Norbert Stumpfl came across a mid-’50s newspaper with pictures of Brioni’s collections of that time: “They looked incredibly modern,” he said during his spring-summer 2023 presentation. ”They made tailored jackets out of jersey, trousers in leather, traditional masculine suits were made with sumptuous women’s evening wear fabrics.” This spirit of modernity is what he wanted to propose in the spring collection, presented in the verdant private cloisters in one of the hidden locations Milan is famous for. Expanding on the idea of individuality, Stumpfl offered an anecdote: “One of our young clients choose a pale pink suit to propose in,” he said. “It made me so happy, it felt so nice, and it was proof that Brioni is the go-to label to celebrate the most special and intimate moments.” The sentimental gesture of the young customer inspired him to draw the line: for spring, he said, “no business, no ties, but supple, formally informal tailoring for young men.” Playing on subtle contrasts, pajama suits were made in silk knitwear; blousons in matte crocodile felt as malleable as jumpers; a shirt’s fabrication, light as air, was used for an equally weightless unlined soft tailored suit. Reprising the house’s tradition of using women’s fabrications for menswear, a trench coat was made in satin de cuir, a heavenly smooth, sumptuous fabrics with a discreet, inconspicuous shine. Stretching the remarkable skills of Brioni’s tailors and artisans, a three-pieces suit was entirely made by hand as if it were a couture piece. But the jewels in the collection’s crown were the evening tuxedos, made in precious silk jacquard woven on antique looms by Setificio Leuciano, an historic artisanal company which was purveyor to the Royal Palace of Caserta. The edited women’s offer was as elegant and breezy as the men’s, with masculine silk shirts elongated to become a dress worn over soft straight pants, and ankle-grazing evening coats impeccably cut. Brioni is imbued with a quintessentially Roman mindset: lightness of spirit, a perfect eye for beauty, and the natural allure of nonchalance which comes from millennia of proximity with the world’s most stunning artifacts.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki. Don’t forget to follow Design & Culture by Ed on Instagram!
N21 it-bag exclusively available at Concept 21 Store in Poznan.
Alessandro Dell AcQua and his succesful Milan-based label, N21, is storming women’s wardrobes around the world, with its signature, feminine twist. Now, it’s the time to conquer the bag industry. Although it’s not the first season when N21 does bags, spring-summer 2016 is a break-out moment. The extremely functional, voluminous and comfortable “cabas” tote is everything. The soft calfskin bag comes in three colours (brown, burgundy and beige), and you can literally style it with anything. If you are skeptic whether you will be able to find your iPhone, chocolate you’ve taken from a brunch or other thing that saves your daily routine there – no worries. The design team thought of a perfectly fitting pocket inside. Basically, it’s a big bag, but looks as chic as a clutch. And it’s definitely much more realistic! See how was it styled back in Milan…
It’s easier to mention what didn’t inspire Stella Jean this season. From Christmas nutcracker and plastic-cover sandals to Italian patriotism in form of carabiniere pants and ethnical nods to African masks, this season was filled with randmomness. Unlike spring-summer 2016 collection, filled with Tehuanian dresses and Andean references, the winter collection feels influent and busy, as if the designer wanted everything at a time. Surely, a stricter edit is needed here, even though there are some remarkable pieces. Note the stunning knitwear with Ndebele patterns and the dresses with raffia-applied mask motifs.
Moreover, Jean went off the rails with “Made in Italy” undermining statements backstage of her show – “we used the fluffy technique, entirely recycled from industrial mass-market rejects, whose identity we’ll keep secret in order not to influence judgment but also to prevent that attitude that inevitably discriminates against any garment that is not produced in Italy.” Surely, there is a seed of truth in the fact that the Italian fashion industry is not as “fairy-tale” as everybody thinks – and surely, this one wasn’t positively seen by the Italian fashion VIPs. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi opened Milan Fashion Week with a lunch attended by, to mention a few, Donatella Versace and Diego Della Valle, all with the initiative of praising Italian craftsmanship and the importance of the industry. Maybe the new collection didn’t make a fashion cut this season, but it definitely left few questions connected to the whole, inflated “Made in Itlay” matter.
Tomas Maier knows how to make the audience love his discreet, calm Bottega Veneta collections – sending out Jamie Bochert in a total-black look made up of a coat, fringed scarf, sleek flares and silver-polished pumps effortlessly becomes one of the season’s best looks. The next looks were nearly as good as the opening – new Italian machinery industry has brought a revolution in knitting, and that’s visible in these lady-like skirts, pants and coats. The collection had a bit of non-chalance, too – the masculine smoking was unbuttoned, to expose a black bra which conveyed the good, clubbing 70’s. Refined chic, based on your grandma’s tweed coat, necklaces and knitted tops, has never felt so up to date as now, at Bottega.
The old new identity implemented by Alessandro Michele for Gucci is well-known to all of us – and within the autumn-winter 2016 season, the designer has his first year as the creative director of the womenswear line behind. The “renaissance” mood Alessandro brings back to fashion, as I wrote here and here, deserves applause and praise. Noting that he has utterly revamped the pretentious sleek Italian empire into a brand, which considers Italian craftsmanship as priority, makes Michele’s warm softness more than a trend. It’s about his personal style, and his adoration to old, Italian paintings, antique rings and 70s / 80s attitude. The AW16 collection, in fact, isn’t a surprise – knowing the designer’s deeply rooted inspirations and eclectic aesthetics, you won’t see a totally different theme, coming out from nowhere, during his tenure. Even if this might lead to the Frida-Gianini-effect – a kind of unexcitement starts to accompany his shows, just like before, when his precedessor designed for Gucci. We’ve seen it all during Alessandro’s year – the Pompeian print skirts, pussy-bow dresses, GG buckle belts and those alta moda gowns. They delight the eye, indeed. Just like the crystal-embroidered bodices, inspired with 16th century costumes. But it lacks this loud “wow” everybody gasped last February.