milan fashion week: francesco scognamiglio
(images via wwd)
okay, so a few things straight up: one, we haven’t really discussed young neapolitan designer francesco scognamiglio’s work before (save for a couple of glances at s/s 2012 and resort 2013), but whatever his s/s 2013 milan show might have drawn in mixed reviews from the critics (and i always cast a skeptical side-eye at these, forever wondering if this were a bigger-name house, would it have drawn more solidly positive critiques?), i am now and forever a lace child, so it seems like the right thing to do to point out straight away that i was completely sold here, even though we’re trying to focus opt on labels we’ve yet covered previously.
and yes, i’ll also admit that save for the tailored items (the fluid white suit caroline brasch nielsen wore, above, for example, or marique schimmel’s double-breasted white blazer, fifth from below), it might be difficult in making a case for the wearability factor of this collection. i think i even saw kel markey (seventh from bottom) hitching up her dress straps just a moment after hitting the catwalk on the linked video at bottom. not that we don’t all of us see that business all the time at the clubs. but, like, practicality and all that noise. no, it’s clear that this collection isn’t leaking that notion.
but on the other hand, we are witnessing a runway spectacle, which is largely about creating moods, and i was mostly left wondering if we could see some of the long, white, lacy and sheer dresses (as on querelle jansen, at top, or erjona ala, below) tweaked for retail sale. after all, beautiful as they were as works of art, i know the first thing most ‘street style’ blogs would do should an actress hit the red carpet in one is: a) bitch about the ‘granny panties’ and b) try to call it a nightgown. so we’ve that problem there, too. which is unfortunate, because from a purely artistic aesthetic sense, to me, they were just ethereal.
thus, as you can imagine, the feedback the collection got from critics was largely divided on this score, depending, i suppose, upon what they were ultimately looking for. starting off, for example, showstudio was none too impressed, at one point arguing that it resembled dolce & gabbana’s s/s 2011 show (which it did, in some respects, but if we go there, then i’d wonder about the pitfalls it might suggest are inevitable in comparing practically all white-centric, lingerie-esque, lacy shows—namely, that we’d have to say they all sprang from the same source), before adding that “(o)ne got the sense that Scognamiglio was holding back from showcasing his real vision, and instead turning out what he thought buyers and press wanted, all while hamming up his creations with a lot of hyperbolic hot-air.”
but anyway, they continued on to reflect somewhat intelligently and insightfully—i’ll give them credit on that score—that “Scognamiglio has been a ‘rising star’ for a few seasons too long. The point for him to break through seems to have slipped by unnoticed a few collections back. He now appears stuck in between two impossible targets, on the one hand trying to create commercially viable, sellable pieces and on the other still attempting to make a splash with the fun and frivolity on which he initially built his name. Let’s hope that this talented Italian finds a middle ground quickly.”
yet on the other end, wwd was wholly enthusiastic, countering that the “show started late, but when the first look emerged — a delicate shirt with floral lace details paired with a flowing cotton maxiskirt — it was clear this collection was worth the wait. The beautiful lineup was imbued with an aristocratic elegance mixed with subtle sensuality. The plethora of romantic floor-length dresses, shown in black, white and baby blue, was juxtaposed with a series of cool men’s-inspired suits featuring baggy pants and belts in oversize crystal-encrusted bird motifs. The sophisticated appeal of the collection was not lost when Scognamiglio approached a military theme via cadetlike double-breasted coats cut on the bias.”
meanwhile, style was perceptively mixed (even coming up with a few of the same problems i broached above, though i’m not trying to argue i was particularly clever in that): “‘She’s an aristocratic woman who travels to Provence in a hot-air balloon at the beginning of the last century.’ Francesco Scognamiglio said before his show tonight. ‘It’s a trip,’ he added. Scognamiglio is familiar enough with those; he’s been off on one esoteric tangent or another for years now. He also makes beautiful clothes—the cotton blouses inset with lace or embroidered with birds that he showed with floor-scraping maxi skirts for Spring were lovely, and suits cut with double-breasted jackets and drop-crotch pants prove he’s no slouch in the tailoring department either,” they began by pointing out.
but they brought up those salient points-as-problems in reflecting, “(s)o why hasn’t Scognamiglio broken through? This season, at least, we’re going to blame his reliance on almost exclusively sheer fabrics. Women at the beginning of the last century wore underpinnings. With his love for lace, Scognamiglio could build a profitable side business making lingerie. Why not? At the very least, the new design challenge might spur thoughts about avenues of growth.”
however, once again on the flipside, we have vogue, and their arguments, i think, have merits as well: “It’s no easy feat finding the balance between classic and cool, yet Scognamiglio has got it spot on for next summer. While light-as-air layers of translucent silk and chemise-like tops appliquéd with delicate floral lace inserts alluded to romance, the collared necklines and visible oversized underwear said ‘rule-breaker’. This rebellious accent was further enhanced by the androgynous peak-lapelled trouser suits that had an air of Yves Saint Laurent’s famous Le Smoking about them, and…exuded quiet confidence, an attitude helped by the slicked-back hair and smudged crimson lip. The final floor-length finale - a metallic chainmail dress with bird motif appliqués - epitomised the collection, with its clean-line silhouettes and extravagant detailing.” so in the end, decide as you will. i don’t mind. but i do believe he still holds a lot of promise, even if there were a few technical glitches apparent in this one.
(see the complete show video here)