This Milan Fashion Week, it’s renaissance time for a number of Italian brands that in recent years fell into oblivion. First was Diesel, where Glenn Martens has his triumphant runway debut. Then, all eyes were on Trussardi – a brand that until Serhat Isik and Benjamin Huseby‘s take-over had pretty much no identity. Isik and Huseby have made their own Berlin-based brand GmbH a platform for commenting on the moral, philosophical, and ethical quandaries of our era, from race to religion, through fashion. Of course, the designers tried to bring some of that to the sleepy Italian label. The designers began by taking Trussardi’s signatures and making them their own. Rugged, embroidered piumino jackets opened the show, a nod to the anonymous but ubiquitous outerwear of European city life. Then the pair cast their eyes back further, to the complexities of Medieval and Renaissance dress, building armor-like shearlings and stuffing bustles under foxy black minidresses. Each garment in their 40-look lineup had either a curiously compelling texture – especially the holey knits that appeared mid-show – or a grand-scale elegance, like the coat-gown hybrids for models of all genders. The emphasis on a mostly black palette, Isik said post-show, was to reinforce the strength of their silhouettes. The sober ambience of the show (co-incidentally) felt humble and respectful towards the protests in support of Ukraine in the piazza just outside. Models did walk outside the show space within a barricade to give the crowd a glimpse of what was happening within fashion’s elite walls. It was the only direct clash of fashion and reality; the only acknowledgement of what is happening in Eastern Europe officially on the Milan calendar, along with Giorgio Armani’s silent show and social media posts published by an outrageously small number of Italian designers.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.