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Milan: A positive Renaissance

The sun shines brightly in Milan today. A refreshing wind has swept away the gray clouds revealing a blue sky and the never-ending promise of spring. The curtain has just closed on to what might have actually been one of the most beautiful Milan Fashion Weeks in quite some time. - Sara Kaufman.

February 27 2019

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Milan Fashion Week, Fall-Winter Collections 2019. From left to right: Marni, Prada, Gucci. © DR

If we consider the deep waters in which both Italy and Europe are currently standing in, it is comforting and somewhat moving to see designers reacting to the general sense of uncertainty with a such a courageous act of beauty. Aesthetics have very much, if not everything, to do with ethics and, given that fashion collections do not come out of the blue but in response to a specific demand, we could almost wonder if, below an angry surface, there might actually be the genuine desire of a positive renaissance.

Positive is actually the adjective that could better define the kermesse. Positive not as in "blind", but as in resilient, strong, pure. Positive as in generous, inclusive and, above all, free.

Prada

Miuccia Prada is, by definition, a trendsetter. We look at the Prada shows to understand the direction in which fashion is moving, to understand what people want and will want and also to get a general glimpse of the contemporary world, because this is what fashion does: it mirrors society. However, this particular show was different and, by some means, more difficult to interpret. Prada continued the narration she had begun with her menswear collection, which spun around Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, so old and yet so contemporary with his monstrous features and hunger for love. She generously gave Frankenstein a bride in her women show, but a bride that is extremely difficult to understand because she defies all common definitions: she is a witch, an anti-social teen like Wednesday Addams, a bourgeois lady with a decadent floral gown, a soldier, a spouse and a widow in mourning. She is everything and nothing. She wears combat boots and men shoes, she drapes her figure in manly fabrics and reveals just enough of her legs from under black lace skirts. She is dangerous. But then again danger is everywhere today, and so is fear.

Miuccia Prada recognizes how important it is for designers to speak out loud, to give fashion a voice instead of just creating pretty clothes. And her voice is strong. Women in Italy are forming a resistance, protesting against patriarchy, chauvinism and gender inequality, but also against the current government. They are, at the moment, the only ones which are truly fighting. Therefore it is only fair for them to be unapologetic, to show their dark side, to make everyone feel uncomfortable. Prada understands this, and sends her female platoon marching on the catwalk to the beat of Marilyn Manson's "I put a spell on you" and to an eerie violin version of Bad Romance. The show had a title (quite unusual for Prada), it was called "Anatomy of Romance": no need for sugar-coating, not anymore.

Gucci

When things get scary you have two options: you can either put on a mask or you can take it off. Of course the best thing to do would be to take it off, to be brave and show your true self but, first of all, it is not for everyone, second, best doesn't necessarily mean wisest.

The world today is digital. Reality is virtual, relationships are virtual, money is virtual... Does anything actually exist beyond our screens? At the same time, the quantity of information we receive and are forced to process is overwhelming. So we choose to wear a mask: we hide behind our monitors, all emotions blurred, digesting input and throwing it out again in the way that suits as best. But we have been fooled: masks can be just as revealing as clothes, the mask that we choose to wear says just as much about us as our outfit. There's nowhere to hide, we are exposed.

Thank god Alessandro Michele is considerate enough not to send us "out there" unarmed; his models wear spiky collars, knee protections, broad shoulders and, in one case, also a big, dangly crucifix. Perhaps a bit to nerdy for actual fighting, but definitely capable of self-defense.

Last month Gucci was accused of referencing blackface on black knitted top which featured a red lip motif. Though it is hard to believe that Alessandro Michele actually did have degrading racist acts in mind when he released the top, it is rather unsettling to see how racism has - once again! - become such huge matter that people see its vile traces everywhere. At the same time, the urge to attack anyone in a some sort of power, including a young designer turned creative director pretty much overnight, is emblematic of a general discontent.

Michele's idea on how to fight all of this is all about learning and developing critical thought. After all, knowledge - the real one, which is not necessarily the one we process through the web, is the only weapon that cannot be taken away from us.

Marni

If Miuccia Prada proposes - gothic - romance as a reaction to this Dark Age, Francesco Risso's take on how to survive this unhealthy period is all about the pulsions of the irrational part of our mind and, consequently, of our body. Neuroerotik: between neurons and hormones. And if hormones generally win over neurons, it is also true that they feed themselves on the intellectual imagination and fantasies that the neurons provide. Everything can be erotic if we decide it is, and there lies the true freedom: taking our pulsions and our desires far from predefined and preordained diktats.

So we find references of various forms of fetishism, from piercings to leather, but also colors and fabrics which are in complete contrast with one another and have - apparently - nothing to do with sex as we know it. What is more liberating than not having to be shy about sensuality and craving? whether it is by flaunting sexuality or by concealing it under an unrevealing white tunic. Chains, leather, the occasional plunging neckline... but also layering of colorful garments which cover every inch of the body, showing only, vaguely, a narrow-waisted silhouette. Suit yourself, not someone else.

