Social commentary always lurks in the background of Sunnei’s practice. The pandemic has offered Simone Rizzo and Loris Messina plenty of open questions to chew on, fashion being rich food-for-thought territory, with game-changing actions still slow to come about within the industry. For starters, fashion’s high-pitched, fast-paced beat hasn’t slowed down (even at the moment when Europe’s peace is under threat), and running from one physical show to the next has become normality again. Collateral effects of frenzy, stress and nerve-racking timetables are part of the picture, despite all the good intentions flaunted when the fashion world was in a state of pandemic shock. Their autumn-winter 2022 show seemed a good occasion for Messina and Rizzo to pick up on our collective scatterbrained state. They rallied their community in an open air set on the outskirts of Milan, where they orchestrated a sort of “performance within the performance” as they called it, with the audience commanded to stand on metal benches, facing the sidewalk near a wall of an industrial building. “We wanted to make people stop for a moment and reflect on what’s happening, especially today, which is such a delicate, disquieting moment,” said the designers. With Russia and Ukraine clashing violently, and war looming on the horizon, the mood was one of uncertainty and worry. Instead of walking, models came running along the wall, while the audience was invited to follow the show in slow motion through their iPhones. As a sort of metaphoric “crystallization of the moment,” as the designers called it, it was quite fitting. As for the collection, it was quite hard to see the details with models running at lightening speed, but the clothes looked fit for such an athletic performance. “We’ve used a new technical fabric that extends and stretches, perfect for layering,” said the designers. They riffed on their core items, “focusing on what we do best, experimenting on making our favorite shapes more extreme and radical, without detracting from their identity and character.” While keeping their offer sleek and minimal, they went quite eclectic, playing with colors and textures with a more tactile appeal on balaclava-capes in furry wool and chenille woven into wavy 3D motifs.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.