Joviality. Jil Sander Resort 2022

This collection is really about individuality, about the uniqueness of the person – we really cared about the human [aspect],” said Luke Meier on a Zoom call with Vogue. What we experienced in quarantine, he explained, was “the feeling of longing for special people in our lives, the interesting characters we missed, the importance of interaction.” The dialogue between fashion and art, “how they fit together,” as Meier said, isn’t just an important conceptual component in his and his wife Lucie’s fashion practice; it’s also one of the central topics of their course at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, where they head the fashion department. “For us it’s always about how good design can enhance the individual life of a person and the beauty that surrounds that person. It shouldn’t be just about making an object that’s beautiful,” said Luke. “In everything artistic there should be something functional, and it has to be at the service of the person,” chimed Lucie. Given this line of thought, “the ideas and philosophy behind the Bauhaus movement became relevant references for us,” she said. Resort was about harmonizing artistic gestures of decoration with the clarity of design and purpose they’ve brought to Jil Sander. Each piece was given an individual character, in a sort of syncopated yet quite cohesive narrative. What tied the eclectic offering together was a sense of soft playfulness, smoothing the edges of sculptural silhouettes inspired by the graphic lines of Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet costumes. Undulating ruffles, fringed tassels, feathers, studwork, and statement jewelry gave grace to neat, elegant shapes. A dramatic sleeveless black-top-and-round-skirt ensemble in guipure lace, a chic strapless trapeze dress in off-white silk gazar, and a sleek pantsuit with a detachable round capelet also in silk gazar – one of the collection’s main fabrics, “as it holds the shape beautifully” – all looked like they came out of a couture atelier. Lucie’s work at Dior as co–creative director after Raf Simons’s departure in 2015 seemed to gently resurface. “There are elements of couture,” she said, “but I like to keep them light and playful, with a more casual, lighthearted attitude.” The Meiers’ flair for the artisanal, which they integrate into their equal fondness for rigor, was in evidence in a deep-dyed multicolored summer dress with brushstrokes across the bodice. It signaled a more lively use of color and patterns elsewhere, as in a slim leather overcoat printed with a figurative motif of dancing women, painted by an illustrator friend. “It’s stark but jovial,” joked Luke. It was a rather accurate summing up of the collection’s mood – the joviality certainly induced also by the recent arrival in the Meier family of little Ella Rose, who made a sleepy cameo appearance at the end of the Zoom call.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Bold, Sassy, Hot. Blumarine Resort 2022

It’s no longer just Hot Girl Summer season. Now, it’s Hot Blumarine Girl Summer. Nicola Brognano is entering his third season at Blumarine, and his brand revamp (together with Lotta Volkova’s phenomenal styling help) keeps on getting hotter, sassier, bolder and certainly desireable. “When I came on board, they were all skeptical,” he told Vogue. “I’ve been grilled by critics. Now they love what I’m doing. The message was strong, different, fun; it was a clean cut with the past but I’ve kept a certain Blumarine spirit. Gen Z followers immediately reacted; girls on TikTok started to replicate Blumarine furry skirts and tops from day one. We have dedicated fan pages.” For resort, Brognano is riffing on the new repertoire he’s established for the brand: a girly, sassy, mischievous take on the early-2000s pop star glam of Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, and Christina Aguilera that he worshipped as a teenager in Southern Italy. “Inspiration for me doesn’t mean a thing. We have to live in the now,” he said. “I’m inspired by social media, by the young girls dressing for real life on Instagram and TikTok. I’m not looking to the past. But I never forget what made me love Blumarine in the first place: its romantic sexiness, its malizia.” Brognano’s Blumarine girl is guilt-free sexy and a bit of a badass. She’s playing dress-up, but then “fucking it up with something revealing and wrong,” adding a fake fur stole over a skimpy crocheted minidress, or wearing slouchy cargos in luscious pink satin together with a slim-fitting hot pink leather blazer and a midriff-baring bandeau top. And she loves butterflies, tattooed as embroideries on pieces like this season’s bright green strapless minidress and signifying frivolity, lightness, and whimsy. “The butterfly is becoming a sort of new Blumarine logo,” Brognano concluded. “Versace has the Medusa. We have the butterfly.”

“Live” collage by Edward Kanarecki.

