Change is afoot at Vionnet. The brand skipped the runway this season in favor of a presentation at the art-filled Milanese home of owner and creative director Goga Ashkenazi, who said she was rethinking its model.
“We were completely Made in Italy, but we’re trying to be more globalized. We are taking some production partners, who are going to be also retail partners, that are going to be spreading Vionnet a little bit more — but right now we are going through a major, major restructuring,” she said.
In what she dubbed an “art performance,” a cast comprising models, artists and two pairs of twins were encased in glass boxes in the dining room and garden of the palazzo. As guests photographed the women in their goldfish bowl, the models pored over their smartphones and posed for selfies that popped up on a large screen.
“We are reflecting on the society as we know it today,” said Ashkenazi, adding the glass boxes symbolized the social media bubble. With its “Grecian diva meets the modern world” theme, the clothes themselves read like the sartorial equivalent of a classical art meme.
Draped and pleated goddess gowns featured parachute harness details, while utilitarian jackets and shorts came in a technical taffeta with a shaded crosshatch print that was meant to reference programming codes.
As a summary of the zero sum game of a navel-gazing culture — “I’m watching you watching me watching you” — the presentation was eerily on point. What it was meant to convey about Vionnet’s brand values was less clear. Perhaps, as Marshall McLuhan suggested, the medium is the message.