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.
Don’t forget to follow Design & Culture by Ed on Instagram!