SS21 Dialogues by Prada

So… this is what arrived to my mailbox last week. Super thrilled to share the Prada spring-summer 2021 “Dialogues” book featuring the BIG conversation between Miuccia Prada, Raf Simons and the global audience. Each question is actual food for thought, and one of my answers is featured on the pages of this extraordinary concept. This Prada collection is contemporary fashion history moment, and receiving this beautiful portfolio (under the creative direction of Vogue Italia’s Ferdinando Verderi) is so, so major for me.

Thank you Prada!

Solar Power. Etro Resort 2022

Etro‘s resort 2022 has that solar power (yes, I love the new Lorde song). If you’re looking for the summer-perfect wardrobe for post-confinement life full of sunny adventures with friends, breezy beach walks and getting in the groove at concert festivals, this collection is it. “My father Gimmo founded the house of Etro in 1968, so we as a company were born at a time of barricades and youth revolution,” Veronica Etro told Vogue. “As much as we value tradition, there’s a rebellious spirit which runs in our family, a flair for adventure, open-mindedness, and eccentricity.” It’s a mindset she’s been making good use of lately, steering the label on a stronger, younger course. And it works. Special stand-alone items like intarsia-ed ponchos, embellished waistcoats, richly embroidered miniskirts, and fringed blanket skirts were combined with easy wardrobe staples rendered à la Etro. Less bohemian and more concise than usual, the everyday offer comprised a series of gender-fluid shirts, tunics, oversized blazers, and pajama suits that emphasize the masculine/feminine synergy and code-swapping going on between the Etro siblings. Paisley patterns got a punk-ish treatment with skulls, snakes, and safety pins; prints were bolder and used in patches on nylon anoraks and quilted indigo denim sets; and skintight black leather pants and zippered jackets were intended as a nod to biker subcultures. “After celebrating Etro’s 50th birthday in 2018 I wanted to turn the page,” said Veronica. “We’re building a new following of young customers who are asking for a stronger twist on our traditional style. The pandemic has taught us to not be afraid, to enjoy taking risks and to embrace change. It isn’t time to hold on to our comfort zone.”

“Live” collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Re-Signification. Valentino Pre-Fall 2021

Pierpaolo Piccioli is busy keeping Valentino’s re-signification going, the line of thought about identity, humanity, and radicalism around which he’s been tailoring his practice since last year. “Today, more than ever, aesthetics are determined by identity,” the designer told Vogue while discussing his pre-fall 2021 collection. “To make Valentino’s codes and values pertinent for today, I want to keep a firm hold on its identity while shifting its signifiers, giving them a new attribution.” What does that mean, exactly? “It means giving a more human dimension to Valentino’s lexicon, less obviously glamorous,” Piccioli said. “Not because I condemn red carpet glamour, but because today, there’s the need of a new warmth, of more humanity. So you have to open up those codes, giving them new life and the freedom to speak through more personal, individual interpretations.” And what is more individual, personal, and human than a portrait? For pre-fall Piccioli lensed the look book himself, with a cast of Italian beauties not all of whom are models, but rather friends and young women “with something to say,” he explained. The collection was intended as a series of individual pieces underlining the unique, non-clichéd humanity of each woman and her non-stereotyped representation of femininity. “The way I approached the shoot was a metaphor of what I’m doing at Valentino,” explained Piccioli. “Models for me are individuals, ‘persone’. This is a moment in time where humanity is paramount. The whole cultural discourse about inclusivity, accepting and enhancing diversities, and the freedom of expressing oneself – it’s just about putting humanity front and center as a non-negotiable social, political, and personal value.” Shot in an empty yet decadent Roman palazzo, with chiaroscuro light giving each image a painterly, metaphysical aura, the collection paid a telling homage to Valentino’s culture of couture, even if it consisted mostly of daywear. Dégradé embroideries in macro sequins, wool knots, and beads; handmade taffeta and lace intarsia; bouillonné rosettes and thread-made appliqués; embellishments made through a complex carving techniques – these and other couture flourishes were lavished on clean-cut coats and capes in double cashmere, everyday pieces of luxurious ease. Red roses, an homage to the famous Valentino flamingo dress, were stitched on a sweatshirt in vermilion cady, while a simple shirt in crisp pale blue poplin was inlaid with individually cut florals selected from different types of see-through lace. Summing up, Valentino’s ready-to-wear hasn’t been in such a good place as now for years.

“Live” collage by Edward Kanarecki.