Antonio Marras

Antonio Marras is an artist, a writer, a painter, a poet. And he is also a fashion designer. His clothes aren't just for wearing, they have to be touched, smelled, read into and listened to. They have a soul, they speak, they tell stories. This time the story had been written by Patrizia - Antonio's wife - who imagined letters written by Amedeo Modigliani in his later life to his mother and friends. Staged chez Marras, in his beautiful store/showroom/bookshop/art gallery/artistic parlor, the show didn't only feature models, but also a group of actors who read the letters with increasingly dramatic tones while flirting with each other and drinking glasses of sparkling wine.

A bohemian lot, slightly nostalgic in its way, but so creative and so poetic that the nostalgia felt more like a dream, like stepping into a suspended reality. Of course, given Marras' artistic background, the collection was also an artwork, extremely varied and richly embellished. Voluminous, almost Comme des Garçons shapes met slinkier outfits which embraced the silhouette, fabrics went from golden brocade to tartan and Prince of Wales, leopard prints met chiffon and lace skirts met heavy knits Once again, army jackets. A symphony of aesthetically pleasing contrasts.

boys and more cinched outfits, with fabrics ranging from golden brocade to tartan and prince of Wales, leopard prints, chiffon and lace skirts and thick knits. A symphony of aesthetic contrasts.

Now, unlike Prada, Antonio Marras is not a trendsetter. Not because he doesn't have the capacity to both forecast and dictate trends, but simply because he does not care about doing so. Attending his show during fashion week is like opening a book after having watched tv all day. While there is nothing wrong with tv per se, a good novel never fails to feel more nurturing. If Francesco Risso stages wild physical pulsions to express the need for freedom, Marras just has to stage his timeless work for it is, and always will be, the work of a free man

Act N.1

Dream and freedom. These concepts are carried out also by Act N. XNUMX - the young designer duo formed by Galib Gassanoff and Luca Lin - during its second show in Milan. Once again fashion meets performing art, viewers become voyeurs as they look inside the intimacy of a giant bedroom, where girls tell their stories overcoming the general sense of awkwardness that you experience when you are trying hard to fit in but you just feel lonely and misunderstood. Watercolor - slightly Louis Vuittonish - landscapes combine with subcultural references from the XNUMXs, oriental prints meet transparent PVC and hoodies are paired with silk skirts and gowns.

If the brand is still too young to have its own references, all its work so far is strictly connected to the lives of its creators - based in Northern Italy but originally from China and Azerbaijan - their childhood, the traditional craftsmanship of their countries, their culture, the local art... A generous, inclusive idea of fashion, where "personal" takes center stage as an honest communication mean.

As the fashion crowd moves on to Paris, the sun shines brightly today in Milan.

Milan: A positive Renaissance

February 27 2019

[Click on the image to see the gallery]

The sun shines brightly in Milan today. A refreshing wind has swept away the gray clouds revealing a blue sky and the never-ending promise of spring. The curtain has just closed on to what might have actually been one of the most beautiful Milan Fashion Weeks in quite some time. - Sara Kaufman.

If we consider the deep waters in which both Italy and Europe are currently standing in, it is comforting and somewhat moving to see designers reacting to the general sense of uncertainty with a such a courageous act of beauty. Aesthetics have very much, if not everything, to do with ethics and, given that fashion collections do not come out of the blue but in response to a specific demand, we could almost wonder if, below an angry surface, there might actually be the genuine desire of a positive renaissance.

Positive is actually the adjective that could better define the kermesse. Positive not as in "blind", but as in resilient, strong, pure. Positive as in generous, inclusive and, above all, free.

Prada

Miuccia Prada is, by definition, a pioneer. We look at Prada fashion shows to understand the direction of fashion, to understand what people want and want and also to get a glimpse of the contemporary world, because that's what fashion makes: it reflects society. However, his last parade was different and, in some ways, harder to interpret. Prada continues the narration she started with her collection of men's clothing, which revolves around Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, so old and yet so contemporary with its monstrous features and thirst for love. She generously offered Frankenstein a bride in her women's show, but a bride extremely difficult to understand because she defies all common definitions: she is both a witch, an anti-social teenager like Wednesday Addams, a bourgeois in the dress decadent flower, a soldier, a wife and a widow in mourning. She is everything and nothing. She wears combat boots and men's shoes, drapes her figure in manly fabrics and reveals just enough of her legs under black lace skirts. It is dangerous, but here again, danger is everywhere today, as is fear.

Miuccia Prada recognizes the importance of designers speaking out loud, giving voice to fashion rather than creating pretty clothes. And his voice is strong. Women in Italy form a resistance, protesting against patriarchy, chauvinism and gender inequality, but also against the current government. They are, for the moment, the only ones to really fight. Therefore, it is right that they are uninhibited, they reveal their dark side, make everyone uncomfortable. Prada understands this and sends his female platoon stepping on the podium at the rate of "I put a spell on you" de Marilyn Manson and a strange version for violin of Bad Romance, Show had a title (quite unusual for Prada), it was called "Anatomy of Romance » (Anatomy of Romanticism, Editor's note) no need for sugar coating.

