Italy’s Luxury Industry Denies Seeking Russian Sanction Exemptions
Protests against the war and displays of support for Ukraine took place throughout the city during fashion week.
MILAN — Milan Fashion Week kicked off just as Vladimir Putin ordered the attack on Ukraine, leaving the industry rattled by the news and the city a stage for several protests in support of the beleaguered country, also outside show venues.
Fake news started to circulate, such as a report that Italy had made a request for carve-outs on sanctions, including for luxury goods, which was firmly denied by an official tweet from Palazzo Chigi, the seat of the country’s Council of Ministers and the official residence of the country’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi.
“We represent all fashion brands and we have not done any kind of lobbying – the government will decide on the measures to take and we will abide by them and adapt to whatever restriction is decided upon,” said Carlo Capasa, president of the Camera della Moda. “At this moment, what is important is the life of people and peace. Actually, we hope that the message that fashion launches about peace, coexistence, inclusivity and social sustainability will make inroads.”
Just as the pandemic was all fashion week goers could talk about two years ago when it first hit Milan, the war was top of mind for everyone this season, culminating with Putin launching an atomic threat on Sunday, while the members of the EU were meeting to map out sanctions to hit Russia. Putin also agreed on Sunday to hold talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday on the border of Ukraine and the Russian satellite state Belarus, although battles continued to rage.
Zelensky said on Saturday Draghi had supported Russia’s disconnection from the global SWIFT payment system.
Giorgio Armani, for one, took a strong stance by deciding to hold his signature brand’s show on Sunday without a soundtrack “as a sign of respect for the unfolding tragedy,” it was announced as the lights dimmed on the runway.
“A few hours before the show, I thought what can I do for what’s happening around us?” wondered the designer at his Via Borgonuovo headquarters after the show.
“It’s not sending money or clothes, nothing like that. How could I express how my heart was beating for these children…” he began to say before tearing up. After a few moments, he resumed his comments by saying that he believed “the best thing is to give a signal that we are not happy, that we don’t want to celebrate because there is something around us that troubles us very much. So I told my team, ‘I don’t want any music.’ In the room, you could hear the absence of music, and backstage, it was more emotional than if any music, rap or rock had played.”
Before his MSGM show, Massimo Giorgetti also expressed how he pushed himself to focus on his work as the war raged. “We must go on,” he said, adding that, while social media was awash with comments, he also debated on ways to express his feelings.
“We were beginning to finally see some blue sky after the pandemic, with more people traveling, and now black clouds loom over the future,” said Nicolas Girotto, chief executive officer of Bally. “We are caught in a vortex and we are concerned for our team members who have relatives in the region.”
Russia is a small business for the Swiss brand, but the CEO shared his concerns for the repercussions on the economy. “We were not expecting this and it’s difficult to make any kind of forecast, but I see the restrictions and the sanctions lasting in time.”
Capasa said Italian exports to Russia represent a business of 1.2 billion euros on a total of 100 billion euros. “The weight of the country varies depending on the company and the effect of the sanctions will be asymmetric, hitting some brands more than others, but none of them has placed business ahead of humanitarian actions. We are sure that our government, with the European Union, will find the right way to cope with this. We have good business relationships with Ukraine and Russia and nobody wants the war, I can assure you,” he underscored.
While declining to provide any financial information about business in Russia as a leader of a public company, Gildo Zegna, chairman and CEO of the Zegna Group, echoed Capasa’s words. “I comply with the president’s stance. This will not be an easy situation but if we are united, we will come out of it, but it is premature to venture into any prediction.”
According to association Confindustria, Russia represented 2.7 percent of Italian exports in 2014, the year of the first sanctions for the annexing of Crimea. Today, exports to Russia involve more than 11,000 companies. The diminishing weight of the Russian market, as a consequence of those sanctions, hit several sectors, such as apparel, which represents 7.3 percent of the total, a 3.8 percent decrease compared to pre-2014. Leather goods now account for 4.6 percent of the total, down 1.7 percent.
Sanctions weakened the economic growth and the internal Russian demand and devalued the ruble. In terms of imports, around one-fifth of Italy’s gas and oil comes from Russia.
Confindustria stated that Russia has drawn 2.4 percent of Italian capital invested in the world, channeled in 442 local branches employing around 34,700 people and producing revenues of 7.4 billion euros, a 7.5 percent growth in the past six years. This surpasses the growth in the countries outside the European Union, up 2.2 percent in the same period, and in the U.S., up 5.2 percent.
Simona Clemenza, CEO of Aspesi, said Russia is not one of the main markets for the brand, which is stronger in Asia and Europe, but she is expecting an impact from the sanctions at a general level. “They are a price that we will all have to pay,” she said.
Like her peers, she said there are still uncertainties about the information circulating. Asked about the recent increase in the cost of energy and raw materials, Clemenza said the company has worked to “mitigate the effect through the optimization of certain industrial processes as to maintain Aspesi in the range of an alternative to luxury, but the effects will be felt on the current year.”
At the Budapest Select, showing at the Fashion Hub supported by the Camera Nazionale della Moda, asking to speak anonymously, a guest hailing from Hungary was especially concerned about the possible repercussions of the war. “Hungary is in the middle of Europe, sharing 100 kilometres of a common border with Ukraine, and there are many Hungarians living in the country,” she said. “Hungary, being a neighbor of Ukraine is particularly worried about the escalation of the situation,” although the country’s prime minister has said the country will not send its army to fight in Ukraine.
“For the past two days, I’ve felt this pressure on my chest; we don’t know what will happen. We were almost out of COVID-19 and now this. In 2022, the war cannot be a solution. All businesses will be affected, the currency, and so on. We have many collaborations with the Russians, everyone is worried. But we care for the refugees we expect will be coming to Hungary and we are getting ready to welcome them.”
“This will be a European disaster for all its sectors,” said Olga Peredenko, a buyer for a fashion store in Kyiv. “Our sector will make no sense if this war does not stop soon, and the consequences will be felt for a very long time. The pre-collection orders will not be confirmed and the summer merchandise will be canceled, too,” she said, while obviously more concerned about the humanitarian crisis.
She explained that it was easier for Russia to annex Crimea because the region has long been a tourist area where former members of the USSR army lived or retired, while Ukraine has long resisted being part of Russia.
“Putin considers the dissolution of the USSR last century’s geopolitical catastrophe. He could be eyeing Moldova next.”
Asked if she was surprised by the many expressions of support for her country seen in Italy over the past few days, Peredenko said Italy has long been the home of many Ukrainians, whether employed as models or caregivers for the elderly, for example. She herself moved to Italy in 1994 and, after years as a model, started as a luxury buyer working with several countries, including Russia and Kazakhstan, for example, with about 80 clients. “This war is the opposite of common sense and is unacceptable. And it will have significant repercussions on the Italian economy if it is not stopped soon.”
Growth You Can Trust
As Jedora’s online marketplace grows with new partnerships, the company Wputs emphasis on the importance of maintaining high standards.
When Jedora launched a first-of-its-kind digital jewelry marketplace in late 2021 it was with the goal of sharing an inspiring experience with both designers and consumers.
