Exploring the textile fiber, extracting astonishing garments from it whose drape raises questions about the nature of the fabric and the techniques used: the Italian designers and houses presenting their fall-winter 2023-2024 collections in Milan, from February 22 to 26, will are immersed in the heart of matter.
When Matthieu Blazy presented his first collection for Bottega Veneta in February 2022, his textile experimentations quickly found themselves the center of attention. His prowess in making leather pants look like denim jeans hasn’t gone unnoticed. This season, the Franco-Belgian repeats the exercise and delivers a very high-end collection. ” The idea is always to confront craftsmanship with innovation,” he explains.
Inspired by the idea of carnival, the collection brings together a whole gallery of characters: ” I like the idea of the parade in Italy; a crowd of different people, coming from everywhere and all going in the same direction. It is a place without hierarchy, where everyone is invited. The first silhouettes, little light white dress, loose shirt and thick woolen socks are intriguing. Is it wool? No, it is braided leather. And the cotton of the shirt? Also leather.
We find this treatment on large loose coats with a stunning tweed effect. Followed by mermaid-style embroidered dresses or encrusted with floral motifs, corseted dresses, fine knit skirts and black dresses slit revealing high boots cut in the braided signature leather, but also full skirts constructed in stiff leather and suit jackets to controlled construction. We also come across translucent pumps, inspired by Murano glass.
“The idea of the parade was to reconnect Italy to its history”, assures the creator. A statue of Umberto Boccioni from 1913, on loan from the Galleria nazionale di Cosenza, and Roman bronzes dating from the Ier century BC, loaned by the National Archaeological Museum of Naples, sit in the center of the room, while the chairs for the guests are Superleggera by the architect Gio Ponti, designed in 1955.
Extension of the textile field
At Dolce & Gabbana, this season is placed under the sign of sensuality. Not to be confused with sexy, says the duo Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana. Even if, on their podium, the difference is tenuous. Black guipure, speckled lace, tulle, satin, feathers, cracked leather… Here, the materials are at the service of the body. This is revealed through lingerie sets worn under babydoll dresses, golden second-skin dresses, large coats studded with rhinestones or impeccable corseted jackets, emphasizing the silhouette.
We must recognize the tailoring talent of the creators when they tackle the costume. This one, matched with a tie or worn next to the skin revealing, of course, black lace lingerie, is cut to perfection. Kim Kardashian, the face of the brand’s latest campaign – which can be seen everywhere in Milan –, installed in the front row in a narrow red skirt matched with a corset bra, blended perfectly into the decor.
At Tod’s, Walter Chiapponi, in charge of the style since 2019, continues to explore the textile possibilities of the house. With modernity, he offers a wardrobe declined in a palette of warm tones – camel, brown, cream… –, where long leather coats are confronted with white cotton shirts, zipped polo shirts in fine knit have leather details and where nylon zipped tunics team up with soft cashmere coats. A wearable and desirable wardrobe.
Shake up the fabrics and twist the materials? Max Mara is also playing the game this season, drawing inspiration from an 18th century heroinee century, the French woman of letters and mathematician Emilie du Châtelet. Mistress of Voltaire, she is renowned for having translated scientific works by Newton. This is the starting point of the Italian house’s collection, designed by Ian Griffiths. On the catwalk, this translates into pants, jackets and dresses in embossed brocade fabric topped with leather corset belts, shiny nylon parkas and chunky knit sweaters with a wide neckline revealing the shoulders. The grosgrain bows that the models wear in their hair add to this old-fashioned spirit. However, the look is modern, obviously worn by remarkable beige coats, since we are at Max Mara.
Luke and Lucie Meier, at the head of the Jil Sander collections since 2017, continue to explore the possibilities of volumes, materials and cuts to imagine a collection rich in proposals. If we move away here from the fundamental minimalism of the founder of the house, the subject is no less interesting. Thick leather biker jackets rub shoulders with loose neoprene jackets, long dresses in fine knit or others in short velvet. XXL cherry prints on loose T-shirts add just the right amount of humor to this eclectic collection. Through the exploration of the material, the Italian labels have this season paid a judicious tribute to the factories and fabric factories of the country, renowned for their very high quality.