BoF Logo

The Business of Fashion

Agenda-setting intelligence, analysis and advice for the global fashion community.

In Milan, Place and the Perception of Clothes

From enchanted gardens to brutalist hangars, locations can make or break a show.
MSGM | Source: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images
  • Angelo Flaccavento

MILAN, Italy — One day, someone will have to write a history of fashion around the location of shows. Indeed, the effect of a place on the perception of clothes can be surprising, either adding to or taking away from the full effect.

Take the Etro show, which took place at the enchanted courtyard of Conservatorio Giuseppe Verd in one of Milan's most charming neighborhoods, instead of its usual location in the far-flung, cold and rather impersonal premises of Palazzo Del Ghiaccio. It was a smart move. There was a high-culture atmosphere to the ambiance. On top of that, the narrow catwalk allowed the audience to really appreciate things up close, which was a relief.

But this would be mere mise en scène without something more. What felt fresh and engaging was Veronica Etro's newfound sense of ease and spontaneity. The collection featured the whole spectrum of the Etro codes — paisley, of course, which meant high bohemia and a hint of aristocracy, romance and exoticism; craft; and cozy swings of domesticity — mixed in a new way that was deliberately chaotic.

A paisley robe thrown over a very punk shredded jumper, anyone? The image sums it all up pretty well. The knitted capes were outstanding, and the gent-like coats smashing. Not to mention of course the transgenerational cast of beauties past and present. If this is the beginning of a new era, we're on to something good.

Etro | Source: Courtesy

Massimo Giorgetti opted for a brutalist, spacious hangar for the MSGM show. A giant video backdrop projected images of an imaginary movie. And the collection came with its own cinematic narrative. It was based on a made-up flick entitled Heartbreaker and set in Milan — because Milan is central to the story Giorgetti is currently building around the brand.

It was a nice idea, but the clothes told another story altogether: short, feisty, flowered and ruffled, they came with a decisive 80s aftertaste that lacked originality, and in some cases even good fit. What was missing was a sense of purpose to the whole effort, a whiff of energy. It is something Giorgetti should work on bringing back. Good vibes, after all, have propelled MSGM into the fashion-sphere so far.

MSGM | Source: Courtesy

Meanwhile, a sense of purpose was easy to find at the Sportmax show: a martial one, deployed through tailored outerwear and broken suits of unremitting precision. The collection had almost a uniform-like sense of focus: sharp lines, firm textures and a constructivist feel in the way looks were built. Of late, Sportmax has taken strides, asserting its own sharp metropolitan codes. What the brand lacks in warmth — it is all very cool — it gains in design content and functionality, making for statement collections that are bold as they are pragmatic. Indeed, this is a good way to bring fashion with a capital F to an audience of real women.

Sportmax | Source: Courtesy

Reality is not even an option at Marco de Vincenzo, and all the better for it. The Sicilian designer is a dreamer. He likes women ladylike yet twisted, and has a wonderful way with glitter, lurex and sparkle. After a couple of not very convincing seasons diverting elsewhere, de Vincenzo was back on track. His latest collection, entitled "My Favorite Things," was filled with the cartoonish fake furs, the pleated glittery dresses and the glitzy shirts de Vincenzo is good at. It was shown in an industrial space, in the dark, under spotlights. It all looked dreamy and hazy, like vision distorted by one glass too many of good wine.

Marco De Vincenzo | Source: Indigital

© 2023 The Business of Fashion. All rights reserved. For more information read our Terms & Conditions

More from Fashion Week
Independent show reviews from fashion’s top critics.

Simplicity was everywhere in Milan this season. More rare was a sense of personal fashion authorship, writes Angelo Flaccavento.

Key departures at Alexander McQueen, Chloé and more may kick off another round of designer musical chairs. That, plus, what else to watch for in the coming week.

In a fashion scene dominated by ultra-established heritage names, upstarts like LVMH Prize-winners Setchu and Magliano are increasingly grabbing the spotlight, as the Attico, Del Core and Sunnei pass new milestones.

view more

Subscribe to the BoF Daily Digest

The essential daily round-up of fashion news, analysis, and breaking news alerts.

The Business of Fashion

Agenda-setting intelligence, analysis and advice for the global fashion community.
Introducing The BoF Brand Magic Index
© 2023 The Business of Fashion. All rights reserved. For more information read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Cookie Policy and Accessibility Statement.
Introducing The BoF Brand Magic Index