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An Age of Eccentricity

A new age of eccentricity has taken hold in Milan, resulting in relatable, real-world clothes and the obvious recycling of ideas.
Stella Jean Autumn/Winter 2916 | Source:
  • Dan Thawley

MILAN, Italy — There has been a significant undoing of the systematic way fashion shows were once constructed. The idea of promoting 'individuality' within a brand's own oeuvre has overtaken the once prevalent practice of creating a carbon-copy girl gang each season. Riding the wave of Alessandro Michèle's Gucci revamp, this new age of eccentricity has taken hold in Milan. In some cases, this has resulted in clothes with a relatable, real-world authenticity. In others, it has led to obvious recycling of ideas. Either way, it may seem amusing to more than a few Italian ladies whose own wardrobes have been bursting with generations worth of beautifully mismatched heirlooms, to which they are now able to add a slew of quirky daywear and delicate new party clothes for the Autumn 2016 season.

Stella Jean Autumn/Winter 2016 | Source:

At Stella Jean, the vibrant waxprint cotton with which the Creole designer made her name remains in the label's colourful line-up, yet has become just one element of a wider arts-and-crafts story. For Autumn 2016, she told a graphic tale posing African masks against colonial portraiture, manifest in embroidered plastrons trimmed with feathers over silk tops and gowns and charming toy soldiers applied to harem pants and a long knit skirt (crafted from recycled fabrics with the 'fluffy technique'). More so than the bold striped blanket capes, a range of sturdy coats in men's wear checks did duty balancing her embroidered blouses, apron skirts and floaty culottes (all statement pieces, all worn together), lending each model in Jean's diverse cast the cultivated airs of a woman well travelled. The designer's bowerbird aesthetic was further elevated with the help of gorgeous Brutalist jewelry sourced from Elisabetta Cipriani's 'Jewellery By Artists' project (she works with the likes of Tom Sachs, Giorgio Vigna and Enrico Castellani), furthering Jean's commitment to showcasing "local craftsmanship," wherever that may be.

Bally Autumn/Winter 2016 | Source: Courtesy

It is now two years since Pablo Coppola showed his first Bally collection and Sunday's champagne reception inside the Triennale di Milano appeared to be solid proof that things are running smoothly. Coppola has changed tack since arriving at the brand, distancing himself somewhat from the pure, staid neutrals of Bally's heritage to focus on a brighter future, peppered with pop references that Coppola imagined might suit "Françoise Hardy in a John Waters film." Weigh that up against the moiré-effect ruffled shift in hot pink silk or a pair of leopard mink slides and you'll catch his kinky drift, one that leaned into the 1980s with its punchy colour palette of lime green, hot pink and scarlet. The silhouette spanned decades yet never lost its uptown flair: Bally's party girl might opt for Coppola's cabochon-studded leather minis, her mother a sash-belted double face cashmere coat and skirt. Amongst the smorgasbord of glossy accessories, the soft folding 'Lulu' satchel will certainly temp the house's daywear clientele, whereas an array of quilted patent minaudières matched racy lace-up booties, their topstitched toe cap taken from a 1930s archive sandal. Whilst the sophomore season of Massimo Giorgetti's Emilio Pucci delved deep into the label's sporty history, his agenda at MSGM was altogether different, framed by the name 'Interlude' and a decree that the audience abstain from social media posting during the show. Far from ushering in a quiet or reflective collection, the Insta-ban felt like a dare more than a real embargo — just another device in Giorgetti's bag of tricks which have helped crown him the king of Milan's new generation of contemporary designers.

MSGM Autumn/Winter 2016 | Source:

View Collection His show notes for Autumn 2016 claimed "no big inspiration, no movie, no theme" before listing off a trio of artists (an illustrator, a painter and a sculptor) who's work graced his moodboard backstage. A colourful, organic fil rouge of their shared aesthetics could be found in the collection's scribbly face prints and embroideries, however the big takeaway here was a brash polka dot story writ both big and small across puffer coats, paillette tops and tulle, or the roses that ran their ring around giant jacquard bombers, shaggy cobweb knits and a garish crushed velvet. It was a cacophony of tone and texture, yet you can be sure that savvy retailers will waste no time extracting their own narrative from his zany, graphic layer cake. These clothes are loud and proud no-brainers and perfect for MSGM's millennial fashion followers.

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