New Guinea’s multicolor birds-of-paradise, all 39 species of which were first photographed in the wild in 2013, served as the inspiration for Goga Ashkenazi’s fall collection. For her first runway show at Milan Fashion Week, which was hosted at the prestigious Casa degli Atellani where Leonardo da Vinci lived while painting “The Last Supper,” the designer reworked all the signature house’s codes, including draping and plissé, for a lineup that was both beautifully crafted and elegant. The birds’ flamboyant plumage echoed in the hints of bright colors — green, turquoise and fuchsia — paired with neutrals on the sumptuous evening gowns that combined plissé chiffon with floating silk charmeuse panels.
Illustrations of birds-of-paradise from the “Encyclopedia Britannica” were reproduced on a silk fabric with lamé that was crafted into chic dresses, including a floor-length one-shoulder style cinched at the waist with a long ribbon. Slipdresses, including a printed tulle style, were layered over lightweight turtleneck sweaters, while a draped silk gown embellished with flocked birds was cut from a pattern conceived by Madeleine Vionnet herself.
Although the collection was heavy on evening attire, daytime options included impeccable suiting, including a blazer with an incorporated capelet, as well as oversize shearling biker jackets infused with a cool, urban attitude. In keeping with her summer runway show, Ashkenazi introduced a few denim pieces, including a maxiskirt, which actually featured the same artisanal construction of her gowns. The collection exuded luxury and high-end craftsmanship, demonstrating that relocating the show to Milan, where the Vionnet atelier and headquarters are based, may have been a winning strategic move for the brand.