Gucci

When things get scary you have two options: you can either put on a mask or you can take it off. Of course the best thing to do would be to take it off, to be brave and show your true self but, first of all, it is not for everyone, second, best doesn't necessarily mean wisest.

The world today is digital. Reality is virtual, relationships are virtual, money is virtual... Does anything actually exist beyond our screens? At the same time, the quantity of information we receive and are forced to process is overwhelming. So we choose to wear a mask: we hide behind our monitors, all emotions blurred, digesting input and throwing it out again in the way that suits as best. But we have been fooled: masks can be just as revealing as clothes, the mask that we choose to wear says just as much about us as our outfit. There's nowhere to hide, we are exposed.

Alessandro Michele kindly do not send us "outside" without weapons; his models wear bristly necklaces, knee pads, broad shoulders and, in one case, a large crucifix. It will make us totally displaced in real combat, but certainly capable of self-defense.

Last month, Gucci was accused of racism and blackface for creating a black knit top with a red lipstick pattern. Even if it is hard to believe that Alessandro Michele had in mind degrading racist acts when he launched this sweater, it is quite disturbing to see how much racism is still relevant today, to the point that people see the traces everywhere. At the same time, the desire to attack anyone with a certain power, including a young designer who became an artistic director overnight, is emblematic of a general discontent.

Michele's idea on how to fight all of this is all about learning and developing critical thought. After all, knowledge - the real one, which is not necessarily the one we process through the web, is the only weapon that cannot be taken away from us.

Marni

Si Miuccia Prada proposes a Gothic romanticism, as a reaction to this dark age, Francesco Risso explains how to survive this unhealthy period by appealing to the impulses of the irrational part of our mind and, consequently, of our body. Neuroerotik: between neurons and hormones. And if hormones usually win the race against neurons, it is also true that they feed on the imagination and the fantasies that they produce. Everything can be erotic, if we decide it, and there resides true freedom: to take our impulses and our desires far from predefined and pre-established diktats.

So we find references of various forms of fetishism, from piercings to leather, but also colors and fabrics which are in complete contrast with one another and have - apparently - nothing to do with sex as we know it. What is more liberating than not having to be shy about sensuality and craving? whether it is by flaunting sexuality or by concealing it under an unrevealing white tunic. Chains, leather, the occasional plunging neckline... but also layering of colorful garments which cover every inch of the body, showing only, vaguely, a narrow-waisted silhouette. Suit yourself, not someone else.

Antonio Marras

Antonio Marras is an artist, a writer, a painter, a poet. And he is also a fashion designer. His clothes aren't just for wearing, they have to be touched, smelled, read into and listened to. They have a soul, they speak, they tell stories. This time the story had been written by Patrizia - Antonio's wife - who imagined letters written by Amedeo Modigliani in his later life to his mother and friends. Staged chez Marras, in his beautiful store/showroom/bookshop/art gallery/artistic parlor, the show didn't only feature models, but also a group of actors who read the letters with increasingly dramatic tones while flirting with each other and drinking glasses of sparkling wine.

Given Antonio's artistic background Marras the collection was also an extremely varied and richly decorated work of art. Large shapes, almost Comme des Garçons and more cinched outfits, with fabrics ranging from golden brocade to tartan and prince of Wales, leopard prints, chiffon and lace skirts and thick knits. A symphony of aesthetic contrasts.

Now, unlike Prada, Antonio Marras is not a trendsetter. Not because he doesn't have the capacity to both forecast and dictate trends, but simply because he does not care about doing so. Attending his show during fashion week is like opening a book after having watched tv all day. While there is nothing wrong with tv per se, a good novel never fails to feel more nurturing. If Francesco Risso stages wild physical pulsions to express the need for freedom, Marras just has to stage his timeless work for it is, and always will be, the work of a free man

Act N.1

Antonio Marras is an artist, a writer, a painter, a poet. And he is also a fashion designer. His clothes aren't just for wearing, they have to be touched, smelled, read into and listened to. They have a soul, they speak, they tell stories. This time the story had been written by Patrizia - Antonio's wife - who imagined letters written by Amedeo Modigliani in his later life to his mother and friends. Staged chez Marras, in his beautiful store/showroom/bookshop/art gallery/artistic parlor, the show didn't only feature models, but also a group of actors who read the letters with increasingly dramatic tones while flirting with each other and drinking glasses of sparkling wine.

Given Antonio's artistic background Marras the collection was also an extremely varied and richly decorated work of art. Large shapes, almost Comme des Garçons and more cinched outfits, with fabrics ranging from golden brocade to tartan and prince of Wales, leopard prints, chiffon and lace skirts and thick knits. A symphony of aesthetic contrasts.

Now, unlike Prada, Antonio Marras is not a trendsetter. Not because he doesn't have the capacity to both forecast and dictate trends, but simply because he does not care about doing so. Attending his show during fashion week is like opening a book after having watched tv all day. While there is nothing wrong with tv per se, a good novel never fails to feel more nurturing. If Francesco Risso stages wild physical pulsions to express the need for freedom, Marras just has to stage his timeless work for it is, and always will be, the work of a free man