Fulfilling a need in the industry, the marketplace stands out with its wide variety of offerings, ready to meet anyone’s jewelry-related needs. The platform already features a robust array of fine jewelry and loose gemstones and is adding new partners daily; Jedora is also quickly scaling its assortment of both watch brands and bridal category offerings.
Since its initial launch, the online marketplace has onboarded over 75 new storefronts representing a range of brands and designers, including Yael Designs, Zydo, Kallati, LeVian, Bellarri, Beverley K, Phillip Gavriel, Chimento, Brilliant Expressions, Gevril Watches and more, as well as a vast selection of loose gemstones from gemstones.com.
Ultimately, Jedora’s marketplace will feature every category the industry offers. From watches and timepieces to modern and timeless jewelry to vintage and estate pieces to resale items, Jedora will meet consumers’ everyday needs and desires. Additionally, it will feature a robust assortment of bridal category products – from engagement rings to bridal party jewelry to items to commemorate the special occasions in a couple’s life, such as anniversary gifts and push presents.
Backed by Multimedia Commerce Group, Inc. (MCGI), a company with over 25 years of direct-to-consumer jewelry experience, Jedora entered the market as a well-funded business with established operations including a state-of-the-art distribution center in the U.S., extensive technological infrastructure, a well-established supply chain across the globe, payment options and support services. Moreover, the company also launched with exceptional in-house industry expertise.
In part, this expertise and level of high standards contributes to a rigorous process when onboarding new brands and designers. Though growing
quickly – with more stores added to the pipeline each week – Jedora has instituted a robust vetting system through its qualification process to ensure prospective known and up-and-coming designers and brands meet a high set of standards.
“The Jedora team has decades of experience in the jewelry industry,
with established relationships that allow us to offer each of our brands with confidence, knowing they meet the high standards our customers desire and deserve,” said Tim Matthews,
Chief Executive Officer of Jedora. “We are continually adding more storefronts to Jedora so that our selection remains vast, diverse and fresh. We also work with brand ambassadors who have specific areas of expertise to help identify and vet partners that we think would be a good fit and offer value to consumers.”
And even after the qualification process, Jedora makes sure storefronts are optimized. Through a partner success team, these storefronts are set up and guided through processes that address any questions a brand may encounter. A wide range of services is then also offered to ready partners for success, including photography services, marketing/brand management support, and more; plus, new technological advancements are regularly deployed to further streamline processes and
At the same time, Matthews told WWD, “The company’s extensive expertise will provide value and efficiency to the consumer and our partners. Given our background, the brand’s leadership team understands what it takes to build trust with consumers, but also that something
so important can take time.”
Backed by a team with decades of experience in the jewelry retail industry, Jedora aims to be a trusted one-stop destination for style exploration – willing to do everything it takes to
earn consumer trust, putting all the necessary steps in place to demonstrate to consumers that the company has their backs and they can shop confidently with Jedora.
And, asking consumers to hold them accountable to its steadfast commitment, Jedora will launch a 5-Star Promise explaining exactly what consumers can expect.
“When it comes to meeting the high standards consumers desire and deserve, Jedora is committed to excellence, and we want consumers to feel confident that they can count on Jedora,” said Matthews. “With our 5-Star Promise, we take the worry out of buying jewelry, watches and gemstones online. The guiding principles of our promise include providing the highest quality product offerings, outstanding customer service and peace-of-mind payment and protection options.”
With these promises, consumers are empowered to experience the joy and delight of discovering the perfect piece to complete a look or augment their wardrobe. The components of Jedora’s 5-Star Promise include 24/7 live customer support, facilitating buying direct from pre-qualified
sellers, free insured shipping and returns, worry-free satisfaction guarantee and flexible payment and protection options.
Ongoing investments in technological advancements make Jedora’s consumer experience more curated and customized over time, enabling people to quickly find what they want when in a hurry – and to foster discovery and exploration when they want to take the time to browse and look around. Jedora leverages technology to facilitate a process for many brands to offer their products direct to consumers, while ensuring those brands meet the high standards consumers have come to expect so they can shop with confidence.
“Features range from AI technology to guide one’s exploration, curated shoppable looks from influencers and fashion experts and an assortment of high-end options as well as accessible price points from brands and designers vetted by a panel of experts,” said Matthews. “We are building a better way to shop for jewelry, watches and gemstones. Jedora is a thoughtful collaboration by leaders in the industry that are dedicated to delivering the best possible customer experience through product selection and technology innovation.”
For Jedora, the foundation of building trust with the consumer always comes back to offering something for everyone – from entry level price points for everyday wear to red carpet ready looks. And the company’s marketplace has become that one-stop-shop.
“Ultimately, our vision is to be that reliable and trustworthy source for all jewelry needs, and variety is a crucial element to that mission.
Red Carpet Ready
Loosely translated from Greek origins, Jedora means “gift of the world,” which is what jewels and gemstones bring to a look – universal treasures that never fail to elicit wonder and delight to those who wear them. Jedora is a wonderland for people on the hunt for something special for every occasion.
Featured in Jedora’s red carpet collection is a range of exquisite pieces that are perfect for every special occasion. Within jewelry, every gemstone is one-of-a-kind, with its own unique characteristics and charms. When crafting these red-carpet pieces, brands are creating something that often doesn’t exist anywhere else. They often have large, high-quality stones, which increase exponentially in value, or they can have multi-gem looks where each element complements the other in the perfect manner.
To get red carpet ready, it’s time to explore the world of Jedora.
EXCLUSIVE: Charles Jourdan Makes Comeback With New Artistic Director
The historic French shoe brand has tapped fashion designer Christelle Kocher in a bid to appeal to Millennial and Gen Z consumers.
PARIS — Historic French shoemaker Charles Jourdan is making a comeback, tapping fashion designer Christelle Kocher as artistic director in a bid to appeal to a new generation of Millennial and Gen Z consumers.
Licensed footwear specialist Groupe Royer, which bought the brand in 2009, has made several attempts to relaunch it, most recently in 2017 with the opening of a store on Place de la Madeleine in Paris.
But Jourdan has been dormant for the last two years, giving Kocher a blank slate to introduce her colorful, architectural styles in unusual materials. The designer, who is creative director of the Koché ready-to-wear label and of the Chanel-owned feather and flower-maker Lemarié, said she could not resist the opportunity to revive the 101-year-old house.
“It’s wonderful to wake up a sleeping beauty with an incredible history, heritage and legitimacy, and to bring it back in a modern, contemporary and creative way,” Kocher told WWD in an exclusive interview. “For someone like me who loves fashion and the history of fashion, it was obviously an incredible opportunity.”
To mark her new gig, she has designed a separate capsule collection to be unveiled during Koché’s runway show on March 1 as part of Paris Fashion Week.
Known for its Louis XV heel and its historic collaboration with Christian Dior, Jourdan enjoyed its heyday in the ‘70s and ’80s, immortalized by colorful advertising campaigns by French photographer Guy Bourdin. That period coincided with the launch of its accessories business, which remains popular on the vintage market.
