Arthur Arbesser’s Viennese-influenced, cerebral point of view has distinguished him among Milan’s new youth influx. Few if any of his peers are doing the kind of Germanic androgyny Arbesser’s been exploring, yielding interesting if uneven collections in the past.
He’s still developing but fall felt like progress in terms of a considered concept and more substantial designs. Arbesser’s main source of inspiration was Belgian painter Michaël Borremans, whose work, as described in show notes, “floats between nostalgia and irony.” Arbesser very much applied that idea to his collection. Working from the premise of a uniform — aprons, jackets and wide pleated skirts — he delivered a look infused with oddball vintage austerity that toed the ugly/pretty line. The show opened with a group of minimalist gray and black tailored pieces — for example, a gray apron top tied over a black sweater worn with a kilt belt over black pants. There was a long tailored coat in cartoon blue and matching pants. A mock turtleneck with fluid pants and a plain, long-sleeve dress in marigold velvet felt descended from the Vetements school of thought.
It was a mixed bag. Fabrics and cuts needed finessing, but there were some interesting ideas. The best of the lot was a group that layered nicely tailored Austrian loden jackets over gold metallic shirts and skirts and black mesh knit pieces.