Elsewhere in Milan: Max & Co., Weekend Max Mara, Fabiana Filippi, Gianvito Rossi, Alberto Biani, Sergio Rossi, Loro Piana and Giuseppe Zanotti
Milan has more busy showroom presentations that most cities have good restaurants. From capsule collections to fully fledged marques to hot shoe labels, there are a score most days.
FashionNetwork.com took the fashion pulse of the city with the eight contrasting approaches: Max & Co., Weekend Max Mara, Fabiana Filippi, Gianvito Rossi, Alberto Biani, Sergio Rossi, Loro Piana and Giuseppe Zanotti.
Max & Co.
For a novel take on market segmentation one visits Max & Co.; a more youthful, price-sensitive take on fashion from the luxury giant Max Mara.
A capsule collection with changing creators, this season helmed by Duro Olowu, the parchment dry-witted UK designer of Nigerian origin.
A fresh source of inspiration too: the art of Luigi Ghirri, the respected Italian art photographer.
“His photographs were really simple images of Italian towns and seaside that I love. So, I imagined him having the opportunity to go to Dakar in Senegal or Bamako in Mali and shoot there in the same way,” explained Duro.
Hence, some intriguing curly prints, which Duro christened the 'Bamako' point, that managed to be both geometric and psychedelic. Made into some attractive sun dresses, gathered slightly under the bust and finished with side pockets, that be paired with short matching jackets and even shoes.
High waisted trousers and bold striped shirts, mixed with classic blazers though in bright hues of orange, and very pretty florals with navy backgrounds with contrasting trim -- all made for a collection of real charm.
“I call the jacket, our comfort blanket for travelling,” smiled Duro.
Easy to understand and easy in which to travel, ideal for the younger customer Max & Co. has been invented to dress.
Weekend Max Mara: From Lily with love
Plenty of joie de vivre at Weekend Max Mara, where model and designer Lily Aldridge designed the latest collection.
“Vibrant and playful, it’s inspired by my father. An amazing artist, very into psychedelic art. Which is where all the bright colours are coming from,” Lily told FashionNetwork.com, in a presentation.
Entitled 'From Lily with Love', the 20-piece capsule starred some great prints inspired by papa, where hippie butterflies, strawberries, drooping tulips and dandelions were seen in crinkly coats or silk pyjama tops.
Mixed in with classic pieces, and a good deal of denim on denim; timeless knit dresses or sweet lace frocks, capturing the California gal in Lily, and riffing on her illustrator dad and art legend Alan Aldridge.
“The beauty of working with Max Mara is you get really great quality, impeccable tailoring and the fun sensation that my ideas are made to perfection,” concluded Lily.
Fabiana Filippi: Umbria’s latest fashion star
Italy’s unique ability to invent plausible and polished brands never ceases to surprise. A good example is Fabiana Filippi; an optimistic brand that is all about smart and approachable separates.
Originally founded back in 1985 as a knitwear label, Fabiana Filippi has grown into a wide ranging selection that encompasses a full modern wardrobe. Based near Perugia, the capital of Umbria, whose most famous painter Perugino has a noted fresco in the Sistine Chapel, The Delivery of the Keys. Its colours had an uncanny echo in Fabiana Filippi’s color scheme this season.
Presented inside a sunny garden amid mock Roman statues and modernist sculptures, the collection featured lightweights suits; cool double-breasted blazers; and natty nylon trenches.
For evening, long ribbed dresses, either in plissé chiffon or finished with pockets. All made in a natural color palette of taiga green, seaweed, Sorrento lemon, copper and putty.
“Modern, elegant and sustainable,” responded Fabiana Filippi, after whom the brand is named. Her father and uncle, Giacomo and Mario Coccetta, respectively, founded and own the marque. It now retails in several hundred doors, boasting annual sales of close to €100 million.
A success celebrated with a dinner of tuna tartare and pesto pasta, washed down by red Valpolicella and white Falanghina wine. Dining on an elegant table, worthy of this smart fashion brand.
Alberto Biani: Sveva’s svelte chic
“The image of imperfection,“ explained Sveva Alviti, the blonde beauty actress who designed her debut collection with Angela Biani, daughter of designer and brand founder, Alberto Biani.
Alviti, the Roman-born star of the critically acclaimed biopic Dalida, emphasised the tuxedo, and the result was an impressive fashion debut, centered on the dazzling for evening.
Hints of vintage Saint Laurent about this collection, which featured elongated tuxedo columns, ideal for a red carpet moment or great entrance at a stylish soirée. Made in some tremendous Italian fabrics, like a cotton satin that included some metallic threads to impart a great crinkly finish.
“Perfect imperfection,” smiled Angela.
Also impressing were tuxedos cut as mess jackets in lightweight jacquard finished with exotic cock feathers and paired with cigarette pants trimmed with more feathers.
Multi-talented, Alviti wrote and starred into a collection video shot in French and filmed in Paris, about a troubled beauty who dresses up with panache, in order to restore her mood.
