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.

Hot Confidence. Blumarine AW21

Blumarine is hot! While nobody really paid attention to Nicola Brognano‘s debut last season, it was clear that he (with Lotta Volkova’s styling help) has a plan for this Italian brand that once was the synonym of sexy glamour. “I’ve always been fond of Blumarine since I was a kid, Vogue Italia issues were treasured in my mother’s bridal atelier,” Brognano said during a visit to the set where the fall video was being filmed. “I still remember vividly the Blumarine advertising campaigns shot by Helmut Newton in the ’90s, they were fabulous!” That was the label’s heyday. Making it pertinent for today’s sought-after young audience, winning not only their social media attention but also their spending power is the challenge the designer has to face. He might succeed – he ticks all the boxes. For autumn-winter 2021, Brognano looked at his teenage heroines, Britney Spears and Paris Hilton and their early aughts excesses. He was a huge fan. The collection screamed Madonna-meets-Steven-Meisel-‘Sex’-Book as well. “My Blumarine is more dirty, bitchy, sexier,” he said. It definitely seems to have the punch celebrities respond to. Ariana Grande, Rihanna, and Dua Lipa have all asked for clothes, or for the impossibly high stilettos with crisscrossing full-leg straps that are becoming a hit. If Brognano knows how to put the power of stardom to good use, but he’s also business savvy. The ultra-short draped minidresses in candy colors can be covered up by cozy oversized cable-knitted cardis with fake-fur collars. Elongated crocheted-wool vests had a thrifty feel; they were see-through enough to look sexy without being too revealing. Nostalgic Blumarine fans weren’t neglected either; the everlasting roses motif was abundantly represented, digitally abstracted in liquid watercolor prints or knitted in sprouting 3D rosettes on cropped wool sweaters paired with matching briefs. Denims were totally Britney – low-slung, extra tight, bell-bottomed, and studded with crystals (properly kitschy!). Brognano’s Blumarine is firing up.

“Live” collage by Edward Kanarecki.

A Good Kind Of Nostalgia. Blumarine SS21

This spring, when Vogue Italia made their magazine archives available for three months, I literally went through every decade. What I loved the most in the 90s and early 00s advertisement pages were the fantastic Blumarine spreads, photographed by Tim Walker. Anna Molinari’s brand was it back then. Youthful, romantic, kitschy in a good way and so, so Italian. I couldn’t help, but wonder, why no one picks up those crazy-good style codes and make it work in 2020? Nicola Brognano, the new creative director of Blumarine, was the smart one. In case you haven’t heard of him, he worked for Giambattista Valli on the pret-a-porter and couture lines, then for Dolce and Gabbana ‘alta moda’.  He launched his brand, Brognano, in 2015, with a feminine, romantic and eclectic spirit – which actually might sound like a Blumarine match. Together with Lotta Volkova, the idiosyncratic stylist, he had his debut in Milan. Not many noticed it (yet), maybe because Prada and Raf Simons over-shadowed every event going on in the city, but I feel Brognano, with Volkova’s help, has a chance to put Blumarine back on the fashion map. Mariacarla Boscono opened the show in a black velvet track-suit styled with a huge, rhinestone-encrusted logo belt, and it was clear right away that the brand is bringing back Molinari hey-day hits to the extremes. Cute pastel coats and mini-cardigans wth (probably faux) fur collars were always present in Blumarine shows, so here they are back again. Big, funky floral brooches, silk bandana crop-tops, hilarious mini-skirts and dresses with plenty of lace, feathers and vintage-y ruffles, and of course a dose of zebra and leopard print. With Lotta’s exaggerated, yet always cool styling, Blumarine 2.0. looks fresh and properly nostalgic at the same time. Also, if you love that style and can’t wait for the spring-summer 2021 collection to hit the stores, take a look at Vestiaire Collective, where you will find plenty of vintage Blumarine in really, really accessible prices (who knows, maybe in a season or two they will sky-rocket?). It’s a good start and I wonder if a long-dormant, Italian brand like this one will every again attract its client – and a new one, of course. The young generation will definitely love the mini, candy-sweet satin bags with rhinestoned “B”. As for Brognano, we know so far that he has an idea for a brand reboot. Now the question is how will he continue that dialogue.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.