Milan Fashion Week climaxes with cultural and conceptual diversity
All about cultural and conceptual diversity in Milan on its final Sunday afternoon, at three very contrasting shows, albeit by two brands two with similar names – MSGM and MM6 – and a third with uber wide-ranging origins.
If any designer gets today’s Italy it is Massimo Giorgetti, founder of MSGM, whose snappy four-minute online video captured how multi-cultural and multi-ethnic his country has become.
Entitled "Autoritratto: Self-portrait of a Generation," it featured a gang of young Milan-based models, many of non-Italian origin, most of them speaking the language fluently.
Sitting in a studio with monitors featuring their looks posed at odd angles, they responded to questions, like: "Pronounce your name? What does it mean?"
"Martina, meaning daughter of the god of war," smiled one teenager. Another, explained simply: "Mi chiamo Zoe," or "I’m called Zoe."
A cerebral beauty – a human evolutionary scientist – explained her name was "a really interesting one. It’s a Mexican flower named by a German scientist – Zinnia." Next an alluring Italo-Chinese lady revealed, in Italian, that her Italian name was Angela, while in Chinese she is called Qu-iao-Yi.
They also discussed the funniest memory from their childhood, or what part of themselves they liked most. Whereupon a young lady with a marvelous dreadlock mane named Naomi Oke explained in Italian that she was the only kid of color in her school, and that she wanted to fit in like a princess who had her hair brushed: "And then the nightmare began. I had lots of perms, I tried to smooth it, to look more like my friends, but growing up I came to love it, and now it’s the part of me I prefer."
The clothes, like the cast, blended origins and ideas with similar insouciance. Lime-hued Catherine de' Medici ruffles topped great parkas; sleeveless safari looks met Chanel tweed jackets, finished with matching shorts and combat boots; abstract floral mini frocks came with huge flamenco sleeves; while Ibiza summer clubbing shirts and pants were dipped into turquoise and yellow tie-dye.
After six months of lockdown, this explosion of color and wit from MSGM felt like a trumpet call of joy.
This marked the debut of an MM6 Maison Margiela collection in Italy, despite the fact that the Paris-based house was acquired back in 2002 by one of the peninsula’s most dynamic fashion players, Renzo Rosso of Diesel fame.
A conceptual casting and look-book shoot for a conceptual house in what looked like a classic disused factory in Lombardy, but might well have been Paris. It featured a series of models, initially standing before a simple white wall, before the movie gradually revealed the surrounding staff preparing the shoot.
They, but of course, all wore the signature laboratory coats that are de rigueur for staff at this house. When the wall changed to beige so did the looks. Gradually a DJ set up for action, with a large speaker, all in hand-painted white. The turntable read 6.
Lots of clever plays on classic Margiela, from painted cloven-toed boots and reimagined denim minis to taut flesh-hued tops, bravura prints, opera gloves with micro lettering, and Verner Panton graphic ensembles seen in Verner Panton lighting.
Pre-show, the house showed the preparation of a metal invitation to the show. While the video’s set eventually added chairs and all the usual white spray-painted objects one associates with a Margiela store – books, boxes, tables, chairs and bric-a-brac.
At the finale, a dude in a biker jacket took a mystery phone call, without any actual mobile phone, as the credits ran. Not terribly clear why they "moved" MM6, which usually shows in London, onto the Milan calendar this season. But one thing is clear, this house’s DNA is still so strong it can expect a great future.
Ji Won Choi
New York and Korea met in Milan at Ji Won Choi. Though it was a version of the city that most fashionistas would not be familiar with. Modern New York silhouettes were brought together with Korean architectural shapes in a tour of the Italian fashion capital – shot at Roman walls, pinball cafés, posh hippie gardens, railway underpasses, tramlines and the new high-tech skyscrapers of the city.
Before this scenario the cast appeared in over-the-top checkerboard looks – bright blue suits for the boys, blood orange cloaks for the girls. Or jumpsuits in sustainably produced fabrics seemingly held together with straps plastered with price tags and bar codes. Nothing terribly revolutionary maybe but crammed with energy and attitude in a memorable display by this Seoul-born, Midwest-raised and Paris and NYC-trained talent.
Ji Won Choi has arrived online – just like Milan Fashion Week.
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