Based in the Veneto, near the intellectual city of Padua, Alberto Biani also showed the main collection, an impeccably made series of silk pyjama jacket and suits in summery small flower prints.
Gianvito Rossi: Byzantine empress goes to St Tropez
“I like to try to make women look really good,” explained Gianvito Rossi, one the world’s great contemporary shoe designers. And one with really great range.
For day, some superb slingback and high heels with transparent plastic straps finished with candy-hue crystal stones. Kinda’ 'Byzantine empress goes to St Tropez'. For summer cocktails, splendid centurion’s sandals whose silver straps marched up the calf, finished with mini GV buckles. And for evening, Gianvito showed great black leather booties with crystal necklaces running around and down the ankle.
Given his unerring sense of how women like to be shod, the Gianvito Rossi brand has grown consistently since being founded in 2007.
Today, the house boasts its own network of almost 30 boutiques, a further 20 franchise stores and over 250 wholesale accounts.
Inside his via Santo Spirito showroom, Rossi also presented very fine sandals and high heels in rolled tubular leather that recalled 1960s furniture. “That is me in Paris and this is me in California,” laughed Rossi, as he pointed to a second group with psychedelic prints.
Like everyone, the pandemic was very tricky for his label.
“The last thing anyone was thinking about during covid was high heels,” conceded the gentlemanly Gianvito, who helped burnish his brand with a central city tram in Milan this week, freshly painted with his logo and shoes.
Sergio Rossi: Brilliance at Breda
A happy mood at Sergio Rossi, as the brand hit its sweet spot with a collection of classic-with-twist shoes in the 29th-floor penthouse of Torre Breda, an iconic Milanese tower, which when built, was Italy’s tallest building.
Slingback with pearl straps had all the kick one expects from Sergio Rossi, as did pink matte satin heels with artful bows.
It’s a marque that has bounced back quickly from the pandemic. Three years ago revenues slipped to €48 million. Last year they totalled €70 million.
And is already looking to the next step, when it will create a capsule collection with Area, to be unveiled in New York Fashion Week next February.
Sergio Rossi’s hard-charging CEO Riccardo Sciutto is mulling a New York pop-up showroom to coincide with the Area show. In the meantime, he proudly shows off the style and production skill of the house. Like steel spikes inserted into transparent plastic heels and Chinoiserie-style wedges.
The brand’s main plant is also busy near the Adriatic coast of Emilia-Romagna, producing some 1,000 pairs of shoes daily, or 250,000 pairs per year. While sub-contractors, stretching from Lombardy to Spain, for espadrilles, produce another 100,000 pairs.
Like many Italian luxury executives, Sciutto is wary about next year - amid concerns about the continued lockdown in China and inflation years in the U.S.; widely expected to dampen consumer sentiment.
However, as he points out himself, even a 10% rise in sales would mean a record sales year for Sergio Rossi.
Loro Piana: Confusion and no clarity
The uber quality was clear, but the concept confusing at Loro Piana, where the idea was travel from the brand’s homeland in Piedmont through five regions to end up in Sicily.
Faux postcards of sunny islands and mountains covered the walls, inside Casa Cipriani, a new, rather uptight club, and the latest venture from the New York hospitality brand.
Things started well in Piedmont, with a superb cashmere and silk dressing gown-style coat, made to look like shearling. A matelassé waistcoat with outside pockets had wit, too. Though quite how these were spring/summer looks was tricky to comprehend, though these looks apparently will go into store in February.
Heading further south one could admire a lightly-logoed white canvas Breton sailor’s top and multi-pleated safari shorts. However, the further down the Italian boot one travelled the more banality took over.
A yellow peasant dress was dreary; while several other jackets and tops were bizarrely bulky and unflattering, while an oversized coriander and cream striped linen and a broad striped poncho looked attractive, they also brought to mind the name Gabriela Hearst.
Someone in the accessories department did whip up some neat canvas and leather trimmed mini totes, but that certainly did not save this display.
One assumes the ides was to inject a higher fashion quotient into the brand, but all it did was remind one of its lack of fashion news. And of a designer, seeing this was clearly made by a design team with all the compromises that entails.
No wonder other brands are targeting the market in Italian discreet luxury; Loro Piana, for so long its leader, is creating a stylistic vacuum.
Giuseppe Zanotti: Helpful holograms
“Technology and holograms. One has to move with the times,” explained Giuseppe Zanotti at his packed presentation on Via Monte Napoleone.
Holograms in shades of tortoise shell or Pacific blue seen on angular wedges with crystal straps, or towering high-heel platforms.
Other elements that caught the eye were the vegan leather pearly silver high heels, or lightweight sling-backs constructed in resin.
“By now, over 30% of our collection no longer is made of animal products,” added Zanotti.
Though his tech touch did not prevent Giuseppe presenting classical Zanotti with a twist, like a crystal chain bootie that looked like a Constructivist sculpture.
Moving with the times, keeping his mood fresh, Zanotti is still very much a market leader.
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