MILAN — Since their introduction to the Milan Men’s Fashion Week schedule last June, Lessico Familiare founders’ Riccardo Scaburri, Alberto Petillo and Alice Curti reconsidered a key aspect of their sustainable brand, which is rooted in one-off pieces.
They thought that developing a thematic collection, like the bridal one they created to mark their debut last year, would remain an exception in their creative journey. Yet the idea of offering an ironic take on the world of cocktail parties eventually lured them to change their minds.
To be unveiled on Friday at Fondazione Sozzani, the coed “Cocktail” collection will continue to express the quirky and nostalgic nature of the brand while representing “the evening meeting point for the most disparate characters.”
As for their dress code for such a fancy gathering, expect Lessico Familiare’s froufrou and a bit costume-y aesthetic, but with a nocturnal twist. “There are still bows, but darker. There are polka dots, flounces but padded ones, irreverent headpieces, midi or maxidresses [resembling] more cocoons than frocks,” Scaburri teased. “There is no unique inspiration or abstruse concept, just the desire to think of individual garments [created expressly] for each character, with references ranging from ‘Desperate Housewives’ [actress] Bree Van de Kamp to ‘Il bello delle donne’ [an Italian TV series in the early 2000s] passing through Catherine Deneuve and ‘The O.C.’’s Marissa Cooper,” he added.
The main pieces will center on multicolored cocoon shapes “in which you don’t need to move the arms since there’s always someone else serving you a drink,” as well as pencil skirts turned into minidresses, all assembled with techniques the trio has been developing since they launched Lessico Familiare during the pandemic, such as deconstruction, patchworks and trompe l’oeil effects.
In sync with the brand’s sustainable mission, “textiles are dictated by whatever we find or is donated to us, as we intend to always keep repurposing fabrics and build collections step by step, with no premeditated color palette or fabric samples,” Scaburri said.
For example, many garments were donated by Millesimé, one of the biggest distributors of vintage items in Europe, which has supported the creation of the lineup’s top five special pieces, as well as of a series of white uniforms crafted exclusively from shirts that are expected to be paraded before the actual collection.
“Those who at the beginning are the waiters at this cocktail, will then turn into the guests of honor,” Scaburri said about the format of the show, which is officially listed as a presentation but will feature a “very retro defilé,” too.
After the event, Fondazione Sozzani will continue to showcase the collection for a month, when the range will be juxtaposed with other media on a weekly basis. These will include ceramics by Roberto Aponte, a music concert by Gilda Manfrin and artwork by GianMarco Porru, with whom Lessico Familiare developed the previous collection.
The brand’s founders initially met while attending the NABA fashion, art and design school. After taking different paths — Scaburri counts former experiences as a designer at Max Mara and GCDS; Petillo is both a tailor and tattoo artist, while Curti worked at Miaoran before returning to NABA as a teacher — in 2020 they decided to launch Lessico Familiare, looking at what their domestic environment could offer. Hence, curtains, mats and discarded clothes were upcycled to turn a “familiar lexicon,” which is what the brand’s name means in English, into new pieces.
The trio has always shied away from defining the venture as a fashion label, but the outside perception has shifted over the last months, Scaburri said. “We’ve been increasingly considered as a brand, even if indie, with a purpose rather than a domestic project,” he said, pointing to buyers’ growing interest and openness to the brand introducing “one-off, sustainable and not replicable” pieces in its offerings.
Yet Lessico Familiare continues to avoid any commercial constraint, which ultimately enables the founders to explore different references, follow no particular season and work to maintain the brand’s artisanal soul and authenticity.