It’s the Thirties at Paris’ Le Monocle and Adolf Hitler’s Nazi invasion and poison propaganda have not yet reached the City of Light.
Women are dressed in men’s clothing, sleek pinstripe suits and silk scarves, chatting, kissing and embracing in a forbidden dance, in a smoky art deco club.
Sabrina Mandelli of Ssheena portrayed that imaginary scene on the last day of Milan Fashion Week. Mandelli was tapped as White’s special guest at the fair’s Urban Catwalk Show sponsored in part by Italy’s Camera Nazionale della Moda.
“I opted for a Thirties-era lesbian European club vibe, in part due to the current global situation. During the Thirties these women were a rebellious crew and lived on the brink of a world crisis but they weren’t scared to express themselves. And that is really what I wanted to do as a young designer… is depict a person with no fear,” Mandelli said.
On the runway, looks include linen blazers accented with provocative red silk scarves, patent leather boots with chunky heels, stiff cigarette pants contrasted with sheer tops that bare almost everything.Quirky touches included beaded pinstripes and beaded curtain glasses for a touch of melancholy kitsch. “Le Monocle was my main inspiration. That’s why we have the monocle peephole everywhere… in the back of blazers, on the boots and even on the tops,” Mandelli said.
The 31-year old was most recently head women’s wear designer for Virgil Abloh’s Off-White lined has also worked at Dolce & Gabbana.
Mandelli’s inspiration for her brand is her grandmother, someone she defines as a “sciura [signature Milanese classy lady]” or the “true Sheena” who wasn’t ever afraid to speak her mind. Her strong collection stood out in a Milan season full of lace, florals and ballerina slippers.