From one fear to another, from one anguish to the next. There Milan Fashion Week autumn-winter 2022/23coveted by many because it definitively marked the return of the IRL events, or In Real Life (with all the habits, rituals, parties, pre-pandemic myths punctually replicated as if nothing had happened in the last two years), in an atmosphere opposite and contrary to celebrations of all kinds.
The war language used for the times of the lockdowns imposed by Covid-19 has moved into the news of a war, that of the invasion of Ukraine, which has penetrated the places of the parades with the violence of a reality that is breaking lives, families , the aspirations, the projects of a people. There are those who have affirmed with aggressive vehemence that the Italian clothing industry, involving thousands of workers, cannot / should take a position, send messages of participation if not political, not even human. Some have said that at least one symbolic sign – because symbols are almost as important as protests and demonstrations – the fashion system could offer: something that did not happen on time, if not for the sober and heartfelt decision of Giorgio Armani to present the collection without music, because there was nothing to celebrate. In short, the conflict between the body as an autonomous identity and the body as a social identity has sometimes manifested itself with even excessive evidence. There is a strong temptation to re-read the fashion shows between lights and shadows of a restless atmosphere, even though the collections were obviously designed much earlier.
Debuts, confirmations, visions between utopias and dystopias
Often criticized, especially by American journalists (then one says: from what pulpit) for its attention to the product rather than the idea that originated it, the Italian style has reaffirmed this vocation. And thank goodness. If there is one word that comes to mind – only one – it is consistency, in the sense of the consistency theorized by Italo Calvino in the last of his American Lectures that he was unable to finish, because unfortunately it failed before. For him it was a concept that had more to do with constancy and consistency, the latter to be privileged because for him consistency does not mean never changing your mind, but flowing between space and time in harmony with our essence.
But they are – literally – consistent i heavy fabricsfor example wonderfully declined from Max Mara in long egg-shaped skirts in “teddy bear” version wool, which was inspired by the artist Sophie Taeuber-Arp, linked to the Dada movement, to whom a retrospective at the MoMA in New York is dedicated; but also in suit with marked shoulders in flannel by Prada and Fendi, in the rigorous coats by Versace, in blazer oversize in felted wool or Harris tweed by an Alessandro Dell’Acqua in better shape than ever for N21, in the long velvet duvets upholstered by Giorgio Armani.
These are subjects that refer to both a concept of protection, shell, shelterbut also to an adult conception of a fashion that is worth investments also mighty of money. Just like the suits worn by women in the 40s, there was in the air a sense of call to order, of tightening the lines, of seriousness that is not a rejection of irony, but an overcoming of it. I’m clothes made to withstand time and timethus ushering in the era of a ready to last even when it comes to a return to an exhibited seduction, but dressed (as by Dolce & Gabbana, by CGDS, or by the increasingly good Andrea Adamonow close to the aesthetics of Azzedine Alaïa, and it is a compliment) of canonical elements: the exposed garter belt from Dolce & Gabbana, the Victorian corset with low-waisted trousers to leave visible two leather triangles on the hips from Versace, the bare shoulders by the darling of the Milanese intellectuals Christian Boaro, the harness transformed into an elegant lady’s element by Roberto Cavalli, which has finally rediscovered its recognizable identity under the creative direction of Fausto Puglisi: completely at ease in the rewriting of sexy after #MeToo, fourth-wave feminism, sexual fluidity and all the variations of gender. In short, you play as adults.
The charm of the restoration
In the case of Fendi – where Kim Jones said she had built a clothing charade starting from a collection by Karl Lagerfeld from 1986, in the height of the postmodern aesthetic era, and from a 2000s, delicate and light – or Pradaa brand now dedicated to self-identification that is yesterday’s archeology, there has been a great deal of work by compilations, archives, repechage, citations: the tough elegance of Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga, which in turn had broken up the triangular silhouette with huge shoulders and thin waist since the Eighties, has been taken up by many fashion houses that have preferred discovery to invention, with the happy exception of an Glenn Martens per Diesel who has made impressive furs with leftover jeans; by Serhat Isik and Benjamin Huseby, founders of the GmbH brand, making their debut as creative directors for Trussardifor which they have elaborated an aesthetic vocabulary still distant from the values of the house, ma ce n’est qu’un debut, and therefore we await (in addition to the invitation) to formulate an opinion, referring to the next time; Francesco Risso for Marnialso appeared among the models, in a sort of Dionysian rather than Apollonian celebration based on torn dresses, torn shirts, eroded trousers, sweaters with sleeves that drop to the ground, talismans hidden in every dress to represent courage.
Re-reading the classics, but not the “classic”
Beyond the extreme variability of individual “fashions”, fashion presents constants, capable of interpreting, if not even anticipating, the characteristics of an era: and ours is an era in which we try to find the lifeblood in the memory to arouse new desires. In this regard, one cannot but exalt the debut of Matthieu Blazy from Bottega Veneta, who succeeded Daniel Lee as creative director after the latter’s stormy farewell. Blazy’s operation was neither a revolution nor an evolution, but a diversion: if Lee had broken with the past of a legendary brand for its quality, taking it from “Luxury House” to “Fashion House” with the ‘use of an apple green as a catchphrase color, the caricaturization of the weave, a typical home-made process, inflated to paradoxical dimensions, the good Mathieu has tried to take the opposite path, while introducing it into the flow of contemporaneity: for example, it is returned to the classic braided pattern, but used it for maxi bags and maxi boots, those that looked like “nu ‘jeans e’ na t-shirt” (indeed, a shirt) were made of the finest nubuck that camouflaged denim and cotton, a simple cashmere pea coat had a perfectly curved back, inspired by the futurist sculpture by Umberto Boccioni from 1913, Unique forms in the continuity of space. Everything came back to movement, to running forward, also conveyed by the way the pants were cut higher in front and lower in the back and the leather fringes that bounced under the A-line skirts like a modern crinoline.
Between past and present
Thus Bottega returns to express concepts of modernity, luxury, craftsmanship: the same values expressed by the now consolidated talent of Alessandro Michele for Gucci, finally released from the almost deafening variety of fashion shows as a performance to refine a vision that was sharp and precise like a barely sharpened stroke of a pencil. There collaboration with Adidaswhich effectively marks the end of streetwear, with three stripes that decorate the sides of the trousers like the decorations of a tuxedoit was a pleasant meeting to re-establish and in a certain sense overturn the theory and practice of genderless professed by the creative director: having presented, during the women’s collections, a collection of formal men’s suits worn by men – with a random intervention of models women dressed as women – constituted a certificate of great intelligence. The feminization of the masculine garment and the masculinization of the feminine one do not by themselves define the masculine and feminine identity. Contrary to the skirt suit, the trouser suit or the “tuxedo” belong entirely to the closed system of the male wardrobe, expressing an absolute femininity on the woman. Yves Saint Laurent who, much more than the suit, helped to impose them, had foreseen it: «The trousers are a habit, an additional charm. A woman in a jacket and trousers is far from being masculine ». If the suit that reconciles the seduction of the feminine and the functionality of the masculine already finds in itself something of the ambiguity typical of the fatal women of the late nineteenth century, the Roman creator plays on this register pushing it to its limits. In fact, with his large-shouldered blazers and slightly flared trousers, he proposes the image of a terribly attractive woman who is sure of herself and of her power.
All the trends from the fashion shows of Milan Fashion Week autumn winter 2022/23 in our gallery.
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