In the 2000s, the brand tapped Patrick Cox and later Josephus Thimister as creative directors.
Kocher has revived a graphic logo from the ‘70s, which appears on everything from heels to buckles, as well as the packaging of the shoes. She paired materials like orange bouclé wool, a painterly multicolored jacquard, and lilac satin embossed to look like ostrich leather, with metallic heels inspired by the likes of minimalist artist Donald Judd and architect Eileen Gray.
“It was a real technical feat making all these heels. They’re like little sculptures. I wanted them to look good on the foot, but also to be beautiful as objects,” she explained, adding that most of the heels hover around a wearable 1.5 inches.
Though Jourdan’s historic factory in the former shoemaking hub of Romans-sur-Isère has been shuttered, Kocher drew on the brand’s rich archives, including a curved mid-heel named Christelle which she used on a sock bootie. The shoes were manufactured in Italy.
Having closed its existing store last year, Jourdan plans to open a more suitable location in Paris within the next few months. Kocher’s debut fall collection is due to land in stores in June, backed by a campaign shot by Camille Vivier, and the brand is hosting buying appointments during Paris Fashion Week.
Retail prices range from 470 euros for a pair of Guy Guy flat slippers with a silver logo buckle, named after Bourdin, to 750 euros for the Filicudi multistrap heeled sandals. A leather goods line is also in the works.
“For people who work in the sector, Charles Jourdan is a major reference,” Kocher said.
“There’s a history and a real legitimacy, but I didn’t want to focus on the past, but rather to project it into the future. There’s a certain classicism and timelessness in the lines, but at the same time, a boldness and impertinence in the choice of materials and colors. I wanted the brand to be bright, optimistic and geared toward new customers,” she added.
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EXCLUSIVE: Dries Van Noten Dives Into Fragrance, Beauty
The designer is launching his first perfume and lipstick collection starting March 2.
PARIS — Dries Van Noten approached fragrance and lipstick just like he sets about creating his fashion, garden or home decor: with a clash of concepts and a riot of colors, prints and textures.
When joining the Puig group in 2018, the designer knew right away he wanted to dive into the world of perfume and beauty.
“We started quite immediately exchanging ideas and working on concepts,” he said. “I don’t go for the easy way. As I make garments for a lot of different types of people, it would be strange to do a dictate of perfume, that you say: ‘This is the only smell.’ I wanted really to have quite a range.”
On March 2, the initial results will launch, as the designer unveils his debut beauty effort: a collection of 10 fragrances, 30 lipsticks, plus accessories.
He has been sensitive to scent since childhood.
“When I was in the kitchen, I put my nose in all the pots and in the oven to smell what was there,” said Van Noten. “I remember very clearly my mother using Shalimar. The moment I was growing up, I immediately started to experiment with smells and perfumes.”
He loves the whole universe of scent — especially its gesture, tradition, packaging and mystery.
Traditional simple, transparent bottles, with the name of the perfume simply slapped on a label, wouldn’t do, either.
“The bottles really have to reflect everything which I’m standing for, the way I think in a creative way, clashing and combining things,” said Van Noten. Ditto for the perfumes themselves.
Makeup also syncs well with Van Noten’s love of color play. He has had years of experience choosing cosmetics looks for his fashion brand’s hundred-plus shows and photo shoots.
“When you see all those possibilities you have to create things and to change the look of a woman or a man by just making the eyes a little bit more mysterious, a little bit darker to make the mouth more visible,” said Van Noten.
Ana Trias Arraut, chief brands officer of Carolina Herrera, Dries Van Noten and Nina Ricci, fashion and beauty, at Puig, said they wanted to take the time “to bring something into the market that would be really relevant and not seen [before]. It was interesting to see from Puig’s side Dries pushing it without knowing the industry standards. He didn’t categorize the market like we did. He saw it as a whole world altogether. It created a very nice dialogue.”
The focus on gestures translated into creams and soaps being part of the line from the outset.
Van Noten eschewed convention altogether. He invited perfumers to his gardens and home near Antwerp, Belgium. There, they could smell Osmanthus as flowers on a tree, not just as an essence in a vial.
“That was really nice,” said Van Noten.
At home, he layers interiors with flea market finds and valuable objects.
“I don’t look to the traditional order of things. High art, low art — I just look at everything the same way. For me, something perfectly beautiful is boring. I always want that something is more surprising. I want to have a clash…in the same way that I combine my fabrics. The moment everything is fitting together too well, I start to get nervous, and I want to disturb it.”
That gives people a different vantage point, too, he explained.
Van Noten finds gardening both relaxing and a challenge, due to the color selection.
“I take risks also in the garden,” he said, adding it’s a place for dog-walking, as well. “Going to see the smallest flower, which is maybe flowering in the middle of winter, like witch hazel — you appreciate a tiny flower, and you’re really happy.
“Of course in spring, in the month of May, it’s rhododendrons, it’s azaleas — with all the smells which come with [them],” Van Noten continued. “It’s an orgy of flowers and colors. As a human being, you learn a lot from working in or having a garden, walking in nature.”
He has another garden, of roses — a favorite flower. “Again, we put strange contrasts,” said Van Noten. “Sometimes the most beautiful rose I clashed with a very bright neon rose. I did combinations which are not really following the rules. This reflects then, also, in the perfumes.”
There are two rose-based fragrances in the collection, but they’re mixed with diverse olfactive notes to differing effects.
Perfumers chosen to work on the fragrances were not risk-averse, and came from various houses, including IFF, Givaudan and Firmenich. Van Noten found their creations both fascinating and surprising.
For Raving Rose, Louise Turner set out to mix an “ultra-modern and spicy” scent. Nicolas Bonneville fashioned the Cannabis Patchouli perfume, while Nicolas Beaulieu conceived Voodoo Chile, with notes of rosemary and patchouli.
Each scent contains at least 85 percent natural ingredients.
“Dries [induced perfumers] to have these impossible combinations,” said Trias Arraut. “He pushed them to create the same way he is creating, to innovate.”
“It was not easy to select which 10 we are going to use now,” said Van Noten.
After fragrance conception? “You really had to dress every perfume,” the designer said.
So he thought of what person would wear the perfume and what bottle he or she would like.
Fleur du Mal, by Quentin Bisch, which features an Osmanthus note, comes in a tortoiseshell-inspired base holding a violet glass bottle. Marie Salamagne’s Soie Malaquais, with chestnut and vanilla notes, comes in dark burgundy glass combined with a porcelain piece inspired by Delft blue.
The apothecary-like bottles are made of responsibly sourced, recyclable materials, including glass treated five different ways — from opaque to having gradient colors, aluminium and wood.
“We tried to do bottles that really spoke for the juices they had inside,” said Trias Arraut.
Each silver-colored bottle cap has Dries Van Noten engraved on it.
For the perfumes’ monikers, the working names coined by the perfumers often stuck. Fragrances fashioned the appellations, in other words.
Van Noten will launch 30 lipsticks, of which 15 have satin, 10 have matte and five have sheer finishes. There’s also a lip balm. The bulk of each can be added to any of four available outer cases, which are as joyously decorated with colors and prints as the fragrances.
