Of all the fashion capitals, Milan seems to be the most harsh for emerging and independent designers. Luchino Magliano is one of these designers, and he finally gains the much deserved spotlight. Sitting in the cavernous dark space of the show, held in the underbelly of a school, with a huge wall of stacked chairs as rather ominous backdrop, he said, “this time we have chosen a less challenging location because we wanted to be a little more hospitable towards our guests, but not too much.” Making people slightly uncomfortable is just one of Magliano’s many charms. “I’m afraid this collection is a bit tough,” he said. “It’s a really somber, gloomy collection. It’s gray, it’s melancholy. It’s shrouded in shadows, but it isn’t sad or desperate. It just comes from an inner place, it looks inward, like this venue, we wanted to represent a luogo interiore, an inner ground.” The theme of the collection was No by Magliano. In the show, it screamed as a manifesto from the back of a gray tailored blazer – a logo of protest, a slogan that “wants you to remember not to be complacent,” the designer said, “because life brings you to say yes most of the time, to accept and bend, but it’s vital to learn to say no. It’s an affectionate no, joyful and beautiful. But it’s a no.” If anyone thinks that success will change Magliano’s mindset, making him content to meekly oblige to rules and regulations, well, better think again. The collection was excellent – more mature and polished, while keeping intact the under-the-surface vehemence that makes you wriggle slightly uncomfortably in your seat. Riffing on the slouchy, languid pajama look, garments were inventive while remaining wearable. Assembled/disassembled cashmere jumpers were repurposed from surplus finds, and military blankets were turned into dressing gowns. Utility wear, one of Magliano’s fundamentals as it pertains to the world of labor, was given a less antagonistic, more laid-back vibe, as in a scarf made from pockets thrown over a soft-tailored blazer. Raw borders, knotted and braided hems, and dangling drawstring ropes hinted at the inner tension of the garments’ construction. But tension is an everlasting propulsive presence in Magliano’s universe. A long lock of hair was dangling as a charm from a belt; a broken glass bottle neck was pinned on a lapel as a brooch, as was fly; a shirt was printed with a bunch of stray cats in a bad mood. “I know, they’re disturbing objects,” said Magliano. “But I can’t help keeping on my retina images of what happens in the world. Bombs have been made out of bottles; women’s long hair has been cut. The fly is a memento mori, reminding us of the impermanence of our lives on earth. As for the cats, they’re certainly not cute TikTok creatures.”
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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