MILAN–The “Audrey Dress” crafted with gold laminated and laser-cut lycra with macrame’ effect and MSGM’s shift dress crafted with lace in the image of a map of Milan, are among the iconic pieces that underscored the artisanal yet tech focus at “The New Vocabulary of Italian Fashion” exhibit that recently opened at the Triennale Design Museum here.

The purpose of the exhibit was indeed to create NEW icons and secure their legacies in the pages of history by introducing a new generation of influential designers and brands that have shaped the fashion industry since 1998,  in an artistic, architectural and curated manner.

Why 1998? That’s the year Google launched and Apple introduced its iMaccomputer.  Since then, organizers explained, fashion has never been the same: the audience transformed itself into publishers through blogs, and social media transformed traditional communication methods forever.  Some influential blogs and online magazines were highlighted as playing a role in this major transformation — among them were Pop culture webzine Pizza Digitale, lifestyle site BoBos and Fabio Crovi’s online version of Muse.

Overall over 100 designers, photographers, illustrators and publishing influencers were highlighted at the eight-room showcase curated by Paola Bertola and Vittorio Linfante.  Standouts that resonate internationally included Fausto Puglisi, Gabriele Colangelo, MSGM, Marco de Vincenzo, Aquilano.Rimondi and Italia Independent.

Curators focused on themes like archetype, construction, detail, laboratory, material, ornament, surface and uniform.

There was also a focus on craftsmanship: in one display, the curators broke down the modern shoe-making process, showing all the pieces that go into crafting one shoe by designer N3M.  Hand-made goatskin patch work and shiny lame python, paired with traditional elements like wing-tipped heels showed that new designers are rooted in Italy’s great heritage of hand made goods, yet are in-tune with this tech savvy generation.

Tailoring, the curators explained has emerged from the confines of 1950s era suitmaking.  “Nowadays this leads us, on the one hand towards a search for perfection in tailoring construction. On the other hand, to hybridisation of the original rules about typology and gender,” exhibitors said, explaining that traditional formalwear is a source of inspiration and that many of the tailors and artisans catering to this renewed appetite for made-to-measure are spread out in urban workshops and industrial chains.  In terms of archetypes, gender styles are often obfuscated.

The “The New Vocabulary of Italian Fashion,” which is dedicated to ElioFiorucci, the famed Italian designer who passed away in July, will close on March 6.


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