Sustainability was a must from the outset for Van Noten’s beauty collection. The perfume bottles are refillable and reusable. Pouches are made of unused fabric from the fashion brand. And there’s no plastic foil surrounding the outer boxes made of paper pulp.
“I love also the connotation because normally, you buy eggs in the supermarket in paper pulp, and now you buy a precious bottle of perfume that is also quite fragile with incredible content,” said Van Noten. “All those things I really enjoyed.”
“Ethics and authenticity are at the heart of everything Dries does,” added Trias Arraut.
The new fragrance and makeup line are due out starting March 2 in Dries Van Noten boutiques and on the brand’s website. Other select retailers will begin selling the collection at the end of April or early May.
A 100-ml. eau de parfum will retail for either 220 euros or 240 euros, while a lipstick is 35 euros. The collection includes, as well, two eaux de cologne, soap, cream, combs and drawstring pouches.
Sustainable Cotton Fiber: ZXY’s Global Sourcing Solution
Gradually converting traditional farming routes toward fully organic.
It is admirable that the apparel industry is gradually increasing its level of investment toward sustainable fibers such as organic cotton. Not only is organic cotton more beneficial for the end wearer (i.e. better for “next to skin” contact), but it’s healthier for our planet’s soil, water and air — present and future. There’s only one problem: There’s not enough organic cotton to go around.
As if aligning supply and demand in the apparel industry wasn’t challenging enough, the growing interest in organic cotton textiles has made procuring organic cotton increasingly challenging and competitive.
“Cotton is the most widely used fiber in the world, and only the smallest fraction (less than 1 percent of world cotton production, according to World Textile Exchange) is grown fully organic,” said Mou Nath, CMO and sustainability strategist at ZXY International. “Demand for organic cotton has increased dramatically in recent years to the point that, without a plan to convert more conventional acreage to organic acreage, brands may not be able to secure a future supply.”
There are two solutions to increasing virgin organic cotton supply: one, encouraging new farmers to grow using organic practices from the outset, and two, encouraging existing conventional cotton farmers to switch to organic farming methods. To transform how their cotton is sourced, ZXY along with its partner brands has developed a model to gradually convert traditional farming of cotton routes over the next three to five years, aiming to be fully organic by 2025.
“Committing to the farmers and encouraging them to work with organic farming practices reduces the production cost and benefits their future crop, increases soil fertility and enhances biodiversity,” said Srinath Reddy, ZXY’s global head of sustainable sourcing. To provide confidence and transparency, ZXY is also working on 100 percent traceability from its farmers, ginners and spinners to measure its organic sourcing solutions and reduce their dependency on conventional methods.
The above initiative is in motion: ZXY has started working with farmer’s association groups in India for their cotton supply route for their Bangladesh, India, Egypt and Turkey production hubs.
In-conversion organic cotton, also known as transition cotton, is any output coming from farms during the first three years of an organic certificate. Any land must be free of GMO seeds, synthetic pesticides, and fertilizer for three years to cultivate organic cotton. At year four, the cotton can be certified organic. This solidifies the supply base to procure three years’ worth of cotton, which can be marketed as “in-conversion organic cotton” by certification standards and endorsed through the supply chain.
And while this process benefits ZXY’s partner brands and retailers by securing the longevity of product and supply, it also benefits the farmers who can better control the selling prices of this long-term investment. This also helps level things out, circumventing dips and fluctuations in cotton prices and availability.
Working with an apparel partner like ZXY helps mitigate the risks. “The reason why many farmers don’t do this on their own is that conventional cotton crops have a faster turnaround,” said Nath. “It’s also quite extensive and expensive for them to do the conversion — certification cost without any advance commitment themselves if they don’t have the supply guaranteed at the end — so we’re kind of ring-fencing and helping them with that supply.”
Balancing with recycled cotton
The third method for procuring cotton to meet supply demands that ZXY encourages is for brands to divert a portion of the virgin business to recycled cotton.
“Alongside our organic targets, we are conscious that there is only a limited volume of virgin cotton available in the world at any one time,” said Nath. To that end, ZXY has begun simultaneously working on a recycled sourcing model. Its Innovation Team is working with existing post-industrial (pre-consumer) cotton waste to continually innovate on new bases that are durable and commercially viable.
Looking at its entire cotton supply from its affiliate farms, ZXY has divided what it can provide to clients into three areas: 100 percent Organic cotton, Transitional (In-conversion) organic cotton and Recycled cotton (mechanically recycled).
“We cannot expect to meet our organic sustainability goals if we all don’t invest at the beginning of the supply chain,” Nath said.
ZXY International, a member of Textile Exchange, is a global apparel partner to leading international brands and retailers. They have over 40 years of apparel and textile sourcing experience, giving them the expertise, knowledge and latest technology developments that positively impact their customers, people, and environment. Their operations are based in Bangladesh, Turkey, India, Pakistan and Egypt.
“Over the years, we have developed our business toward a sustainable and environmentally friendly model. We are now seeing the fruits of this labor, with our clients and partners trusting us to deliver ethical and commercially viable solutions for their brands and businesses,” said Abby Jamal, managing director, ZXY International.
Click here to learn more about sustainable apparel and how ZXY can help your brand convert to preferred fibers.
If a lot of the fashions being shown this week in Milan seemed a little too much, Bottega Veneta stood out for quiet, but ultimately captivating chic, hinged on handsome tailoring and sumptuous, eye-catching accessories.
Making his debut as creative director of the brand — he was promoted from ready-to-design director following the ouster of Daniel Lee — Matthieu Blazy did not make the hard U-turn some expected.
There were still runway fireworks — a pair of fiery orange furry platforms, and dramatic leather circle skirts with crinolines of stiff fringe swishing beneath the hems. Yet most of the clothes registered as conservative and timeless, with subtle but interesting design features, like the sensational navy peacoat with its boomerang sleeves and rounded back, or the cropped pants with the hems sloped forward to exalt the towering platform pumps and to convey Blazy’s idea of craft in motion.
“A silhouette that really expresses the idea of motion, because Bottega is in essence a bag company. So you are going somewhere, you’re not staying home,” he explained backstage.
He also cited a wish to “give a place back to the idea of tailoring, especially in Italy.…I think it’s a nice alternative to loungewear.”
Blazy opened his display with a palate-cleansing outfit — a white tank top and jeans — that seemed more in tune with his previous job at Calvin Klein, where he worked as a design director under Raf Simons, who was among the guests seated on cubes of crushed metal topped with black leather cushions.
The press notes clarified that that the pants were not denim, but “a printed, supple nubuck, startlingly realized.” Blazy repeated the visual trick with striped men’s business shirts worn as short dresses over thigh boots. These too were made of printed nubuck, which in retrospect explains their sturdy appearance and underscored the designer’s vision of luxury as the “private pleasure of ‘quiet power,’ something felt, rather than seen.”
The designer works in a minimalist vein with usually a single visual flourish: short tank dresses came gently padded at the top, or sprouted stiff sprigs of leather fringe at the collarbone, while longer styles had ballooning skirts that were deflated on one side via a side slit.
