MILAN — Milan Fashion Week concluded four days of mostly men’s previews for next fall and winter on a note of calm.
The leader of the Italian fashion world, Giorgio Armani, took his fans to Milan’s hidden courtyards, islands of peace hidden from public view within the walls of the city’s austere neoclassical architecture.
Indian designer Dhruv Kapoor, a relative newcomer from Milan, hopes to promote an interior journey with a new collection in which he seeks to reconcile alter-egos – be they romantic, aggressive or brooding – as a way of healing.
Although they created similar moods, the designs presented could not be more aesthetically opposite: one is a study in tailoring and muted hues, the other is an explosion of color on silhouettes that mix oversized with small.
Highlights from Monday’s shows:
DHRUV KAPOOR ENCOURAGES HEALING
Kapoor has a message of radical self-acceptance in her collection, which combined floral prints to promote calm, cartoon Godzilla images to represent aggression and lace detailing for romance.
Through his unisex collection called “The Embracer”, the designer advocates acceptance of all parts of us, even those that are viewed negatively. Not that he thinks the solution lies in the wardrobe.
“It’s a very simple process. Look in the mirror and say to yourself: ‘I love you.’ And you see the magic begin to change. You just have to admire yourself as you are,” Kapoor said backstage, adding that he has felt a dramatic shift since embracing the practice. “I don’t know how it comes. I never think about how.”
The collection includes a fitted, ripped denim dress over wide leg jeans. Jackets with broad shoulders were combined with narrow pants that flared into a bell. Oversized tops were layered with cotton tunics and sheer lace pants. Godzilla raged on the front of a button-down shirt or bodycon dress, while a silver padded jacket featured reptilian spikes down the back.
“Godzilla also has a very negative, monstrous thing about him,” Kapoor said. But that shouldn’t prevent acceptance, he insisted.
The crystals on the knitwear, suits and jackets contain energy that Kapoor said can be activated and positively impact the wearer’s life. Instructions are included with the clothing.
Models walked through the Tiepolo Room of the 18th-century Clerici Palace beneath paintings that included demons, walking to the beat of a modem mixed with classical music and hip hop. The mashup gives us “a touch of the past and the future,” Kapoor said. “And we give birth to a new gift.”
Kapoor also promotes environmental healing. Almost two-thirds of his collection is either recycled, using scraps of textiles that would otherwise be discarded, or recycled. For this season, all of his suiting fabrics are made from recycled plastic.
ARMANI’S HIDDEN MILAN
Hidden from view in the Italian capital of fashion and finance are quiet gardens nestled in Milan’s courtyards.
Giorgio Armani suggests that these are places to pause and inspect before going out for work or play, this season in soft shoes with rubber soles.
Models walked slowly to a soundtrack by Italian pianist-composer Ludovico Einaudi wearing deeply textured suits and suits, projecting confidence in the 88-year-old designer’s soft silhouette.
The color palette consisted of soft earth tones topped off with olive and forest green with a splash of sportswear crimson and final splashes of weekend chic looks. Flannel cargo pants were combined with soft sweaters. Disciplined double-breasted suits suited the negotiating table. Large gake furs, including a tiger, enhanced the peaceful mood.
The show closed with couples dressed in shimmering black evening gowns and formal suits with silk or velvet details strutting down the runway as if they were leaving a party.
Armani admitted that flashes of skin on other runways this season had a sensual touch. But he stood by his conviction: “You can wear whatever you want, but when you’re at an important table, you have to wear an important suit,” he said.
His one transgression: he ties that bow under the knot, as if it were loose, and wears it tucked into his waistcoat, “to give it room to relax.”
“Rigid is not good,” added the designer.