Born in Rome and of Caribbean descent, Stella Jean’s aesthetic is a fusion of her Creole heritage and meticulous, Italian craftsmanship. As a designer who respects ethnical matters, Stella Jean should be praised not only for her breath-taking clothes, but for her idea of giving women and men around the world (from Burkina Faso to Kenya) a chance to do their craft in ethical and comfortable conditions!
AW15 – At the end of March, I went to Milan to preview Stella’s AW15 – the embroidery, the prints, the colour combinations looked impressive. And what’s interesting, thanks to mixing classical, Italian heritage with the Bollywood-inspired theme, the AW15 collection is absolutely avoiding the word “kitsch”. There’s nothing too excessive about this collection – basically, Stella delivered a set of wearable pieces decorated with mesmerizing embroideries and bold print matchings. These voluminous skirts look so great with the ethno-patterned knits and simple, checked shirts!
AW15 Men – For autumn-winter 2015, Stella focused on India and Nepal – warm colours, enchanting embroideries and oriental silhouettes appeared not only in her womenswear collection, but also in men’s. The boys look good in this lifey, printed splendour! The kaleidoscopic jackets, hand-stitched pea-coats and turquoise trousers rule. Also, this collection brings Wes Anderson’s emotional Darjeeling Limited mood to the men’s wardrobe.
Ave Cesaria by Stromae started to beat from the speakers. The ultra-modern venue of newly opened MUDEC Museum striked all of the guests. Just like the absolutely unexpected collection delivered by Stella Jean, the most bold and ethical-fashion thinking person in Milan. Stella Jean’s spring-summer 2016 collection marks the geographical and emotional map on which the main stages of Italian migrant identity are charted. And that’s not all. South America, North America, Africa and Europe are the destinations, that the Stella Jean woman reaches. As the show-note said, “the port of departure, so to speak, is Italy, represented by its sharp, sartorial qualities” – comfortable, wearable silhouettes were visible in over-sized pants and Euro-sleekness of polo shirts. Then, the journey continues, and Stella takes us to Brazil, full of raffia ruffles and Cariocan multi-coloured flounces. The imaginary “travel” itinerary is ready for the next place – the Andes, represented by artisanal and hand-painted motifs including pinatas, daily life of women wearing traditional bowler hats and striped tunics which reflected Andean style.
The ethnical beauty of the collection is contrasted by American varsity jackets and over-sized cowboy shirts, while trench coats and men’s formal striped shirts made a sign of London’s well-known Savile Row needle. However, it is worth to note that some of the fabrics were hand-made in Burkina Faso. Stella Jean and her SS16’s flowing dresses, boxy jackets and “amphora-like” skirts not only made a strong impression, but also felt very right for the current, migration conflict. The collection was like a melting-point of cultures, filled with beauty and creative freedom. Also, it proves that fashion can be politically important.