The men’s collection was more firmly rooted in the classics and focused on outerwear: double-breasted topcoats generously proportioned and leather trenchcoats boasting demonstrative closures. The house’s signature woven leather — intrecciato — was worked into boxy clutch bags, unorthodox and hardly leak-proof hip waders, and his or hers double bucket bags slung over the shoulder like Jack and Jill might carry pails of water.
Backstage after the show, Kering honcho François-Henri Pinault put his arm around Blazy’s shoulder, and celebrities including Julianne Moore, Neneh Cherry and Tracee Ellis Ross lined up to embrace him.
Here is a designer who is unapologetic about addressing a more mature customer.
“You know, it’s very important to think about who wears what, and who has the money to afford it,” he told reporters in a scrum, leaning forward to speak into the bouquet of iPhones thrust at him. “I like the idea of being able to dress my parents, and that if they come to Bottega, they can find a coat. I’m really against this idea of just youth.” — Miles Socha
Giorgio Armani paraded his signature fall collection without music in light of the unfolding tragedy in Ukraine, a voiceover explained before the lights went up at the designer’s intimate, subterranean runway theater on Via Borgonuova.
The designer, one of the first to scuttle in-person shows amid waves of the coronavirus pandemic, certainly knows how to read the room.
The silence somehow accentuated the plushness and delicacy of his clothes, so many of them carved from velvet this season. Even the intricately beaded flapper dresses for evening, which lapped over slim pants glowing like a tin of caviar, made scarcely a tinkle.
In a Milan season rife with overcharged power dressing, Armani stuck to a soft sell, his men’s jackets snug and short with the attitude of a cardigan — when they weren’t replaced altogether by cardigans, or fleece shirt jackets with glossy utility pockets. Pegged trousers often came up short over the hefty footwear with lug or platform soles.
Women’s tailoring had that same languid ease, with small shoulders and waists, alternating between metallic brocades and light-absorbing velvets, or some combination of the two.
The designer cited his passion for Art Deco in the show notes, and this was felt in all the gleaming black and silvery surfaces, the geometric brocades and the Jazz Age vibe of a shaggy faux-fur coat in black and white, or the shades of blue arching on a long puffer coat, also done up in velvet.
Soft and sparkly pants, occasionally tucked into high sparkly boots, seemed to be Armani’s big statement for fall, even worn under spangled dresses.
But for stars likely to appear in front
of a podium this awards season, there were a few winners with above-the waist appeal thanks to intricately beaded spaghetti tops.
While at times overly busy — the ubiquitous velvet even appearing as vests tightly wrapped under business suits — the collection felt in tune with these perilous times with its restrained attitude rooted in soft power.
“There is no skirt that is comparable to the modernity of pants,” Armani told a post-show press conference. — Miles Socha
With the power-dressing craze gripping Milan, the Jil Sander show offered a soothing reprieve.
In a venue reminiscent of an artist’s atelier, with plush curtains and replicas of ancient Greek statues scattered at the center, Lucie and Luke Meier explored a gentler kind of dressing based on their unique interpretation of tailoring and femininity. It was beautiful.
The Meiers chiseled couture-like silhouettes in double-breasted jackets and coats in wool and boucle fabrics. Instead of going for the big shoulders, they opted for a more obliging hourglass-y shape, which felt fresh, particularly as blazers with short skirts peeking out from underneath.
With the same sculptural approach, they etched sophisticated, curved volumes into the bell-like sleeves of coats, in charming short capes with button details on the shoulders, and in satin padded jackets cinched at the waist. Even quilted outerwear was elevated with a poetic touch by the designers’ expert hands, reworking it with balloon sleeves and printing it with hand-drawings of zodiac signs, reprising a flourish from their men’s collection paraded in Paris last month.
More feminine than usual, the lineup included short dresses with bows — stripped of their girly appeal thanks to the purity of their lines — and fluid frocks, either graciously draped or cut in elongated silhouettes with deep necklines. Contrasting surfaces, swinging from guipure lace to crafty and furry knits, added to the artisanal feel.
What stood out was the duo’s ability to inject dynamism in all these elements, as textures looked substantial but moved lightly. They covered bodies with softness and ultimately conveyed an effortless allure.
“It’s all about the elegance,” Lucie Meier said backstage. But it’s also about revealing how much strength there can be in delicacy. There’s no need to scream confidence to show it. — Sandra Salibian
The return of power dressing has been a big story this Milan Fashion Week, and Donatella Versace spiked hers with a fierce sexiness plus a dash of kink.
Her vast runway set, all glossy red like a fresh coat of nail polish or a new Ferrari, was a slick companion to the latex leggings that underpinned nearly half the exits. They were skinny counterpoints to the oversize, strong-shouldered tailoring that occasionally brought to mind recent Balenciaga, including the opening look, the model a near ringer for Kim Kardashian West and all almost entirely encased in black. (T-shirts declaring “I (heart) You But I’ve Chosen Versace” were also reminiscent of Demna Gvasalia’s wry slogans, especially during his Vetements days.)
The corseted waists, however, were pure Versace, incorporated into clingy jersey dresses and sculptural puffer jackets, or worn as bare little tops under cropped parkas, and those boxy blazers.
Micro miniskirts with chain belts added to the ‘90s mood, and got as much airtime as long, clingy jersey tube skirts or dresses, with full, low-slung pants a third option.
Heavily winged black eye makeup hardened the soft features of Gigi Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski and heightened the goth glamour of shaggy tweed suits and dresses in houndstooth patterns, bomber jackets in poufed, couture-like shapes and the sky-high, pointy-toed pumps with their double-layer platforms.
Coed fashion shows seem to be waning, with Gucci parading mostly menswear earlier in the day, and Versace focused solely on womenswear, the backbone of the Milanese house.
For the finale, scrims running the length of the runway rose slowly to reveal all the models in groups of five and striking poses reminiscent of that famous Peter Lindbergh shoot depicting the supermodels of yore as a girl gang. Power dressing, indeed. — Miles Socha
Ferrari went all out to stage its first show in Milan, setting up what could arguably be one of the longest catwalks ever inside a huge pavilion at Fiera Milano City, where the red and yellow lighting effects were conceived to recreate the luxury brand’s storied assembly line in Maranello. It was impressive, as was the collection.
Chairman John Elkann’s aim is to place Ferrari’s apparel in the uber-luxury range to reflect the brand’s own positioning, staying away from clever merchandising and logoed caps. With his second collection for the brand, Rocco Iannone succeeded in achieving this goal, presenting sophisticated couture-like cuts and tailoring techniques blended with technological innovations, which may have been less visible from afar but certainly make a difference for a Ferrari customer. Case in point: a white cashmere coat with contoured shoulders defined by meticulous stitching and flat-felled seams. The logo was not entirely absent from the coed lineup and popped up on a black hoodie, for example, but it was generally cleverly disguised in the lettering on a leather puffer jacket, or a series of yellow loop sweaters and little black dresses.
Not surprisingly, speed was the starting point for Iannone, as was the Futuristic movement, embodied by a camouflage print obtained by breaking down the silhouette of Ferrari’s signature prancing horse, its parts enlarged and colored in bright red, blue and black combinations.
