MILAN — There is a familiar talent back on Milan’s Fashion Week calendar — one that can be found in fashion textbooks. Romeo Gigli has designed a collection for the Italian brand Eggs, to be presented on Feb. 22 at the home of architect Stefano Giovannoni, old palazzo with an industrial look that will be strewn with carpets also designed by Gigli.
“There is no theme, but 13 evening dresses for 13 different women — the girl who becomes a woman and the woman who becomes a girl,” Gigli told WWD. The dresses are worn with coats, capes and other styles that can be assembled and mixed together.
The collection is produced by Jato, based near Bologna, and known for its craftsmanship and embroideries.
Gigli launched his own brand in 1983 and infused his looks with architectural shapes combined with romantic, Renaissance touches, dashes of punk and ethnic inspirations that were all powerfully influential in the Eighties. Asked about his approach in such a different world today, Gigli was unfazed. “I am a creative and I approach fashion as such,” he said. “I have a 20-year-old daughter,” he added, by way of explanation for being grounded in today’s culture. “I did a G Gigli collection with Stefanel [in the early Nineties] aimed at a younger generation, easily mixed and matched,” he said.
Eggs is a brand launched by retailer Giordano Ollari, who has a network of stores in Italy and also has a strong online business. Gigli said he relies on Ollari to reach out on social media platforms. To wit: Ollari teased the launch of the collection online with a video.
Ollari is a longtime friend of Gigli and a former general director of the now-defunct IT Holding, which owned the designer’s namesake brand. The label has suffered through several changes of ownership, beginning with a bitter dispute in the early Nineties with former partners Carla Sozzani and Donato Maino. Gigli was left empty-handed after IT Holding sold the Gigli business, in a complicated deal involving the separation of the company and the license for the brand, to the Luxembourg-based company Euroholding, Italian real estate company Immobiliare Esse and Mood Srl. It led to the designer being shouldered out of fashion in 2004, and his brand being produced without his creative input. For fall 2009, Gigli launched the short-lived Io Ipse Idem line, which was shuttered after financial backers pulled the plug, followed in 2010 by the XII XII XLIX par Romeo Gigli (the numerals stand for his birth date of Dec. 12, 1949) in a partnership with Fuzzi, which was also a fleeting project. In 2012 Gigli made a comeback in a collaboration with influential retailer Joyce.
“I felt there was something unfinished, like we left a dinner before it was over and I always wanted to work together with Romeo,” explained Ollari. “I sell 365 brands, and I was tired of seeing so many designers copying Romeo. I believe there is room for the designer who invented this specific style. This is not a relaunch, he already exists out there and there is a fan base that believes Romeo cannot be absent from the calendar.”
Ollari asked Gigli to “think in a rarefied way,” and for “a synthesis” of his knowledge and imagination. “He can come up with 600 looks,” he said with a laugh. The collection is mainly in black as the absence of color can help “emphasize the shapes.”
In a sensible, new take, Gigli revisited a dress that was part of the collection inspired by the Byzantine empress Theodora and presented in Paris in 1989. “That one weighed five kilos and was dripping in crystals, now it’s a cashmere cloud and the flowers are in black PVC,” explained Ollari.
Serendipitously, the brand’s moniker fits with Gigli’s storied egg-shaped designs. Ollari said “there is a lot of interest” in the designer’s new pieces, as he feels consumers are looking for “more special, niche” pieces. “This is not a one-shot collection,” he underscored.