highly colourful Spring/Summer 2020 collection, an amalgam of vivid prints, abstract patterns and stripes. The whole gamut of stripes in fact, from Empire style to vertical, horizontal and undulating ones, glimpsed even on socks and heels. Maxi lengths are the order of the day, notably in pretty, tone-on-tone coat, shirt and trousers sets, featured in a tricolour palette of red, white and blue.
Jumpsuits and denim overcoats are laser-engraved to consume less water. Whether wearing mini shorts, sleeveless blouses or men’s suits, the models’ mood is at once brazen and chic-retro.
Guardini hails from Rome and won the 2017 edition of the Green Carpet Award. From the outset, he has stood out for his eco-responsible design, producing collections that are wholly sustainable, thanks to the groundwork done with partners willing to share his approach like Albini Donna, Aquafil, Isko, Mantero, Red and Swarovski, Guardini’s suppliers for recycled and recyclable materials.
Calcaterra’s timeless, pared-down design translated into an energetic collection, hinging entirely on volumes and fabrics, in a palette of four hues. He began with immaculate white, then veered to glossy black using coated cotton for a worn-leather effect, moving on to earthy, pale terracotta shades, before ending with four looks in striking red-pink.
As usual, the label's designer Daniele Calcaterra went for consistency, combining a natural kind of elegance with absolute comfort. His loose, airy clothes float around the body and gently caress the skin, in a harmonious fusion of the feminine and masculine.
Ostrich feathers scattered across a long dress delicately embellish the silhouette. Puff-sleeved tops are tied simply with a bow at the neck, leaving the back bare. A plain white sheet, knotted at the chest, morphs into a sheath dress for the evening, while crystal drops from a chandelier turn into precious earrings.
A playful approach to fashion, with a focus on reverse effects this season, was also shared by Marco Rambaldi, who continued his exploration of the protest and feminist movements of the 1970s. In his latest collection, Rambaldi portrayed women who look forward to the future, emboldened by the changes they masterminded and leaving past mistakes behind. Mistakes that are symbolised by holes scattered haphazardly across some of the outfits, celebrating after their own fashion the beauty of imperfection.
Bologna-born Rambaldi, 28, amused himself by ironically turning feminine stereotypes on their heads, as he did with the long dress or the patchwork top made out of grandmother-style crochet doilies. A long shirt dress made of gossamer nylon in the same flesh colour of the stockings of yesteryear is worn with only a tie! A masculine blue shirt is worn inside out, like the cardigan that buttons at the back.
Rambaldi is a knitwear specialist and excels in cute tricot sets, notably the pretty pastel-coloured trousers which seem to drip down the legs, matched with a see-through blouse in the same hue. He also had fun knitting huge crochet bags looking like seamen’s bundles, which no doubt will be all the rage next summer.
Arthur Arbesser too emphasised the power of women in a sunny collection with a retro feel, presented by models with a bohemian country-girl allure, wearing colourful clogs and feathered headdresses over long dresses and apron-tunics. The Austrian designer, now based in Milan, drew inspiration from his grandmother, hailing from Siebenbürgen, Transylvania, and a world that “has now vanished.” For example, the blue ornamental patterns on a white background, echoing the ceramic designs typical of the region, and cropping up on dresses, shorts and suits.
Arbesser fashioned some of his panel dresses and twirling scarves out of offcuts salvaged from previous collections, and his looks are a commingling of his favourite themes and motifs, ranging from geometric shapes to colourful patterns: mini polka dots, lozenge-shaped micro checks, splashes of colour and oversize checks.
The colour palette is vivid, and includes golden yellow, electric blue and violet. Arbesser enjoyed decorating some of the looks using his initials like a logo, two large capital A linked together in the shape of a trestle table. His collection has a joyful, carefree mood, infused with a pinch of nostalgia.
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