Other graphic prints derived from thermal scanner grids, while an abstract motif was created from a hologram of the logo and an enlarged photo of technical filaments. A jacquard jacket made of fibers derived from recycled plastic bottles and woven with “glow in the dark” yarns was eye-catching.
Pencil shape skirts came with adjustable metal zippered slits or flared out at the hem. Zip details added edge to coats in leather or shearling. Cargo trousers were coated with black crystals while suits and jackets in carbon fiber, as well as iridescent looking tailored suits in metallic fabrics, added glitter to the runway.
“There is cross-pollination in tailoring, which is no longer the classic tailoring of yore. Traditional labeling is over,” said Iannone, who showed jackets worn over drill cotton cargo jogger pants.
Elkann said before the show that Sunday would be cause for a double celebration, since it was also Iannone’s birthday. To be sure, the show was a good way to mark the day. — Luisa Zargani
Salvatore Ferragamo design director Guillaume Meilland is determined to take the brand in a more modern, casual-luxe, gender-fluid direction. At the fall 2022 presentation, there wasn’t a bow in sight.
To be expected, accessories were front and center, but they were trend-right, rugged, lug sole hiker and combat boots, as well as a new running shoe with rainbow soles referencing Ferragamo’s iconic 1938 shoes.
The brand debuted a utilitarian soft, foldover bucket bag with studded base, and a half-moon bag with a chunky leather chain that was a motif throughout, and a little too reminiscent of Jonathan Anderson.
The 36 coed looks also played off the brand’s leather goods heritage in fun ways, with 1960s-inspired leather button-front minis and a gorgeous green leather A-line coat borrowing hardware from Ferragamo bags.
Meilland mixed in plenty of texture with a feathery looking black sleeveless top of shaved, lacerated shearling, worn over blue duchesse silk trousers, for example, as well as on cable knit knit sweaters and long john pants.
But there was a practical lightness to a flirty red, weightless knit ruffled keyhole tank, a draped knit tunic that looked great over pants, and a poncho made from two wool cashmere scarves.
Meilland referenced workwear in Dickies-like chinos made from cotton silk, and a pair of wool overalls.
“The idea is if you know your heritage, you can take it further,” he said. “But everything is informed by function and I think that’s right for a brand like Ferragamo.”
The brand has had many iterations and the current one is still being written under new chief executive editor Marco Gobbetti. But this season, Meilland did a good job of bringing Ferragamo into the fashion conversation without being overly referential of the brand’s past.
— Booth Moore
“No rules — we’ve had enough rules for too long. Freedom!” said Dan Caten after the Dsquared2 show, summarizing the mood of the fall collection.
In sync with the male offering unveiled last month, the women’s lineup embraced a traveling theme that hinged on layering and a marriage of vibrant patterns and rich textures. But it turns out the Dsquared2 woman travels more lightly than her fellow mate.
The Catens breathed a sense of ease in the eclectic looks, which somehow appeared more linear and simplified compared to recent efforts. Is this the twins’ first step into an uncharted land?
“It’s a new energy — it’s young, it’s modern,” said Dean Caten, defining the muse of the season as a bohemian traveler.
The new vibe was set with a cool show opener that had a fluid skirt mixing prints and tulle worn over baggy denim pants and paired with a striped knit. Layered yes, but also easy-breezy.
As the lineup progressed, the designers splashed graphic patterns on silk dresses and embroidered mini pompoms on tulle frocks; mixed denim separates with tartan kilts in different lengths and hues; cut velvet pants in loose shapes and elongated the silhouettes of colorful cardigans, and knit dresses to convey a laid-back attitude. Great shearling aviator jackets, puffers in different proportions and blankets in checkered motifs offered a sense of protection without weighing down the nonchalant designs.
The color palette of earthy tones and pastel-hued accents contributed to the relaxed appeal of the collection, which refreshingly traded Dsquared2’s usual boldness for harmony, still irradiating a positive and youthful energy.
— Sandra Salibian
Massimo Giorgetti reached for the stars with his fall collection, using a new, darker palette and emphasizing Italian embroidery and craft, in a break from his visually bold, pop color and print collections of the past.
“In January, NASA discovered a new star, and I was completely obsessed,” the designer said backstage. “It was a coincidence because I wanted to do an intimate show in our new [headquarters], and I already had this theme. And when this star was discovered, I went crazy.”
Standing in front of his mood board, which included gorgeous photographs of the new stellar discovery, he spoke of his obsession with the 2011 sci-film “Melancholia,” with astrology and with Bjork, who was on the soundtrack and influenced the brand’s new logo, inspired by one of her album covers.
All of it made its way into the “Astrophilia” collection, in which Giorgetti left his streetwear past in a land far, far away, showing instead special, dressed-up pieces, each one sprinkled with star dust.
He scattered stars like confetti on the shoulders of oversize blazers and overcoats, adding a touch of glamour to the season’s power tailoring trend and layered an oversize star-patterned cardigan over a chic star cutout ribbon fringed skirt for a cozy touch.
Glitter coating on cargo pants, jeans and draped jersey tops upgraded the everyday. And while Giorgetti’s silver star sequin bodysuit, jingling pink star dress and cosmos-printed slipdress may not take you to space, they will definitely take you to a party.
“I wanted to do something a little elevated,” he said. “And if I’m being honest, I also wanted to do something a little less young.” — B.M.
It takes a lot of hubris to keep guests on their feet in the dark — literally — for 45 minutes waiting for a show to start.
Not to mention then staging a slow-moving runway procession, and when it got to be too much for some, not letting them exit. As in guards physically preventing them from leaving.
That was Marni, and it was a s–t show. Which is too bad, because what Francesco Risso had to say was quite interesting.
To stage his latest experiment in creative community and upcycling, he chose a cavernous, overgrown green space with a central rock formation (I swear I saw, or at least imagined, a snake). Everyone packed in around it, and some dude thought it would be the perfect moment to light a joint.
When the show did start, models pushed their way through holes in the crowd in their journey up over the rock, each with a guide to help light the way.
A metaphor for the human experience? Possibly. As the Ram Daas saying goes, “We’re all just walking each other home.”
The clothes were tattered and worn, with jeans and plaid trousers slashed all the way down the legs, a blush satin slip ripped into strips, and tailoring deliberately mended with sparkling threads.
The spiky rubber clogs and boots could be the next must-have fugly footwear. DIY knit balaclavas, upcycled biker jacket bonnets and twisted wire crown headpieces abounded. Hand-knit striped scarves dangled from cuffs and dragged on the ground.
It was like a school play in the best — and worst — way.
Afterward, the models made their way outside to a blue sand courtyard set for a bohemian banquet with cakes, grapes and Champagne. One woman jumped up on the table and started posing in her creamy slipdress pinned at the sides, her rubber cowboy boot crushing an aluminum ashtray.
Risso has developed an enviable community of collaborators, or “interpreters,” as he called them. And it turns out they codesigned the collection, bringing meaningful pieces from their own wardrobes to wear with the Marni pieces. Risso himself wore a tailcoat that belonged to his grandfather, along with a hand-knit scarf and horned crown.
