PRIZE MOMENT: “I like to try to push the boundaries of an identity of a garment,” said Francesco Malandrini, winner of the Supernature: Polimoda Fashion Show 2019, held Tuesday night at the Manifattura Tabacchi in Florence on the occasion of Pitti Uomo 96. As one of 22 of the school’s final year Fashion Design students selected to participate in the event, the 25-year-old’s six bold, cartoonish, graphic and arty men’s wear silhouettes based on printed foam impressed a panel of industry players including Laudomia Pucci; designer Bernhard Willhelm; Emanuele Farneti, director of Vogue Italia and L’Uomo Vogue, and activist model Lea T.
A dazed Malandrini, who grew up in the outskirts of Florence and graduated from the fashion school the day after the show, said he saw foam as a good medium for creating volume and displaying print, but also for communicating “a sense of melancholy and anxiety” through constriction of movement. This was underlined by the prints based on 16th- and 17th-century still lifes of birds and fish.
“It’s meant to be a reflection on human nature and mankind, with this idea that we’re just animals among other animals. It’s a matter of fact: We all share the same fate, which is death,” Malandrini said. Having suffered from bouts of depression during his studies, “this collection and all of the research was maybe the first time I tried to transform this sorrow and melancholy into something different,” he added.
In terms of the construction of the pieces, which evoked paper doll clothes cut from antique canvases, Malandrini glued printed satin to the foam which he joined using small, strong overlock stitches, “like embellishments.”
“I’m interested in structure, the way the different parts are connected together,” said Malandrini, whose favorite designers include Craig Green, Stefan Cooke and Ximon Lee.