Joan of Arc. Blumarine AW23

For autumn-winter 2023, Nicolas Brognano reinterpreted the Helmut Newton-esque Blumarine girl through the lens of courageous Joan Of Arc. No sugary hues in sight – rather badass heroines in leathers, shearlings and form-fitting jerseys. Dusting off Luc Besson’s movie The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, shot in 1999 and starring Milla Jovovich in the epic role of the pucelle d’Orléans, made Brognano feel “transfixed“. Some models even had similar bowl-cuts à la Jovovich. The designer introduced liquid, sexy shine of slinky silver armor, steering Blumarine towards eroticism, intensity, and danger. Tight-fitting draped minidresses were cut in silver or gold metallic jersey, elongated into leggings covering the curved heels of sharp-pointed shoes. Floor-sweeping shearling greatcoats looked imposing, almost majestic, while slender see-through tunics in metallic net suggested a sort of monastic sexiness. Chunky buckles abounded; knickerbockers were tucked into high-heeled laced shearling boots. Evening options included a rather spectacular bustier gown in flame-red georgette with asymmetrical frayed-hem skirts. It’s good to see that Brognano is exiting his Y2k-inspired comfort zone.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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Strong & Sexy. Blumarine Pre-Fall 2023

For this season I was thinking about punk rock, something strong and sexy, something provocative,Nicola Brognano said regarding his pre-fall 2023 line-up for Blumarine. So far, Brognano’s instincts haven’t failed him. He has put Blumarine on the map, creating a certain hype and some commercial blockbusters. He wants to keep the momentum going. The new item he’s resurrected from the Y2K-era that he was one of the first to champion are cargos cropped below the knee, the infamous knickerbockers that we all have happily pushed to the back of our wardrobes. But no, they’re back, and Brognano is responsible for saving them from oblivion. Proposed in délavé denim washed “with a dirty effect,” as Brognano pointed out. As an alternative to the sure-to-be-a-hit proposition, humongous flares made a reappearance, as did liquid mermaid dresses in viscose, this time worn under ultra-cropped, round-shaped piuminos, or with enveloping knitted coats mimicking a furry effect. Ruching replaced embellishments as a decoration, inserted in seams on denim fitted shirts or on denim trousers worn inside-out, and extended into sort of trailing ribbons dangling from hems or from voluminous knitted draped jumpers. Colors were kept moody, a far cry from the macaron coyness of candy pinks and nursery blues of the label’s beginnings. “She’s sexier, dirtier, her look is almost wrong,” said the designer. “A bit grungier, more grown up, more real.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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Gothic Mermaids. Blumarine SS23

Blumarine‘s Nicola Brognano keeps on digging deep into the 2000s nostalgia, but for spring-summer 2023, the designer switched the attitude: from girly to femme, from roses to crosses, from flimsy Lolita-esque dresses to tight-fitting, liquid silhouettes. Also, the Blumarine woman went underwater, becoming an IRL mermaid. In his childhood, Brognano was obsessed with The Little Mermaid cartoon. “I watched it on repeat so many times that the VHS got destroyed,” he said. But what is it about the Little Mermaid that so enthralled Brognano? “She was a redhead like my mother, and I loved the way she was dressed, all those eye-popping colors. I remember a minidress that was exactly a cartoon version of a Versace metal mesh number.” The glamorous mermaid look evidently stuck, but for spring, Brognano turned it into a darker, gothic representation, “intriguing and sexier, less pop, much dirtier.” The image of the Blumarine girl seems to be submitted to a constant process of mutation into ever-evolving versions of herself. A plethora of sexy numbers in luscious jersey contoured every curve, flaring into extra-long trains trailing on the sandy floor of the show’s set, which was scattered with shells and bathed in aquarium-blue light. With similar conviction, the Blumarine mermaid was provided with endless variations of True-Religion-esque denim trousers and cargos, whose hems opened into flares so wide or into undulating ruffles so humongous they almost seemed to crawl behind the models. Midriff-baring was de rigueur; being the ubiquitous trend’s instigator, Brognano just owned it with nonchalance, offering shell-shaped bras in oxidized metal paired with extremely low-slung denim flares or cargo-skirt hybrids. In the Blumarine seasonal mutation into gothic marine creature, the crystal-studded cross replaced the rose, one of the label’s symbols of voluptuous sensuality, here reduced to a few timid rosettes gathering the draping of figure-hugging minidresses. In Brognano’s ongoing identity shaping, drama takes the place of innocent flirting, and romanticism has darker, erotic undertones.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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