Next generation of Italian designers stands out at Milan Fashion Week
Every season, the Camera nazionale della moda italiana (CNMI, the Italian Fashion Chamber) does its best to maximise the visibility of emerging Italian labels at Milan Fashion Week, for the joy of buyers seeking new, intriguing collections. This week-end was no exception, featuring three labels worth keeping an eye on. They are Magliano, Jordanluca and Federico Cina, who have emphatically confirmed their potential at this fashion week for the Spring/Summer 2023 menswear collections.
Magliano once again made an impression, staging a show that was both poetic and firmly rooted in everyday life, unveiling a very extensive collection that is consistent with the label’s signature style, a slightly outdated elegance featuring destructured, oversize three-button blazers and rather ample darted trousers. “A new, transgressive elegance that is quite soft-spoken,” described it designer Luca Magliano, referencing gay Italian poet Sandro Penna, his inspiration this season, alongside a plethora of eclectic characters from Italy’s metropolitan suburbia.
Magliano has imagined “a dawn, like an awakening after this long winter night,” in the menswear label's typical insouciant style. A nonchalance that is accentuated this season by the circumspect steps of Magliano’s nomadic models, as they roam in slow motion, in semi-darkness, around the disused offices of an old power plant. Hands sunk in their pockets, or often nested over their midriff, they don’t lack attitude, though Magliano’s Latin, masculine mood comes across as blurred this time. The colour palette is dark and desertic, with ashen hues, wear-and-tear effects and even paint stains, as on a pair of jeans.
Swathes of silk and organza slip out of some jackets to drape over a shoulder, or turn into purposeless pockets. Ultra-fine knitwear, jacquard cardigans and cable-knit sweaters are among the signature items in this collection, all of them beautifully made in Italy. A jacket is worn inside out, showing its floral silk lining, and a white terry towel is wrapped around the waist in the guise of a skirt-sarong. “We are now distributed at more than 30 retailers, who are buying more and more widely from our collections, especially womenswear stores, which account for 50% of our sales, something we are very proud of,” said Luca Magliano, whose label’s main market is Asia - Japan, Korea and China primarily.
Another name to watch is JordanLuca. After a notable first show in Milan last January, the Anglo-Italian street couture label, founded in London in 2018 by Jordan Bowen and Luca Marchetto, drew a media crowd on Saturday, as well as designer Alessandro dell’Acqua. Six months on, JordanLuca showcased another highly inventive collection sprinkled with punk references, like the spiky metallic scarf-garland and the spider web top.
The designer duo has conceived this collection as a psychological introspection around the theme of fatal attraction, something that keeps pushing us to the limit. They invited a number of characters (a banker, an athlete, a singer, an actor etc.) from all over the world to create their own style with the JordanLuca wardrobe. Among the items on show, the longline, flared “bird’s leg” trousers with triangular bottom, a tongue-in-cheek creation from last winter that became an instant hit. Similarly, the kilt, one of the label’s signature items (made in Scotland in wool) was widely featured, this time in a jersey version reminiscent of jogging shorts.
Wool jackets become lightweight thanks to their linen lining. Performance tops morph into camisoles, worn with uber-long leather boots with side laces. Another novelty is the cape-style t-shirt, featured in striped cotton, black lace or as a tracksuit top. Also notable is the quirky work done with zips, which crop up in the most incongruous places. Horizontally on the front of a pair of trousers, at the back, vertically, between the buttocks, and elsewhere. Horizontally again, zips cut across the chest and sleeves of jackets, trench coats and other tops, as well as oversize sweaters.
Federico Cina, whose collections are rooted in the landscape of his native Emilia-Romagna (central Italy), where he came back to settle a few years ago, said he too has embarked on a psychological journey. “I wanted to remove the barriers that still shackled me, get rid of my armour,” he said backstage. For next summer, he drew his inspiration from the salt works in Cervia, creating garments bleached by the sun and textures seemingly gnawed at by salt.
The models appear to have just come ashore from a swim, traces of salt and sand still visible in their damp hair. They are clad in clothes made with organic fabrics and natural dyes, their edges raw, sometimes heavily frayed. An ample white trench coat/dressing gown is worn bare-chested, like a white denim jacket and a linen suit tied to the waist by a macramé belt.
Long tasselled tunics are made from hemp yarn, maxi gilets are assembled from a patchwork of different textures and knit stitches. The knitwear, both tops and trousers in dark earthy hues like beige and orange, is especially attractive. Cina, whose label is now available at about 20 multibrand retailers, has focused on womenswear this season, designing sensual body-hugging silhouettes.
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