Sep 23, 2023
The weather in Milan has been fickle, forcing several labels to change their plans, dodging the rain but still going ahead with shows they originally intended to stage outdoors. On Thursday, designers were split into two quite different style camps. On the runways, playful, brightly coloured Spring/Summer 2024 collections, like those presented by Fiorucci and Benetton, contrasted with a more conceptual, sophisticated fashion, as at Act N° 1.
Milan Fashion Week‘s second day was notably the occasion to discover the new incarnation of Fiorucci, which staged a presentation. The legendary Italian label founded in Milan in 1967 by Elio Fiorucci was acquired in October 2022 by Swiss businesswoman Dona Bertarelli, via her family office. A new senior executive team has taken charge of the label, with Alessandro Pisani as managing director and Francesca Murri as head of style. On Thursday, Murri unveiled 18 looks, the first glimpse of her vision for Fiorucci.
Rather than replicating the label’s original baroque-pop style, renowned for its quirky motifs, like the iconic cherubim, Murri took a different course, opting for pared-down lines and svelte, streamlined silhouettes, young and resolutely contemporary. Fiorucci’s signature irony cropped up in her accessories. Colourful flip flops enhanced by curling neoprene strips, earrings in bonbon shapes, and a cylindrical handbag that looked decidedly like a marshmallow.
“The whole Fiorucci world shows how to bring utopia into real life,” said Murri. “I’ve studied in minute detail the label’s archives, and made some amazing discoveries. I think Elio was the first fashion influencer, and was able to build a community around himself. I drew inspiration from the way he worked, rather than from his products and designs, and I wanted to have fun with my silhouettes,” she added.
The collection contained obvious references to the 1980s and clubbing, like statement shoulders. A red Lycra bodysuit was worn under a pair of jeans. A yellow hooded one with a banana pattern was instead matched with a frilled balloon skirt. A maxi t-shirt stretched down to the feet, morphing into a lurex dress. A new version of the heart-patterned shirt designed by Elio Fiorucci came with tassels. The wardrobe also included several essentials, like oversize cotton shirts, men’s jackets, and broad-sleeved t-shirts that left the midriff bare.
At Benetton, the tone was set by a décor featuring a blue and yellow colour-block runway blooming with giant flowers and bananas. Creative Director Andrea Incontri continues to work at repositioning the label, designing fresh, attractive, easy-to-wear looks, like the fitted double-layered jerseys, maxi t-shirts worn like mini dresses, striped poplin shirts, crocheted citrus-coloured ensembles, also striped, albeit horizontally, cropped twin-sets exposing the navel, pyjama suits, and openwork knitted skirt-and-top combos.
Benetton’s well-stocked wardrobe of course included a few denim essentials, as well as swimsuits with retro, high-waisted culottes, or one-piece ones with large stripes and matching terry towel, and also featured sportier items like running-style shorts, a cropped tennis dress, rugby jerseys in the label’s colours, and jersey polos sporting amusing patches in lieu of a logo.
The collection boldly blended colours in just-so combinations, ranging from pastel hues (mauve, sky blue and pink) to more vibrant ones (red, orange and apple green), and also mix-and-matched motifs, in delightful contrasts. Multi-coloured micro daisies in a vast array of shades created an almost camo-like tapestry effect on skirts, blouses, trousers, polos and sweaters. Elsewhere, a profusion of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and bananas took over some garments.
Benetton’s fashion is colourful and fun, ideal to outfit young and old, as emphasised by the show’s good-natured family atmosphere, with many models taking their children on the runway, or showing as a couple, a baby in their arms.
Now alone at the helm, after his partner Galib Gassanof left the label, Luca Lin is steering Act N°1 on a new course. Following a transitional season, in which he continued to riff on the signature designs of his label, renowned for sculptural tulle dresses, Lin has now opted for a more practical, everyday style.
Men and women dressed in similar fashion, with the accent on joggers and comfy, voluminous sports-style trousers, combined with more traditional jackets and superb shirts in painted silk, another Act N°1 hallmark. Long gabardine coats dropped down to the floor, while denim corsets were worn like bustiers. The collection had a lived-in, used feel, with garments that looked washed out, smudged and sprinkled with tiny paint blots, including a tulle evening dress.
Tulle also featured in other looks, with chromatic layered effects in which this delicate sheer fabric was used for trousers and for shirts, three different-coloured ones worn over one another. Like the ultra-thin t-shirts slipped over one another in multiple layers.
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