MILAN, Italy — Arthur Arbesser, a lively Austrian in Milano, is on a mission: showing wonderful locations in a city that, shows-wise, tends to be quite conservative, or rather predictable. Today he set up his catwalk in a stern military building that, in wartime, used to be a giant bakery serving the whole city of Milan. The disused ovens and the general air of abandon released a tangible, slightly sinister frisson.
It was the perfect ambiance for a collection that, at its best, toiled with psychedelic ideas of domesticity — think garish East Berlin flat, circa 1985, not pompous Milan palazzo. It was a feast of colourful opticals and metallics on severe ladylike shapes and dresess reconfigured with drawstrings. The collection felt lively and joyous, if not always desirable, with Arbesser's very own, and very Viennese, sense of deranged geometry. In all this glaring glory of colour, the black section looked rather lacklustre. Arbesser's true talent shines when he gets a little mad.