“I love this mutual sharing of these objects, it creates this fragile armor. Things that are there in our wardrobe that we wear with such pride because they become the meaning of who we are. Sometimes we forget about them, but I get fascinated about how each person brought with them stories,” he said, keying into the season’s theme of DIY self-expression. “There’s a lot of mending, and bringing emotions and a sense of time to pieces. It’s the opposite of making something cold and dry and detached, it unities us in how we make it together.”
The virtues of co-creation, treasuring what you have instead of always running to the new and being yourself in your clothes could be the path to fashion enlightenment. If only it didn’t take so long to get there. — B.M.
A few hours before Trussardi debuted its first collection by GmbH design duo Serhat Işık and Benjamin A. Huseby, swashbuckling thigh boots were being ferried to the roof for spray-painting.
Squint a little at the run-of-show pinned to a board two flights down and you might think you are looking at avatars from some dystopian video game melding the medieval and the futuristic.
Suffice it to say, it’s a new day at the historic Milanese brand, founded 111 years ago, and now bristling with the underground energy and edgy tailoring that Berlin-based Işık and Huseby bring to the table.
Like the late founder Nicola Trussardi, who staged fashion shows in the Piazza Duomo and was always closely connected to Milan, the two designers said they closely studied what is being worn on the city’s streets today. The ubiquitous lightweight puffer jackets and skinny jeans revulsed them, and so they challenged themselves to create versions to their liking: the former transformed into a puckered blouson or a swallowtail coat; the latter erupting into flares, sprouting utility pockets and a waistband reminiscent of a castle’s battlement. Both seemed a little forced, but their proposed narrative for the brand — an interplay between fantasy and reality, history and the present — has promise.
The superhero shoulders echoed the power dressing gathering steam this season, as models whisked through the under-construction Trussardi boutique. Here was another show testing one’s physical endurance, the bone-shuddering music played loud enough to ripple the silvery panels lining the runway. One guest spotted ceiling plaster loosened by the sub bass; several plugged their ears.
The designers acknowledged the protective allure of their gloomy, mostly black Trussardi clothes, from the hoods worn by men and women — also a commentary on hijab prohibitions — to the imposing caftans that closed the show, trains dragging behind the models.
Wraparound mirrored sunglasses with the brand’s new ouroboros logo at the temples were undeniably cool. — Miles Socha
Backstage at the Palm Angels show, Francesco Ragazzi described the grand spectacle he mounted on the outskirts of Milan — filled with billboard images of the latest campaign shot by David Sims, palm trees suspended from a mirrored ceiling and Rod Stewart among the guests — as a “statement on who we are today, it’s about connecting the dots,” of our identity.
The designer has been enamored with youth subcultures all his life, and part of them rather than observing from the sidelines. One could tell it looking at the diverse and cool audience, everyone looked authentic in their skater-chic outfits.
For the fall coed show, the first in two years and the first during Milan’s women’s season, he sampled characters. “I feel like I’m doing a movie. There are characters I need to identify and I’m dressing them,” he said.
The cinematic production unfurled down a fictitious Sunset Boulevard in the after-hours, where Ragazzi’s cool strollers were clearly up for a thrift-shop hunt.
They wore bouclé tweed blazers; leopard-patterned velour track pants with sunset-colored sequined bombers; ‘70s tuxedo blazers dotted in crystals with ripped jeans; chunky knits bearing variations on the stars and stripes flag, and palm-printed pajama sets trimmed in fleece.
The eclectic mix — spring from disparate references from Kurt Cobain to Jamiroquai — was all in the name of individuality. When models crowded the industrial space for the finale, Ragazzi’s knack for conjuring an authentic vibe was on full display.
— Martino Carrera
The whoosh of white noise in outer space. A giant glowing orange sphere. A white sand landscape with a rolling robot camera bolting around at high speed. That was Ambush designer Yoon Ahn’s otherworldly vision brought to life on the runway for the first time.
Like something out of the film “Dune,” it was exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. And soon you’ll be able to see it in the metaverse.
For all the buzz in fashion about NFTs and the metaverse, very little in the way of tech, even tech talk, has made it to Milan Fashion Week.
An exception was New Guards-backed Ambush, started by Ahn and hip-hop singer Verbal as a jewelry collection in 2008, which in 2016 expanded to ready-to-wear.
The precocious robot was filming the spectacle for Ambush Silver Fctry, the Ambush metaverse launching in March. Unlike other fashion projects in the space, the new world will exist on the web on its own, rather than as part of Decentraland, for example. (Info was available through a QR code at the show venue door.)
On the runway at least, the new world leader was Bella Hadid, strutting the planet surface with slicked back hair, wearing a black maxi coat nipped at the waist, a barely there mini and buckled thigh-high fetish boots.
“I want to present who these characters are,” Ahn said.
To clothe them, the designer homed in on elongated silhouettes, statement tailoring with near military precious and tactile outerwear with attitude. An oversize blazer with black leather bodice, and cargo jacket with leather collar, were particularly gorgeous, sharp but shaped at the waist for sex appeal.
In a season of so many shearlings, Ahn’s cropped flight jacket, shaped at the waist and with sweetheart collar, was a knockout. Cutout and twisted black jersey dresses and gowns had real sophistication, and the swinging wood beaded fringe on some added a handmade, artisanal quality to the future aesthetic.
In addition to twisted silver earrings, cuffs and collars, Ahn pushed her jewelry technique into clothing, on a chic silver chain mail tank dress, and into accessories; see the “A” chains adorning heart shaped bags.
Men’s padded leather vests, second-skin tops and moto pants completed Ahn’s 360-degree view. She’s building a compelling, future-thinking brand narrative; now it would seem, the sky’s the limit. — Booth Moore
The venue may have been more sleek and contained than in previous shows — an all-black box and no humongous sculptures, merry-go-round swings or a sea aquarium — but Philipp Plein still succeeded in creating quite the stage.
Plein presented his fall collection at the historic Palazzo Melzi d’Eril building that formerly housed Krizia’s headquarters and that will be the home of his first hotel, restaurant and club. He had images of glowing flames projected behind the slim mirrored runway, with his logo burning brightly. Models walked to thundering music and the fire motif was also reproduced on roomy sweaters for men. A lightning symbol embellished the lapels of a jacket worn over patent leather pants.
Plein’s diehard fans were not disappointed — one guest stood up for most of the show filming the models dancing and was finally grabbed and arm-wrestled to her seat. The designer offered his run-of-the-mill va-va-voom and heavily logoed looks, which this season included cardigans with jewel buttons worn as minidresses over thigh-high Latex boots and slipdresses with strategically placed cutouts. His signature bling was still there, with bedazzled sequined body-hugging short dresses and a gold knit dress. Plein’s women are unapologetically sexy, cue a white double-breasted jacket exposing the bare back.
The outerwear was strong for both men and women, with beautiful shearling and leather biker jackets — one in, ahem, flaming red was a standout.
