MILAN – Backstage at the Matty Bovan show at the end of Milan Fashion Week, Stefano Gabbana of Dolce & Gabbana hugged young British designer Mr. Bovan and beamed with excitement. “This gives new energy to Milan!” Mr. Gabbana said happily.
He wore a black sweater and black sweatpants and stood next to Domenico Dolce, who was equally enthralled in a black hoodie and black pants. And he was right.
It’s from Messrs. Dolce and Gabbana’s idea to bring Mr Bovan to Milan – they contacted him after Mr Gabbana started following Mr Bovan on Instagram and offering support – but it’s unclear if anyone realized what the trouble was. Mr. Bovan’s non-life disturbances rebellious mixture of materials and meanings will provide.
Or how necessary they were, to break through the dense smoke of ubiquitous leather jackets and the cult of Agnelli that seemed to clog the fashionable air of this city. Regardless of the number of young (or young) designers coming to old houses, it often blinds them.
There is simply too much homage surrounding the Made in Italy legend; too loyal to the brand.
Even at Ferrari, which doesn’t have a specific track record in clothing (except for a range of licensed prancing sweatshirts), designer Rocco Iannone seems stuck in the chassis. Despite removing some of the literal racing elements mentioned in his last two collections (a good thing), this season’s focus is on streetwear silhouettes, Ferrari colors in Yellow and indigo denim washes and ombre’d sequins suggest racing into the horizon as the horizon expands toward infinity, bumpy. Like the Ferrari hardware (screws and bolts straight off the assembly line) has been studded with shiny stones to catch the light and paired with – yes, beige – the leather of the driving gloves.
The point is that Ferrari is still making merchandise: certainly merchandise for cocktails at Cipriani, but merchandise nonetheless. Imagine if it really creates fashion, focusing on the abstract concept of speed and racing forward. Ferrari sets trends in automotive design, rather than following them. So why do brands do the opposite when it comes to clothing?
It’s one thing if you’re Giorgio Armani and you’ve set the tone from the start, talk about (as his program notes) “coherence” and how a “fine thread ties a collection with the next collection”. Something to faithfully repeat with the soft sewing and shimmer that this season seems to reflect the entire Milky Way, as well as the Armani ouevre strip, in skylights in dreamy blue and indigo and A series of fairy light glitter dresses. And, to be fair, some nod to recent comfortable dressing in the form of organza, silk and sheer stretch-waisted sweatpants underneath pretty much everything (also, in a twist. expected, a skirt was attached to the sides of each leg with what looked like a…ankle cuffs?).
But every time a new designer pledges his passion on the altar of the decent leather jacket, it seems like a missed opportunity.
That is why the fact that there is no such skin in Mr. Bovan’s exhibition is so invigorating.
Instead it’s a collage of fabric and form: giant apples on plaid, puffy panniers covered in sequins and various graphic prints on ripped denim and reverted, frilly dresses and giant, royal brocades. Removable hi-def legs and lamb sleeves tied over the cardigan look like it’s made from old kitchen towels. Even the giant pyramid of Plexiglas completely conceals the heads of the last three models. It’s totally weird and wacky and very cool.
And despite how the collection looks, is completely considered. Mr. Bovan calls his approach “mining chaos,” which is a pretty good description. Denim is a Dolce & Gabbana vintage; the corsets, styles from their archive have been reissued to Mr. Bovan and hand-painted by the designer; most of the fabric has been patched together; and most of the collection is made in York (UK), exuding the legendary “touch of the hand”.
It offers both a rethinking of what those values exactly mean and how they can be extended to the current world – not to mention the broader social themes of punk, royalty and inclusion. boss – and a possible answer. It may not be what people are used to. But isn’t that the problem?