Plein mixed sartorial men’s looks with a casual streak, such as a well-cut velvet tuxedo jacket over jogging pants, python biker jackets over distressed denim jeans or a tailored coat over a tracksuit.
He introduced an allover print featuring a range of wild animals, from giraffes to lions and hippos, with studded motifs that looked a bit fussy, but there were also a series of fun varsity jackets and cardigans adorned with imaginary basketball team logos and insignia, from Skulls to Bears and Scorpions.
Ahead of the show, Plein spoke enthusiastically of soon becoming a father. He meant it — he took his bow and then asked his partner to join him on the runway, kneeling down and softly kissing her belly. — Luisa Zargani
Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini
Here comes a sexier Philosophy. In an imaginary lush cabaret, its dense atmosphere marked by dim lights and languid live music, Lorenzo Serafini presented his noir take on seductiveness, decisively stepping toward a more daring territory.
In a season that has seen many brands exploring a darker side of their muses, turning girly attitudes into fiercer and more mature body-awareness, the brand added a layer of self-affirmation to the sensual narrative, opening the cast to different genders and body types.
Take the host of the night: French artist Luc Bruyère, aka Lucky Love, effortlessly sporting a look from the women’s label while performing an acoustic version of the 1968 Italian hit “La Bambola.” While in the original song Patty Pravo lamented the torments of being treated like a doll in the hands of her lover, Serafini overturned such a perspective with an empowering collection.
He first worked with proportions, designing strong shoulders either in rounded shapes — as seen on padded vinyl jackets and coats covered in a chain motif — or in pointy silhouettes, as introduced in second-skin dresses and marinière knits. Pointy bras peeping under soft cardigans added to the silhouettes and the overall retro flair, which swung between the ’20s and ‘40s.
Backstage, Serafini said he was inspired by Berlin cabarets during the Weimar Republic, with the seasonal mood board behind him filled with sensual illustrations of German artist Jeanne Mammen.
Just like in Mammen’s artwork, masculine and feminine elements blended in the collection, ranging from tuxedo blazers and pinstripe sartorial pants to transparent lace in long dresses and lingerie pieces. In his juxtaposition of textures, the designer also included billowy frocks with plunging slits and necklines, multicolored mohair knits and cool faux fur jackets in pink and baby blue statement hues.
Crystal fringe on cardigans and barely there crystal net dresses swinging at every stride catapulted the lineup into an extra glam zone, but even these sparkly elements couldn’t dent the intimate feeling Serafini poured into the collection.
— Sandra Salibian
Clothing with a positive message. That’s what Nigerian British designer, and 2022 LVMH Prize finalist Tokyo James is out to do. It’s refreshing.
“As a brand, I’m really interested in humanity,” he said backstage ahead of his first physical runway show in Milan, supported by the Camera della Moda. “We celebrate too many of our differences which is not important. We need to look at what brings us together.”
A former stylist and editor, James launched his line in 2015, challenging stereotypes associated with African fashion through edgy tailoring with a London rebel spirit, which has made fans of music stars Burna Boy, Naira Marley and Ghetts, who recently wore a custom Tokyo James suit to the Brit Awards.
This collection was about resilience, the designer said, and the strength within all of us to weather the ups and downs. As a totem, he chose a frog. Yes, a frog.
“A frog symbolizes commonality because there’s a frog everywhere,” he laughed, explaining how the bright green, orange and blue hues were based on frogs around the world.
Spikey hair and fabric covered glasses set a punk tone for the co-ed collection, where James’ tailoring shined the most, on suits rendered in fuzzy mohair; in chartreuse silk buttoned to the side; with whimsical frog embroideries; with stripes of silver zipper pulls down the front, or ruching at the waist and back creating a slight bustle effect. Leather and mohair patchwork jeans and jean jackets also looked great.
Like frogs, football is another commonality, and through a partnership with Nike, James put soccer pleats on all his models, and upcycled several materials, using shoe laces as trim on a black strapless ruffled dress, and Nike high-top uppers as patches on a collectible-looking leather jacket.
The womenswear POV was less developed. Rather than sexy cutout dresses and metallic knits, his flair for tailoring could be pushed further on the feminine side. A gray coat dress with embroidered frogs on the bust was a strong example. — Booth Moore
Lavinia Biagiotti decided to hold her fall show at Rome’s Centrale Montemartini, the city’s first power plant dating back to 1912, which was converted into a museum in 1997. The location is impressive, as industrial and classic archeology meet in a contrast of beautiful marble statues, precious mosaics and the original diesel motors or the huge steam boiler.
The designer, whose company is based in Guidonia, outside Rome, has been highlighting several landmark locations in the Italian capital, such as the museum of the Ara Pacis or the Piazza del Campidoglio on the Capitoline Hill, and after her spring show at the Maxxi museum, she was fascinated by the Centrale Montemartini because she felt it could represent “the energy of beauty.”
“Too often, the beauty of a statue, of a dress, of a painting or of nature are imagined as static, as something to admire — the dress in a window, the statue in a museum — but I like the idea of bringing beauty in our daily life, in movement. Maybe because our clothes were hanging in our wardrobes for two years,” she explained. “Statues of the muses stand in this museum and fashion is a modern muse that renders woman and beauty central.”
Biagiotti filmed the runway show, which was unveiled digitally on Sunday during Milan Fashion Week, as she emphasized the connection with the city. Her friend Anna Cleveland opened the show wearing a flared and belted dress under a furry cashmere coat in an all-white — a signature color for the house, and here in sync with the hue of the statues. The mosaics of the venue inspired the pattern of another satin dress or a miniskirt. Gold was also a strong color for Biagiotti, seen in a braided cashmere top and ankle-length skirt.
Responding to the daily needs, there were also a number of tailored pinstriped suits and houndstooth dust coats, but Biagiotti knows it can’t be all work and no play and offered doll-like flounced and ruched evening dresses in taffeta juxtaposed with body-hugging goddess dresses. The collection reflected the designer’s evolution as she further extended her reach. — Luisa Zargani
In a strong and sleek collection, Ports 1961 artistic director Karl Templer put a fresh spin on wardrobe classics.
“An idea of a new generation of self-expression” inspired his approach, sparking the youthful vibe that ran through the lineup.
For example, Templer reinvigorated sartorial tropes with corseted tailoring — checking the box of a big trend in Milan — pairing it with frilled skater skirts that swooshed over models’ chunky boots.
Playing with contrasting textures and balancing masculine and feminine elements, he gentled tailored looks with Victorian-inspired shirt collars, or alternated them with lovely short dresses with frills and diaphanous frocks in longer lengths. As a counterpoint, he introduced denim jackets with sliced sleeves and functional puffers, both punctuated by military passementerie.
As Templer let his creativity travel between cities, he mixed the collection’s irreverent British attitude with a touch of French flair. Cue the cool Breton striped sweaters and knit dresses that enhanced the lineup’s graphic quality.
“It is no longer localized, it is global so you can interpret it how you want,” Templer said about his fashions and the cross-pollination of references. Certainly, the series of oversize chunky knits with thick braid motifs have a universal appeal: They were the most covetable pieces in this smart and wearable collection. — S.S.
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